Family connection fuels restoration of 1924 fire engine

Vintage McKinney fire truck restored

It takes special people to find what needs to be found. In the case of Jack Moss it was a 1924 American LaFrance 75 Type Pumper. The fire apparatus carried a hose and even discharged water.

"He lived and breathed this stuff," said Dirk Hedges of the McKinney Fire Department.

There are diagrams and drawings and pictures of the LaFrance stashed away in large drawers. Moss, an engineer, was focused on finding the engine that his father, Orlia Jackson, once drove as the Assistant Fire Chief of the McKinney Fire Department.

"I think he was always looking for clues of where this truck might be," said Jack's son Ron Moss.

This was essentially a humble man's journey to find a piece of fire department history. Orlia Jackson Moss, had a story too. Hedges told WFAA that "OJ", as he was called, was and orphan and found by the fire chief at the time.
"To grab an orphan kid and put him in a fire house and men raise him to be a man," Hedges said.

This is where art imitates life. Jack Moss finally found the 1924 American Le France. It had been auctioned off and was being used as transport for lumber. Moss found it in the early 70's and slowly rehabbed it.

"This for him, represents the soul of service," said Ron.

Dirk Hedges with the McKinney Fire Department, with the help of the Texas Fire Museum, were instrumental in bringing the old engine back to life. It would take several years to finally make happen.

"It will always be for me my Mona Lisa," said Ron.

Just as the whole project was coming together Jack died last year. It was a little more than a year after it was finally complete and returned the McKinney Central Station.

"I think he would say it was all worth it ," Ron said envisioning what his father would say.

The American LeFrance sits at Central Station in McKinney. Hedges tells WFAa that people are free to come by and check out the fire engine and museum.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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