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By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer
The Menlo Park Fire Protection District is now in possession of a red convertible, but as to whether it has the magnetic appeal typically associated with red convertibles, you'll have to ask the firefighters.
Basically, it's a fire engine without a roof, a Seagraves machine built in the 1950s. It's back in the district after 30 years in the northern Idaho town of Juliaetta, population 609, to which the Menlo Park district sold it in the late 1970s, Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in an e-mail.
The fire engine played a part in just 38 emergency calls in 2009, climbing steep mountain roads and operating in sub-zero temperatures, the chief said. The engine is now at Station 77 on Chilco Avenue in eastern Menlo Park thanks to a gift from former fire district board member Peter Carpenter and his wife Jane, the chief said.
The district paid $4,000 to buy back the engine, Chief Schapelhouman said. The plan is to restore it, which should not be difficult as the firefighters in Juliaetta took good care of it, chief said.
The Menlo Park fire district, which dates to 1916, owns two other antique firefighting vehicles: a hose wagon built in 1900 and a Aherns Fox fire engine from 1930, the chief said.