Hot time in the ol’ town tonight

Kids and adults climb aboard the 1961 LaFrance Class A Pumper at the 2013 Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend.

Kids and adults climb aboard the 1961 LaFrance Class A Pumper at the 2013 Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend. Photo by Greg Lehman.

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WALLA WALLA — One of the oldest fire engines around is having one of the busiest Septembers in its 52 years of service.

A 1961 American LaFrance fire engine was part of the Wheelin’ Walla Walla car show. All day Saturday children were allowed to climb the rig that was once used to fight fires here from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s

“It’s part of Walla Walla history and it is not something everybody gets to see on a daily basis. And I think it is really great to share it with the community,” firefighter Chris Macdonald said.

Last week, the fire engine was used to give free rides to children for their first day of school. Four families won rides through the Facebook contest but 160 people entered.

So this week, union members will hold a fire engine ride fundraiser to raise money for Kristen Craik, a local nurse who has been paralyzed with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

“We had such good luck with the contest that we thought maybe all these people who didn’t win, maybe they would be interested in taking their kids in the truck and raise money for the fundraiser,” Macdonald said.

After being retired from service, the fire engine was purchased by the firefighters union and used for a number of community events. It was recently painted by inmates of the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and upgraded again this year after a small electrical fire occurred in it last year.

The fire engine ride fundraiser will take place Saturday from 9-5 p.m., with a pickup point at the bus stop at First Avenue and Main Street.

Suggested donation is $10 per riders, but Macdonald said firefighters don’t want to deny any child a ride for lack of funds so people should donate what they can.

The fire engine can carry four passengers and the rides will last about 10 minutes.

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