Restoration project key to Alberni fire department’s centennial

Alberni has committed $6,600 to restore a 1928 Chevrolet fire engine for the city's centennial next year.

Ben Schievink of the Industrial Heritage Society puts some elbow grease into sanding a bumper on the 1928 Chevy fire truck that the IHS will restore.

Ben Schievink of the Industrial Heritage Society puts some elbow grease into sanding a bumper on the 1928 Chevy fire truck that the IHS will restore.

Ben Schievink’s voice picks up tempo as he strokes pieces of reclaimed cedar that he has planed smooth. He sketches broad strokes in the air with his hands as he explains to Port Alberni fire Chief Tim Pley what the deck of the department’s 1928 Chevrolet fire engine will look like when Schievink and his team of volunteers are done with it.

Schievink, a member of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, will lead a project that really began two decades ago, when members of the fire department began restoring the wooden-spoked vehicle. The IHS intends to restore the truck—which sports a chemical tank, seats and wooden deck—in time to drive it in the 2012 Canada Day parade.

“We’re really pleased the IHS is making this their priority project for the year,” Pley said. “It’s something we wouldn’t have been able to get done this year.”

The fire department will celebrate its centennial in 2012, and felt this was a great project to mark the milestone, he said.

The City of Port Alberni has committed $6,600 from its contingency fund to the restoration. The truck will be be added to the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection of heritage vehicles, and will be stored by the IHS for the time being, Pley said.

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