Bringing Engine No. 2 Home

To run, maintain and protect a town, taxpayers buy all sorts of vehicles: dump trucks, police cruisers and backhoes, among others.

Yet whatever loyal and lengthy service any of them render, they won’t begin to attract the affection inspired by a fire engine.

More so than any other town vehicle, a fire engine is linked directly to the saving of lives and property. With its siren wailing and lights flashing, an engine speeding down town roads and streets to a fire sparks immediate and prompt attention.

When the fire is extinguished and the truck returns to the station, firefighters check over, clean and polish the engine. For these trucks often are as beautiful as they are useful, the acknowledged stars of any town’s patriotic parade.

Members of the Oak Bluffs Firemen’s Civic Association now have embarked on a mission to bring one of the Island’s first fire trucks back to the Vineyard.

Engine No. 2, which replaced a horse-drawn pumper, fought many fires in Oak Bluffs, including the 1946 blaze that destroyed the Metropolitan Hotel on Circuit avenue and the 1949 fire that badly damaged the town’s school.

In 1956, the town sold the engine. In the decades since, the truck has wandered from place to place in New England, at one point falling into serious disrepair before being restored by a fire truck enthusiast.

Association members currently are working with the truck’s current owner, Bob DiPoli of Medfield, to buy Engine No. 2 and bring the truck back to Oak Bluffs as the centerpiece of a new fire museum. Mr. DiPoli has agreed to sell the engine to the association at a third of a price that the truck commands.

Returning Engine No. 2 to Oak Bluffs is a worthy endeavor, a tribute not only to a faithful fire truck but to the firefighters who served on her over the years, people like former selectman Anthony (Tubby) Rebello and Dick Morris. Firefighters selflessly place themselves in harm’s way to save others and Engine No. 2 is a shining memorial to their service.