By Malcolm Hall
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Aug 06, 2010 @ 12:15 AM
NIMISHILLEN TWP. —
With his new friends from the East Coast, Don Jordan will cruise the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Timken Grand Parade in his polished truck from New York City.
Jordan, a captain with the Nimishillen Township Fire Department, is going to show off Engine 257 — once owned and operated by the New York City Fire Department.
Jordan acquired Engine 257 at an auction in New York City last year. He buys and restores old firetrucks as a hobby.
“I ran the fleet identification number,” Jordan said. “I discovered it was Engine 257 from Brooklyn. I wanted to find out the history behind the truck.”
What he discovered was Engine 257 was driven in 1998 to what would become a tragedy at a burning apartment building in Brooklyn. Three New York City firefighters died while battling that blaze.
Upon discovering where Engine 257 was stationed, Jordan paid the company house a visit.
“I just basically said, ‘I am Don Jordan from Ohio, and I just bought your old rig,’ ” he said. “Then they told me the story of the three guys that died.”
From that meeting, a relationship started, resulting in Jordan inviting the firefighters from that Brooklyn station to participate in the parade, which kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“You wouldn’t believe the gratitude those guys have toward me for restoring their old truck,” Jordan said.
Jordan spent $2,800 buying the vehicle.
“I probably put another $7,000 to $8,000 into it,” he said. “It was more or less considered scrap. It took me a good six months to restore it.”
Ten firefighters from the Brooklyn firehouse are scheduled to make the trip and either ride or march in the parade.
“We think it was nice that he restored it,” said Nick Mincone, one of the New York City firefighters. “It is an opportunity we don’t always get. It was a nice thing for him, someone else in the country has the same feelings we do about the brotherhood thing.”
A large part of what drives Jordan to buy and restore old fire engines is a desire to pay tribute to firefighters who died reacting to the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Engine 257 responded to lower Manhattan. The crew’s initial assignment was to stand by at a bridge linking Brooklyn with Manhattan, according to Jordan.
But once the second airplane struck the World Trade Center complex, “they responded on in (Manhattan),” Jordan said. “And their assignment was to evacuate World Trade Building No. 7,” a 47-story building that also caught fire and collapsed.
Jordan also is entering into a parade a former New York City Fire Department engine truck that was buried in the rubble at the World Trade Center attack. It was Engine 293 and it was assigned to a station in Queens.
“It was part of the initial response,” Jordan said. “I purchased that one in 2002. That one took about a year and a half to restore.”
New York City lost 341 firefighters and two paramedics on that day when the hijacked airplanes struck.
“That is my goal in life as a firefighter; make the memory live on and not be forgotten,” Jordan said.
Much of Jordan’s task in restoring Engine 257 involved painting and installing new light fixtures.
“Mechanically the truck was in good shape,” Jordan said. “It ran and drove just fine. But cosmetically, it was literally stripped of everything. That truck is ready to fight fires again. It was completely restored from top to bottom.”
“When you think of parades, most people think of fire trucks,” said Eric Stasiowski, chairman of the Timken Grand Parade Committee.
“We do celebrate the heroes of the gridiron. But also I think parade-goers are looking for diversity of units. It is a great unit. He has been a part of our parade for at least the past couple or three years. What is unique this year is that some of the firefighters from New York City are on the route.”
Copyright 2010 CantonRep.com. Some rights reserved