A 1949 fire engine, restored to pristine condition, is on permanent display at the entrance of the soon-to-be-completed Klamath Community College Apprenticeship Center.
Relocated on Wednesday, Feb. 15, by a team of Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1) firefighters, along with KCC Fire Science staff and KCC employees, as well as some assistance from Baxter the Badger, the school’s mascot; the historic fire engine was moved into a prominent display inside the main entrance of the Apprenticeship Center.
The fire engine’s aesthetic addition marks one of the milestone steps in completion of the new KCC campus building, which is expected to be fully operational by April. The multi-year fundraising and construction effort for the new structure has been largely funded via grants and community donations through an ongoing Build the Basin campaign launched by the KCC Foundation.
From early discussion and design concepts for the Apprenticeship Center, inclusion of a fire engine display was front and center, as the new structure marks the first facility specifically equipped to house KCC’s structural and wildland fire science programs. KCFD1 graciously prepared the vehicle for display, and donated it for the project.
The fire engine, a 1949 Seagraves Model 12JB, was initially donated to KCFD1 by a citizen in Central Point who wanted to gift the antique vehicle back to the City of Klamath Falls. The engine had previously operated in Klamath Falls from 1949 until the mid-1970s, until it was sold to the Crescent Fire District.
By the 1980s the fire engine had changed hands again, relocated to White City, where it was used to test sprinklers. The donor acquired the historic vehicle for $40,000 and restored it to its 1940s condition and original Klamath Falls fire department paint design.
Though more than 70 years old, the fire engine is still fully operational – capable of pumping water from its 150-gallon tank, and features a 12-cylinder engine rated at 268 horsepower. It also dons the original 1949 ladders, among many other still-operational original components.
“To be able to bring a piece of the fire service history, such as this antique fire engine, into the lobby of our fire training center is so exciting,” said Ryan Dickerson, KCC Fire Science Program lead. “(To) proudly displaying such noteworthy pieces of fire nostalgia brings about a sense of honor and pride for the students entering into the fire service. This is just one more thing that makes our new facility so amazing.”
Construction of the Apprenticeship Center began in 2021. The completed facility will provide a base for a number of KCC programs including wildland and structural fire science, emergency medical technician, manufacturing engineering technology, welding, a U.S. Department of Education High School Equivalency Program (HEP), as well as classrooms and instructor offices. Behind the structure is a four-story fire training tower, among the tallest buildings in the Klamath Falls skyline, as well as a fire sciences training yard.
Additionally, many of the apprenticeship programs available, and currently under development, through KCC in collaboration with regional industries will operate within the center once completed, providing a space to train the next generation of Klamath area carpenters, painters, concrete masons, plumbers, well drillers, and construction contractors.
Fundraising for the KCC Apprenticeship Center is still underway through the KCC Foundation’s Build the Basin campaign. Tax-deductible donations may be made to complete and equip the facility at http://www.klamathcc.edu/foundation.