02/21/15 192 W, 1 I - + 10 - 5 Vintage Photo of Bethesda Chief's Buggy

Here's another blast from the past, a sharp-looking Chevy chief's buggy of the Bethesda Volunteer Fire Company in Durham County. Love those Hot Wheels wheels! Photo by Jeff Harkey, circa 1990 or abouts.

The van was purchased when R. H. Ballard was Fire Chief. He was fond of driving vans and drove one for many years as his personal vehicle. When the department decided to purchase a car for chief's use, a van was the natural choice. This was replaced in/around 1994 with a Ford Excursion. The van remained in reserve as a utility vehicle or, on occasion, as the chief's buggy.

Another bit of history: this vehicle was also involved in an accident on South Miami Boulevard in the mid-1980s. Chief Ballard was driving ahead of Engine 1 to a fire alarm activation. When a building fire was reported elsewhere in the district, the Chief made a sudden u-turn to respond. His van was t-boned by the trailing Bethesda engine. The vehicle was repaired by combining the remains of the original with the rear half of another Chevy van. Click to enlarge:

Jeff Harkey photo

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