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Pleasant Grove firefighters restoring 1933 engine 'Old Joe' in spare time

PLEASANT GROVE — Firefighters in Pleasant Grove are using their down time to give new life to "Old Joe," one of the city's first fire engines.

“Old Joe” is a 1933, 2 1/2 ton Dodge Brothers flatbed truck that was converted into a fire engine by Pleasant Grove volunteer firefighters in 1933 and served the community for decades.

Fire Capt. Justin Whatcott said the fire engine is a "huge part of our history" and a part of who the station's firefighters are today.

"When I first started, it was one of those things that we brought out for parades," said Lt. Jake Larsen said.

Old Joe was retired after 85 years as a working fire engine. At that point, it was starting to fall apart. Now, "Old Joe" is in pieces.

For Larsen, restoring Old Joe is something he's wanted to do since he first began working at the station.

“I think most of us knew it was going to be a big project and it was going to be a lot of work,” Larsen said.

The firefighters work on Old Joe during the quiet times at the station in between calls. Over the past three months, they have disassembled the fire engine and are now beginning the restoration, according to Whatcott. The restoration is meant to honor Pleasant Grove’s earliest firefighters and fire truck.

“Everybody is pitching in and using their knowledge and we are learning as we go," Whatcott said. "Shine it up, make sure everything is mechanically sound, put it back together, make sure it looks like it did."

Whatcott said the firefighters hope to have Old Joe restored by the end of the year, preserving an important part of the city’s history and helping to make the truck as good as new.

“We’re sentimental people, this means a lot to a lot of us that have worked here for a long time,” he said.