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How we donated a 1937 fire truck back to Baltimore

Photo courtesy of ABC Baltimore

Photo courtesy of ABC Baltimore

It sounds impressive, doesn’t it? “How and why did 1-800-GOT-JUNK? send a fire truck to Baltimore, and where on earth did they get it?” Well, the fire truck isn’t exactly a full size vehicle–it’s about five feet long, and was handmade by the Baltimore Fire Department in the 1930s. Here’s the amazing story behind its journey!

We sometimes pick up strange and wonderful things on the job, and this item arguably has one of the most interesting stories behind it. The 1-800-GOT-JUNK? crew in Charleston, South Carolina was helping a man downsize into a nursing home. He had to decide which items he needed to keep, and what he didn’t have room for. Unfortunately, one of his favorite possessions wasn’t going to fit into his new suite: a five foot long, handmade antique fire truck toy. It was the one thing to which he didn’t want to say goodbye.

Charleston Franchise Partner, Ryan Waters, who decided to send the truck back to the Baltimore City Fire Dept.

Charleston Franchise Partner, Ryan Waters, who decided to send the truck back to the Baltimore City Fire Dept.

There is a fantastic story behind the truck. While the family is originally from the Charleston area, the man’s sister attended a school for the deaf in Baltimore in the 1940s. The school held an annual raffle as a fundraiser, and the Baltimore City Fire Department decided to donate a handmade fire truck toy as a raffle prize. Tickets were only 10 cents, so the girl decided to buy one and try her luck at the contest to see if she could win the fire truck for her little brother. And she did! The truck went back to Charleston, where it lived with the man for about 70 years.

Because he couldn’t take it to the nursing home with him, the man asked our crew if we could ensure it went to a good home. What new home would that be? The answer was clear: donate it back to the Baltimore Fire Department for Christmas! Ryan Waters, our Charleston Franchise Partner, got in touch with the Baltimore FD, where they were excited to hear about the story and were happy to receive it. Ryan carefully packaged and shipped the truck up north, where Alan Klug, our Baltimore Franchise Partner, received the item to ensure it had made the journey safely.

Baltimore Franchise Partner, Alan Klug, received the truck and presented it to the BCFD. (photo courtesy of ABC Baltimore)

Baltimore Franchise Partner, Alan Klug, received the truck and presented it to the BCFD. (photo courtesy of ABC Baltimore)

Alan met with Chief James Clack of the Baltimore Fire Department for the official handover. It turns out the truck was modeled after a real Baltimore fire truck from the 1930s, which made it even more special. The fire truck will be on permanent display in the Baltimore Fire Museum. It felt great to return a beautiful piece of American folk art to its hometown, where everyone can enjoy it for years to come!

The local media in Charleston and Baltimore loved the story as well, and shared it with their respective communities. Watch and read below!

The truck about to leave Charleston

http://www2.counton2.com/news/2012/dec/10/6/1-800-got-junk-teams-finds-gem-mount-pleasant-ar-5141582/

The truck arrives in Baltimore

http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/region/baltimore_city/history-returned-to-bcfd

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/01/02/handmade-fire-truck-returns-to-baltimore-after-nearly-80-years/

 Sam Landa is PR Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and loves a great ‘what goes around comes around’ story. In her spare time, she enjoys playing live music and writing. Connect with Sam on  or LinkedIn.

Baltimore City Fire Dept. Chief James Clack meets Alan Klug to celebrate the truck's arrival in Baltimore.

Baltimore City Fire Dept. Chief James Clack meets Alan Klug to celebrate the truck’s arrival in Baltimore.