Duncan’s Bill Aumen wants the old fire truck he is restoring ready in time to take part in the annual Family Day parade in Qualicum Beach in June.
Aumen, who was a fire chief at a volunteer fire department in Florida for 33 years, recently bought the out-of-service 1961 Board/Thibault fire truck from the Town of Qualicum Beach for $1.
Aumen had to work to get the truck, which was the first fire truck purchased brand new by the Town of Qualicum Beach in 1962, road worthy before he could drive it back to his home and garage in Duncan where he intends to fully restore it over the winter.
“It will be fully operational and in much better looking condition than it is now when I’m finished restoring it,” he said while working on the truck’s brakes.
“It’s really just a hobby for me. Instead of fixing up old cars, like many prefer to do, I choose to restore fire trucks.”
Aumen, who came to Vancouver Island to set up a software development business, has been collecting and restoring fire trucks for years.
He currently has three at his property, including a restored 1941 military fire truck that he purchased from an army base in Oregon, and a 1973 ladder truck from Pennsylvania.
Aumen said the truck from Qualicum Beach is the first one that he has purchased that didn’t have to be shipped to his home.
The Town of Qualicum Beach agreed to sell the truck to Aumen for $1 on the condition that he give the town “a right of first refusal” to buy the truck back, fully restored, if and when he chooses to dispose of the vehicle in the future.
“Under any other circumstance this truck would have been sold and we would have never seen the vehicle again,” said Daniel Sailland, the town’s CAO.
“We feel blessed with the fact that the individual who purchased the vehicle did so because he wants to restore it. Furthermore, he has agreed to bring the restored fire truck back to Qualicum Beach for special events when requested.”
Aumen said he grew up in a family in which learning mechanics was important.
“When I was young, my dad gave me a broken down old car and said that if I can fix it, I can have it,” he said.
“I’ve been working on vehicles ever since.”
—With files from Parksville Qualicum Beach News