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Repairs ahead for fire equipment?

The antique fire equipment that dates back to the early 20th century at the Natchez Fire Department fire station on John R. Junkin Drive may be getting restored.  The city is receiving cost estimates on the restoration in the coming weeks. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

The antique fire equipment that dates back to the early 20th century at the Natchez Fire Department fire station on John R. Junkin Drive may be getting restored.
The city is receiving cost estimates on the restoration in the coming weeks. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ —The antique fire equipment that has endured the elements next to the fire station on John R. Junkin Drive may be getting a facelift.

That fire station is unique in having fire equipment dating back to the early 20th century — namely, a steam-powered fire engine, a hose and a hose reel, Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said.

Currently, the pieces are housed under a shed next to the fire station.

A Hattiesburg-based expert on such equipment will visit in the coming weeks to eyeball it, give a cost estimate and decide where it would best be stored, Mayor Butch Brown said.

“When I got re-elected, I said this was one of the things I’d try to do,” Brown said. “Local people have been talking about this for years and years.”

Although the city does not have a estimate yet on what it will cost to restore the old fire equipment, Brown said the city will be soliciting donations and sponsorships to cover that cost.

“No city money is going to be used,” he added.

Stewart said this project would be the most extensive revamp that equipment has ever had.

“Some repainting has been done over the years,” but nothing like this, Stewart said.

The improvements are especially appropriate given that Natchez celebrates its tricentennial next year, Brown said.

“We need to do this before (the equipment) deteriorates,” he added.