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An effort is underway to restore Hillsborough's 1925 Maxim ladder truck which was on display last week at the Hillsborough Balloon Festival. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

Hillsborough's 1925 fire truck finally back

HILLSBOROUGH - Deputy Fire Chief Scott Murdough is on a bit of a treasure hunt and he's hoping that people who love history as much as he does will chip in to save part of the fire department's past.

For years, Murdough searched for one of the town's first ladder trucks, a 1925 Maxim that had long since been replaced and forgotten about until he set out to find it. He searched high and low, but while he was looking, the truck was sitting under a barn in West Swanzey, rotting away.

'It was under that barn for 40 years,' Murdough said. 'They were just about to crush it and scrap it when a guy from Marlow drove by and saw it. He saved it.'

The truck, which had by then lost its radiator, chemical tanks and headlights and looked to most people like a rusty skeleton of an old vehicle, was then purchased by a man in Chichester - and Murdough finally found what he'd been looking for.

'I got a tip on it and I went to Chichester, bought it and brought it home to Hillsborough,' said Murdough.

Last week, the Maxim was on display at the Hillsborough Balloon Festival and folks were stopping by to look at it with its wooden wheels and sturdy frame. Murdough said he wanted to bring the truck back to town because it's part of the story of Hillsborough itself.

Murdough's goal is to restore the truck to working order and to have it riding in the town's annual parade within three years, which means he's embarking on a new treasure hunt to track down parts for the old truck.

'But we're going to need money to do it,' he said, 'and we're not asking the taxpayers for any help.'

Instead, he's reaching out to other history buffs, people who love fire trucks, and average folk who appreciate efforts to preserve the past for help. Murdough said it will take around $50,000 to get the Maxim up and running.

'I've been told that engine will run. It only has 421 miles on it,' Murdough said. 'We need a starter, a generator, a radiator and some other stuff, but we're going to make it go.'

For more information, email Murdough at

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