Monarch Regains 'Family Member'
Basinger, Rachel R., Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The grand dame of the Monarch Volunteer Fire Department family has found her way back after being gone for almost 15 years.
The department has managed to reclaim the 1959 Ford F-800 John Beam high-pressure fire engine that members of the department affectionately refer to as "her."
Over the next few months, members of the department plan to work on bringing her back to her original beauty in time for the department's 50th birthday celebration.
Firefighter Glenn Lint said the department was organized in 1956 when the Leisenring No. 3 mine in Monarch closed and the village was left with no fire protection.
"Through donated materials from the H.C. Frick Company and the labor supplied by the men and women of the area, a firehouse was constructed at the edge of the patch above the old mine," Lint said.
But while the newly formed department had good intentions, it had no equipment.
The first vehicle it was able to obtain was a pickup truck on loan from Joe Fetsko. It was equipped with two 55-gallon drums and buckets.
Later the department was able to buy a used firetruck from the West Leisenring Fire Department and one from the Dunbar Volunteer Fire Department.
"Although the two trucks allowed the company to operate, there still was the need for a more dependable unit," Lint said.
So in 1959 the department made the tough decision to spend $60,000 to purchase a brand-new vehicle, the John Beam high- pressure fire engine.
"In 1959, this was one of the best fire trucks built," Lint said. "It was designed to provide fire protection to smaller communities with limited water supplies."
The department used the truck for more than 30 years on calls that took them to fires, snowstorms, floods and vehicle accidents.
"In 1992, with age starting to creep up on her, the department replaced the Beam with a newer unit," Lint said. "To this day, some of the members say that was a huge mistake."
Local businessman Sullivan D'Amico bought the Beam to add to his collection of fire engines. …