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2018-10-10 / Front Page

DCHA, Delhi Department Hosts Antique Fire Apparatus Show

By Rosie Cunningham


Rick and Sue Ray and Jeremy Hilton pose next to the 1926 Ahrens Fox NS4 Pumper owned by the Ray family of East Meredith. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Rick and Sue Ray and Jeremy Hilton pose next to the 1926 Ahrens Fox NS4 Pumper owned by the Ray family of East Meredith. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter DELHI - As a kickoff to fire prevention week, the Delaware County Historical Association (DCHA) partnered with the Delhi Fire Department to host an Antique Fire Apparatus Show on Sunday, Oct. 7 on the DCHA grounds in Delhi.

The show featured vintage fire apparatus, a fire prevention trailer, fire safety demonstrations and a display of historic items and more. Proceeds went towards the Delhi Fire Department and DCHA.

According to Bill Cairns, a member of the Delhi department, “Today was a little quieter than we hoped but the rain held off and everyone who said they were going to be here are here,” said Cairns on Sunday.

Cairns said the event was a collaboration and planning began last spring.

“These guys (DCHA) were fantastic and all about being a part of the day,” he said. “Today is also the first day of fire prevention week - so it seemed fitting.”


The Delaware County Historical Association partnered with the Delhi Fire Department to host an Antique Fire Apparatus Show on Sunday. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter The Delaware County Historical Association partnered with the Delhi Fire Department to host an Antique Fire Apparatus Show on Sunday. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter The apparatus showcased were “on loan” from various area departments such as Delhi, Bovina, Sidney, Bloomville and Treadwell departments as well as two private owners - George Gander of Harpersfield and Rick and Sue Ray of East Meredith.

Cairns pointed out a handdrawn pumper and discussed the evolution of fire apparatus.

“If you look at the truck from the late 1970s, it is clear that was about the turning point similar to what we see today,” he said.

Director of the DCHA Tim Duerden said the oldest motorized apparatus on the grounds was a 1926 Ahrens Fox NS4 Pumper owned by the Ray family of East Meredith.


A fireman’s uniform and badge worn by Al Doenges and Henry Schall. The uniform was issued in 1941 in the same style used in the 1920s. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter A fireman’s uniform and badge worn by Al Doenges and Henry Schall. The uniform was issued in 1941 in the same style used in the 1920s. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter “It’s incredible,” he commented. “We also have quite a display detailing the local departments over the years - we have photographs, old uniforms, medals and more.”

“One picture inside shows volunteers putting a fire out on Honest Brook so many years ago,” added Cairns.

Rick Ray and his wife Sue, were happy to show off their 1926 apparatus.

“My father gifted it to me when he passed,” said Rick. “He restored it and obtained it from Illinois.”

“We drove it here today and it is a lot of fun to ride on,” said Sue. “Everything operates and you can actually still put out a fire with it.”

Although the day was lighthearted, Cairns said there is a bigger issue involving local departments.


A picture taken by Bob Wyer was showcased in DCHA which shows the Augustus Pfleger Fire on Aug. 22, 1939, on Honest Brook Road in Delhi/Meredith. 
Photo Contributed by DCHA A picture taken by Bob Wyer was showcased in DCHA which shows the Augustus Pfleger Fire on Aug. 22, 1939, on Honest Brook Road in Delhi/Meredith. Photo Contributed by DCHA “Cur- rently, we have about 60 volunteers in our depart- ment. I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and in the past, there was always a many, many volunteers that would come out when a call came in,” he said. “Now, fire and EMS is struggling to cover everything that is going on - we struggle to get the manpower.”

The struggle for volunteers is felt “everywhere” according to Cairns.

“People are just busy,” he said. “Getting people to volunteer for the emergency squad and departments - some employers will simply not let individuals out to volunteer during work hours.”

“It parallels the museum as well. We can’t get volunteers for not-for-profits or for our board,” said Duerden.

Duerden and Cairns said neither organization has specific plans for funds raised, though Cairns said he hopes to see some go toward purchasing new equipment.

For more information regarding the event, visit dchany.org or call 607-746-3849.

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