Fire department donates old truck to museum

American Fork Fire Department's retired ladder truck, left, stands next to the new Smeal ladder truck replacing it Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald

It's a long way from St. Louis to Tooele. Especially when you make a 33-year stop in American Fork.

The American Fork Fire Department sent a vintage truck to a museum in Tooele on Friday after using it to fight fires since 1979. Stan Street was the one to drive it to Tooele. When the city purchased the truck, he was one who went to St. Louis to pick it up. It's been an interesting 33 years for Street, the department and the truck.

"Lynn Cook and I went back to pick the truck up," he said. "The original cost was $145,000." The most recent purchase was for about $1 million, including equipment.

The two enjoyed their trip back to American Fork.

"It was a fun truck to drive back," Street said. "We cruised right along at 70 mph. It took the hills fine. When we were coming back, there was this gentleman on a two-wheel bike coming down the side of the road. When we passed him, Lynn hit the siren and the guy went off the road. I am sure he said a few words as we passed. We always liked to have fun."

He remembered the first time the truck was used.

"I remember about three days after we had the truck here, we had the salesman here giving us instructions about how to operate it," he said. "We got a call to help in Lehi. We had to use the hose off the other truck. We were able to help them put that out. It worked out pretty darn good."

He said it has filled the department's needs well.

"I have been on multiple fires when we have used it," he said. "It has really been a handy truck."

Street recalled the first fire in American Fork when it was put to use.

"It was at the Bel Aire apartment building, down by the old showhouse," he said. "Of course it is always on the second floor. It has a 50-foot telesquirt. We were able to put that through the window and knock the flames out."

There have been other ways it has been good.

"It has been a great truck for us," he said. "I have really enjoyed driving it in the parades. It is a very good-looking truck."

A committee determined the specifications for the truck. It was built by Mack Trucks and Telesquirt put the ladder and other equipment on it. It has a pump that puts out 1,500 gallons per minute and carries a 500-gallon tank.

"That's not very much for 1,500 gallons a minute but it is enough to get you started," Street said.

When the truck was put into service it was state of the art.

"When we got this truck we were the only one that had a 50-foot squirter, out of the Pleasant Grove, Lehi, Highland and Alpine area," he said. "Now we have all got them."

He feels a connection with it.

"It is kind of tough to part with it," he said. "That is 'my' truck. I have really enjoyed working at the fire station. When I am here and they go out, I kind of want to run and jump on."

Street has been with the department since 1973 and served as chief in 1998, but stepped down when his health required it. He has retired from going out on calls, but still does fire inspections for the department. He remembered some interesting times as the firefighters got used to the truck.

"It is a good truck," he said. "We used it a lot. They also used it to change lights, put up signs across the street. I remember when Jim Hardy was on the ladder. He said he wanted to be lowered a bit. He got his toes stuck between the rungs. It's a good thing he had on steel-toe boots. You have to be very careful around that equipment. It is all hydraulic and you can really run into some trouble."

Fire Chief Kriss Garcia praised Street.

"Stan is the epitome of service as is that ladder truck," he said. "From being a firefighter up to chief and now an inspector, Stan has served this community a long time. He still shows up for weekly drills, after-hour training, things he doesn't have to, just because he loves the fire service. To have him drive that fire truck on the way here, now take it back and put it in a museum, that is quite a compliment."

He said Street has been a valuable employee.

"I wish I had a hundred of him," he said. "Stan is from the generation when, when you join the fire service, it always comes in the top three of your priorities. That level of lifelong commitment to fire service isn't that prevalent any longer.

"Fire service runs through Stan's veins. I wish we had more people with that level of dedication. He serves every day, not just when he had a chance or when it was convenient."