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A piece of history is being sold to help a local fire department

A vintage Jeep fire truck is being auctioned off by the Richfield Twp. Fire Department to help buy new equipment.
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - You have a chance to own an important piece of local history and help a fire department at the same time. A Willys fire truck is being auctioned off by the Richfield Township Fire Department.

When it was first put into service, crews used it to fight all kinds of fires. In its later years, it was only used to battle brush fires. At more than 75 years old now, it will once again provide a valuable service to the community.

It originally cost about $500 and was paid for with donations from the community.

“You pulled up next to a lake, river, or pond and used the suction hose to pull out water,” explains Chief Keith Clonch, who says it was cutting-edge for its time. “Then you used the hoses in back to run up to the vehicle or structure, whatever was on fire.”

But the Jeep has been mostly idle for more than a decade and the department has a lot of older safety gear and vehicles in its fleet right now. The sale will help pay for some much-needed updates.

“We don’t have a lot of options right now when it comes to getting new safety gear and equipment, so our best option is to sell some vehicles like the Jeep,” says Chief Clonch. “Otherwise, we have to go to taxpayers. That doesn’t make sense to do that at this time.”

It’s a sealed bid auction with a minimum bid of $10,000.

“The estimated value as-is is about $15-16,000, says Clonch. “We’re hoping to bring in at least that amount. We’re told if it is fully restored it will have a value of about $30,000.”

People have come from all over the see the old workhorse.

“We’ve had people fly in from as far away as Las Vegas. Others have driven from Indiana and Kentucky to place bids on the vehicle. There is a GoFundMe account set up by a woman in New York, and I was among the first to donate to that effort. The goal is to raise enough to buy it and donate it to a museum.”

Chief Clonch understands that it’s hard for many to say goodbye to something that’s been a part of the community for decades, but the auction will help ensure the safety of this community for years to come.

Sealed bids need to be addressed to Chief Keith Clonch, and sent to the department. The address is 11450 Sylvania Avenue Berkey, OH 43504. They will be accepted until April 2nd. They’ll be opened at the Richfield Township Trustees meeting on April 5th. To learn more, get connected to richfieldtwp.com.

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