Historic Pendleton firetruck set to return from Texas

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Pendleton — An antique Pendleton firetruck will begin its journey back to its original station this week — after last serving on local streets more than 60 years ago.

A Houston firefighter — looking for a renovation project to do in his impending retirement — located the 1931 firetruck in a warehouse in Texas several years ago.

But after extensive research to obtain the vehicle’s title, the firefighter said he recently made what was a tough decision — it was time for the truck to return to Pendleton.

“It feels like the right thing to do,” Russell Harris, 54, said. “I think that this truck deserves to go home.”

Harris, who retired in late 2010 as a captain of the Houston Fire Department after 31 years, said he started looking for a restoration project because he occasionally participates in charity car shows down south.

“The firetruck was something that I purchased and I was planning to restore myself,” Harris said. “I wanted a little project that I could work on after I retired.”

Harris said when he started looking online for vehicles, he found the rundown firetruck on Craigslist.

“It was in Sugarland, Texas,” Harris said. “It was the only one that I could find online. I called the lady and made an appointment to see the truck the next day.”

The firetruck somehow had ended up in the collection of a deceased man who Harris said had warehouses “full of stuff he had hoarded” for decades. The man’s daughter was selling a vast collection of items that had accumulated. Harris said the man had received the firetruck as compensation for an odd job.

The second Harris saw the vehicle, he said he knew he had to have it.

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