One of two original Warner Robins fire trucks returns home

bpurser@macon.comOctober 15, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- One of the Warner Robins Fire Department’s two original fire trucks returned home Tuesday.

The fire engine rolled into service in 1959 when the city’s fire department began operations.

Danny Evans, a Houston County firefighter and the Houston Home Journal editor and publisher, found the truck in a field in Marshallville and decided to donate it to his mentor, Ernest W. Wood.

“Chief Wood not only taught me how to be a fireman, he taught me how to be a man,” Evans said at a donation ceremony at the city’s first fire station at 207 Myrtle St.

In turn, Wood, the first fire chief for Warner Robins, donated the pumper truck to the city.

“It’s like bringing one of your children home,” he said.

He handed the keys over to Mayor Chuck Shaheen, who recognized not only the contributions of the city’s firefighters but also of their spouses.

The city’s second fire chief, Larry West, also came out for the ceremony as did city firefighters, city officials and a few candidates.

Evans, a former Marshallville fire chief, said the fire truck has special significance to him. When Warner Robins fire retired it, it came to the Marshallville Fire Department when he was chief.

After hearing that Marshallville had retired the truck, Evans said he went looking for it and found it covered in kudzu in the field.

The fire engine will be housed at Station 2, the city’s original station. The designation of Station 1 belongs to the headquarters station now located on North Pleasant Hill Road.

Station 2 is expected to be converted into a museum showcasing the department’s history. The station is now used by Warner Robins police, but it’s expected to be returned to Warner Robins fire -- possibly by the end of the year.

How much it will cost to restore the fire truck isn’t known, Singletary said. He expects it will be costly, take a long time and require a lot of “sweat equity.”

Singletary said he hopes that retired firefighters who remember how Station 2 originally looked will offer advice.

He’s also looking for those with skills and expertise in renovating both the fire station and the fire truck who might be willing to lend a hand.

“I think it’s important to preserve our fire history,” Singletary said.

For more information, contact Warner Robins fire at 293-1020.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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