Age and beauty

Justin Crann
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Peacock students will restore antique fire cart

The Peacock Collegiate students who will restore an antique fire cart are less than a quarter its age.

Mike Barton (centre-left, leather jacket), a retired Moose Jaw Fire Department chief, donated an old fire cart once used by firefighters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Barton and his friend, Keith Ewart, acquired the cart several decades ago and it sat unused for most of that span.

The cart, though never used by Moose Jaw's Fire Department, was donated by retired Chief Mike Barton.

Barton and his friend Keith Ewart acquired the cart from the Moose Jaw Fire Department after it sat around collecting dust "for 20 or 30 years," he told the Times-Herald on Friday.

"They didn't seem to be doing anything with it here, at all," he said. "And then they started taking it apart, and it sat at South Hill Fire Hall in pieces for a while before they started putting it back together again to send to Saskatoon."

Instead, Barton and Ewart intervened and kept the contraption in Moose Jaw.

The original owners of the cart are unknown, but Barton knows a thing or two about how the vehicle would have been used.

"I'm pretty sure it dates back before the turn of the century, and it was pulled by people, not horses," he said.

Just moving the cart would have been a feat in itself.

"When you get that thing filled with water … it probably weighs close to 1,000 pounds," said Barton. "Could you picture pulling that sucker up North Hill?"

He estimates that it would have taken "four guys" to move the cart when it was full, and they likely would have been given an assist by bystanders along the way to the fire.

Conversations between current Fire Chief Rod Montgomery and Peacock Collegiate staff eventually led to the cart being sent to Peacock for restoration, said Dustin Swanson, the school's principal.

"We looked at our curriculum to make sure it would make sense, and it did," he said. "Now it's a project."

Swanson said he believes the cart restoration is "the first time we've done a project of this significance" and that it will be good for the classes involved because the cart is likely to be put on display, acting as a lasting reminder of their hard work.

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Organizations: Fire Department, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatoon

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