Storied Fire Truck Comes Home to Madison on Loan
Fundraising efforts will aim to keep Ahrens Fox Model P-4 donated by Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge in the borough.
A top-of-the-line fire truck donated by Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge to Madison in 1921 was welcomed to the borough with great fanfare on May 14 of that year.
A parade attended by more than 10,000 people, visiting mayors and 15 visiting fire chiefs celebrated the arrival of the truck, and Dodge—whose father helped found Standard Oil and whose husband was president of the Remington Arms Company—joined the mayors and chiefs in the parade reviewing stand.
As of Friday, the truck is back in Madison and a group of Madison firefighters, officials and residents are hoping to find ways to raise enough money to keep it here.
The deluxe truck, one of only nine Ahrens Fox Model P-4 fire trucks ever made and believed to be one of only two remaining, was donated by Dodge after a lightning strike sparked a fire that destroyed several barns on her Madison estate, a history compiled for the Madison Fire Department says.
The fire, which occurred on July 22, 1920, might have been particularly devastating for Dodge.
"It has been said that Mrs. Dodge, the animal lover, lost her favorite horse in the fire," according to the department history.
An effort to track down the truck, lead by Joseph Longo, a Madison police patrolman and volunteer firefighter, ultimately brought a contingent of Madison police and fire officials to the truck's current owner in Massachusetts.
They brought the truck back to the firehouse on Friday afternoon on loan. They are hoping to raise enough money to keep the truck in Madison and more details about the effort are expected to be released soon.