Man's passion for restoring antique fire trucks; 40 vehicles and counting

RITCHEY, Mo. — An area man is on a deadline to finish restoring a rolling piece of Four States public safety. In their retirement years, some guys like to tinker with old cars.

But Steve Burnett’s hobby is a little bit more alarming than most. He collects and restores antique fire trucks.

He’s owned more than 40 of them since he retired from the U.S. Navy.

“I actually tried to buy this Carthage truck when I was 19 years old and they said they were never going to sell it,” said Steve Burnett, Fire Truck Buff.

His current restoration project is this 1939 Mac Quad that was used by the Carthage Fire Department all the way up through the 1960’s.

He says there’s two parts to what he does. First, getting them started, and then trying to get them as close to what they looked like when they were new as possible.

And he says sometimes it’s takes a village to accomplish that goal.

“So what’s really surprising with this restoration for this truck is how much talent that there is the the Four State area, we’ve had things cast at Monett Metals, we’ve had a machine shop down in Purdy working on parts, we’ve had a powder coating, Super C Powder Coating down in Cassville working on parts, we’ve had a shop in Granby uh working on it, C & D Body working on it,” said Burnett.

Since they literally don’t make these trucks like they used to, Burnett says you have to make parts that are missing or just don’t work anymore.

Joplin painter Ramon Luna is helping with this particular project, trying to make her look like she did when she first went into service.

“I’ve done some some crazy things, yeah, I’ve painted air planes, boats, hot rods, anything from the 30’s on up,” said Ramon Luna, Painter.

You see, this remodel project is on a deadline. It needs to be finished by Saturday so it can carry the the Carthage Maple Leaf Grand Marshall on board.

Retired fire chief Roger Williams, who actually used this apparatus early on in his long career with Carthage F.D.

Burnett accepted this remodel on one condition.

“With the caveat that once I get it restored, that they would be able to use it twice a year for parades and that when I get ready to sell it they would have first opportunity to buy it back,” said Burnett.

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