NORTH ADAMS -- The city’s latest parade piece is ready to go and has Mayor Richard Alcombright and city Fire Director Stephen Meranti hailing its revival as "a true community effort."
Residents may have seen the fully-restored 1941 Mack LS80 fire engine at this year’s Memorial Day Parade or during an appearance at the city’s 17th annual Downtown Celebration several weeks ago.
The gleaming final product is part of a multi-business effort in the works for more than eight years to see the old engine once again hit the city’s streets during parades and other city events.
"It’s just another example of this great community coming together," Alcombright said recently.
Meranti, who took a lead role in the project, said he "never dreamed of it looking as good as it does."
"People love it," Meranti said. "You get up close and you really get to see the quality of the work that’s been put in."
Meranti said the Mack will be out for this year’s Fall Foliage Festival Parade and may make it to Pittsfield for future Fourth of July parades and Stockbridge for fire truck shows.
The truck had been out of the reserve rotation since the 1980s, cooling at the firehouse since then. The restoration job required considerable body work and painting, installation of a new engine Meranti managed to lift from an old city trolley, a new exhaust system, metalwork and replacement, new
T&M Auto Sales donated over 500 hours of labor to the project.
In addition to the labor donated by T&M Auto, Berkshire Valley Auto donated the paint, Dean’s Quality Auto installed the exhaust, students at McCann Technical School provided replaced metal and performed engine repairs, Berkshire Carpet Inc. installed the running boards, RIBCO Supply donated metal trim, Sanford and Kid and Mary Ann King are responsible for reupholstering, Danes Auto Parts LLC donated materials, and the fire department performed engine and interior work.
Meranti’s sons, Mitchell and Matthew, also put considerable hours into working on the truck, as did other members of the North Adams Fire Department.
During this year’s Memorial Day Parade, Alcombright said two former firefighters who’d actually used the truck got a chance to ride in it once again: Former Captain John Ghidotti and firefighter Frank Rivers.
"For me, that was a really touching moment," Alcombright said. "Frank could probably tell you every fire this truck ever went to."
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