NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — The Norton Shores Fire Department on Friday celebrated a homecoming more than 50 years in the making.

It’s been 54 years since a 1945 Ford Fire Truck, one of the department’s original fire engines, was last seen in Norton Shores.

A man from Perry, Georgia, about 100 miles south of Atlanta, found it at an auction.

“He was just walking by and he heard, ‘Going once, $1,500, going twice,’ and he thought, ‘This fire truck is going for $1,500? I can’t let it go for that,'” Norton Shores Fire Chief Bob Gagnon said.

Instead of keeping the truck for himself, two months ago, the man made a call to the Norton Shores Fire Department.

“And said, ‘I happen to have a fire truck that belonged to your department back in 1945 and I would like to get it back home to you.’ I’m just like, ‘Wait a minute, what? Who is this? What do you want?'” Gagnon said.

This week, the truck made its return home from Georgia. It’s still driveable.

“Normally, fire trucks this vintage are in much worse shape. So whoever owned this after we sold it, and who they sold it to, they took care of it and we’re going to do the same thing,” Gagnon said.

A 1945 Ford fire truck returns to Norton Shores after 54 years on Oct. 20, 2023.
A 1945 Ford fire truck returned to Norton Shores on Oct. 20, 2023.

Gagnon said his department wants to take a complete look at the truck’s history and work out exactly how it ended up in Georgia.

The truck will be showcased during events like parades and Gagnon hopes it reminds the community of the foundation of their fire department.

“Know what the firefighters before us had to use,” he said. “Our department is what it is today because of the people that were before us.”