Fire department works to preserve engine

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SNOQUALMIE - The Snoqualmie Department of Public Safety's Fire Division hopes it can save a bit of firefighting history.

It takes a while to start and smells like gasoline when it runs, but volunteer and full-time firefighters are working to preserve a more than 60-year-old fire engine that served Snoqualmie for decades.

"It's a huge part of the history here," said Jake Koehnen, a volunteer firefighter for Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Firefighter Association president. "Everybody wants to hold onto that history."

The engine was originally purchased in 1936 by the city of Snoqualmie Falls, the once bustling town that sprouted up near the Weyerhaeuser mill. The 1936 Ford was the first fire apparatus the town ever had.

"Before that it was horse and buggy stuff," Koehnen said.

The engine served the department for years and was finally taken over by Weyerhaeuser when Snoqualmie Falls was abandoned in the early 1970s, following years of its residents migrating into neighborhoods in Snoqualmie. Weyerhaeuser continued to use the vehicle to respond to fires at the mill right up to the point it was donated to the Snoqualmie fire department last year. Since then it has spent most of its time in the garage behind the department's fire hall on River Street, pulled out only for the occasional festival. The fire department entered the truck in last year's Alpine Days parade in North Bend, but it was manually powered most of the time.

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