Greensburg firefighter Clyde Snyder has been fond of the department's 1949 Seagrave engine ever since he was a Boy Scout in the 1960s.
"I got pretty well attracted to it, and I can remember it from when I was a child," Snyder said. "It was a piece of equipment I thought was just neat. I liked the looks of it."
Snyder's efforts in restoring the engine recently helped earn him accolades as Firefighter of the Year from the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department's Hose Company No. 8.
Snyder joined the department in 1969. The Seagrave had been delivered in the summer of 1949.
The department retired the truck 16 years after buying it. The vehicle was then used by the city streets department before serving as the original Westmoreland County HAZMAT vehicle for the hazardous material team.
The engine spent time at the former Volkswagen plant near New Stanton and was at Westmoreland County Community College twice. On its last stint at the college near Youngwood, the engine sat for three or four years in a field.
"All it was used for was dragging ball fields," Snyder said.
The truck came back to the fire department in the early 1980s.
It then basically sat for decades until efforts to refurbish it were rekindled a few years ago.
Getting the truck into the condition it can be seen today in the fire department's museum behind city hall took a lot of time and effort.
"It was a lot of work to get it up and running," Snyder said.
In the early part of this century, Forbes Road fire Chief Robert Rosatti suggested inmates at the State Correctional Institution- Albion in Erie County might be able to help restore the engine, Snyder said.
"We contacted them ... and they were interested in restoring it and getting it running," Snyder said. …