Main fundraiser photo

Restoration of THFD's 1951 E-3

Tax deductible
The Twain Harte Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, a non-profit charity organization, has long been an integral part of Twain Harte Fire District’s history.  The Association has worked diligently through the decades completing fundraising events for the direct purpose of supporting the Fire District’s mission of protecting the community of Twain Harte.  The support of the Volunteer association comes through generous donations of funds, necessary tools, equipment, and training opportunities for the volunteer firefighters of Twain Harte. Today the Association has one of the biggest projects ever in its history to complete and they need your help.  The project is to purchase and restore a part of Twain Harte Fire’s history; that piece of history is a 1951 Dodge Power Wagon wildland fire engine built by Van Pelt of Oakdale and placed in service protecting Twain Harte in 1951. This project is of special significance because it is a rare event for a fire agency to track down an historic fire apparatus once in service in their community, but far rarer to have the opportunity to return it home and restore it.  The goal is to raise $30,000 in the next 18 months in effort to secure ownership and complete restoration of historic THFD’s Engine 3.  Your donations will directly assist in funding the project of returning home Engine 3, one of four like it left in existance, and restoring a piece of the Fire District's history for the enjoyment of future generations of the Twain Harte community.   A brief history of the engine and more details are listed below.

In 1951, the Twain Harte Fire District purchased a new Dodge Power Wagon 4WD cab and chassis and delivered it to Van Pelt Apparatus Fabricators in Oakdale for the purpose of building a rugged wildland fire engine.  Completed that year, and one of only five ever built, the apparatus was placed in service in Twain Harte and given the designator of Engine 3.  Engine 3 served the community of Twain Harte for nearly 30 years and was sold at auction in 1980 for the price of $3001.00 to Mr. Roberson, a summer resident of Twain Harte and winter resident of the small town of Bouse, Arizona.  Mr. Roberson purchased the engine to provide fire protection to a town that had none.

Limited information is known about the length of service Engine 3 completed in Arizona, but eventually the Engine was sold to collectors and changed hands several times through the years.  In 2016, Chief McNeal of Twain Harte Fire began researching the location of the historic Twain Harte fire apparatus fleet and eventually tracked down the current owner and location of Engine 3.  After a long phone conversation, and much elation by current owner of being in direct contact with the Fire District of original ownership,  the current owner agreed that if he ever intended to sell Engine 3, he would contact Chief McNeal and give THFD first right of refusal.  Additionally, he and Chief McNeal agreed that collectively each would do everything possible to get Engine 3 back to Twain Harte for the 2017 4th of July parade.

The current owner was true to his word and contacted Chief McNeal in June of 2017 stating he intended to sell Engine 3.  At the time of that news, the Twain Harte Volunteer Firefighter’s Association did not have sufficient funds to secure Engine 3 because of the many donations made to the Fire District from fund raising events in the form of training equipment and tools.  It was at that point Chief McNeal realized that immediate action was needed to save Engine 3 from auction.

Chief McNeal reached out to the generous Haughton family with a proposal requesting assistance to the association and to get Engine 3 back to Twain Harte by the 4th.  Mr. Haughton, also a historic fire apparatus enthusiast, agreed to the proposal of purchasing Engine 3 and giving the Twain Harte Volunteer Association the time necessary to raise the money to buy it from him and finally have it back home.  As promised, and made possible by the Haughton family, Engine 3 was delivered to Twain Harte just in time to be in the 4th of July parade along with the new Engine 3, and also built in Oakdale by Hi-Tech (formerly Van Pelt).

Engine 3 is in relatively good shape considering how little restoration has been completed over the years, but does have several issues that need to be addressed to make it more safe and reliable for enjoyment by the community in future years.  The Goal of this fundraising campaign is $30,000 and includes the following major tasks to be completed:

1.     Purchase Engine 3 from the Haughton family:  $17,500

2.     Remove and rewire the entire electrical system and replace electrical components:  $1000

3.     Repair and replacement of several of the brake system components:  $2000

4.     Repair and replacement of the fire pump system and tank components: $3000

5.     Repair of the front winch system:  $1000

6.     Rust treatment and painting/lettering of entire engine: $2500

7.     Purchase of a trailer to haul engine to the various repair facilities and events: $3000

Total project goal:                                                         $30,000

The Twain Harte Firefighter’s Association thanks you in advance for your donations and strongly encourages you to spread the word about this fundraising campaign to help achieve the goal of Engine 3 back in the Firehouse as living history of Twain Harte Fire.

Twain Harte CSD web Page


Twain Harte Volunteer Firefighter's Association
Twain Harte, CA
Twain Harte Volunteer Fire Dept (Twain Harte Fire Fighters Assoc)

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