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Struthers councilman preserves valuable piece of city's history

Published: Wed, July 30, 2014 @ 10:55 p.m.


Not too many things move Michael S. Patrick.

One of those things happens to be a 1943 Mack firetruck, used by the city for almost 40 years.

“That’s our heritage,” said Patrick, city councilman-at-large.

“People need to care about this.”

It’s evident that he does. Patrick, a lifelong resident of Struthers and a former volunteer firefighter of 27 years, has the unique ability to recite the firetruck’s history with passion and without pause.

The truck was, for example, purchased by the city as the

replacement for a 1919 American LaFrance fire engine — the only vehicle “they had to protect the community and the mills,” Patrick said. Obtaining it wasn’t easy, though, as the Mack plant had been seized by the federal government for the war effort, and its normal production was hampered.

It also was a brand new firetruck for a brand new station, as the department had just made its move from the corner of Bridge and Liberty streets to Elm Street, where it stands today.

And as the firetruck was constructed during World War II, it lacked a red light on top, so nothing could be seen by enemy pilots flying above. Instead, a slowly flashing red light was placed at the front of the truck’s siren, which, incidentally, still works.

A lot still works on the firetruck nicknamed “Molly.” The shiny medium-red paint gleams, and the doors are emblazoned with the city’s name and the numeral “1.” Of course, the hydraulic brakes and manual transmission, along with no power steering, make the firetruck not the easiest to drive, but it is very much functional. Patrick chuckled when asked if he would

attempt to fight a fire with it.

Read more about this piece of history and the man who preserved it in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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