An American LaFrance fire truck, purchased new by the City of Abilene in 1956, left town on a semitrailer. It is headed for Germany.
Abilene residents have seen the convertible as part of the Abilene Fire Department and later as a fixture at parades and events around the area. It was also traditionally used at funerals of Abilene firemen.
“Since they sold it we’ve had several firefighters carried to the cemetery with it,” said Abilene fire chief Bob Sims. “The city never stopped using it but we had it in reserve for about 10 years.”
Former fireman Bob Davis bought the classic fire truck in 1997 when the city finally decided to sell the truck. Upon his death 10 years ago former fireman Jim Friederich bought it.
“I have no place to put it and my son didn’t want it so I listed it on Purple Wave,” he said. Purple Wave is an on-line auction company that specializes in heavy equipment. The truck was purchased by Christian Peitz-Austemann of Germany.
“The first time I drove it was to a big house fire in Enterprise,” Friederich recalled.
Friederich served as a fireman for the Abilene Fire Department for 24 years.
American LaFrance has been producing quality fire apparatus since 1832. The name American LaFrance is one of the most recognized fire apparatus manufacturer’s in the world, according to the American LaFrance Owners Networks.