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Handmade Fire Truck Returns To Baltimore After Nearly 80 Years

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A bit of Baltimore history is back in town.

As Mike Schuh reports, a handmade item used to raise money for charity has been returned to its builder after eight decades.

As hard as fire trucks work, the city is always evaluating how long they can keep frontline equipment on the streets.  Safety, reliability and budget all come into play.

The department’s newest fire truck arrived by elevator Wednesday. It was delivered right to the chief’s front door, where the chief himself help put it together.

Engine 13 is 80 years old.  It’s five feet long and completely handmade.  Everything was made by firefighters working for then chief August Emrich.

“Oh, this is spectacular.  It’s so nice to have it back in Baltimore,” said Chief James Clack, Baltimore Fire Department.

The truck is a copy of one that used to be on the streets of Baltimore.  In the early 30s, a group of Baltimore firemen built it, then donated it to charity.

A refuse removal company played middleman.  The company was cleaning out the basement of a Baltimorean now in South Carolina who was downsizing.

“And then they reached out to us and said we’d love you guys in Baltimore to connect with Baltimore Fire to see if they’d be interested,” said Allen Klug, 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

The man’s sister won the truck in a 10 cent raffle at a school for the deaf.  She gave it to him for his birthday.

“It’s very important for any fire department to remember its history, to remember what it was like back then, to remember the tremendous sacrifice men made for the community,” said Clack.

For some time, the little truck will be outside the chief’s office and then it will be transferred to the city’s fire museum.

It’s hard to place a value on this one-of-a-kind toy, but toy collectors have paid thousands for similar items.

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