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Christmas City Parade fire truck mystery solved

DULUTH, MN – The 60th annual Christmas City of the North Parade featured all the favorites: High school marching bands, floats and Santa Claus.

Rounding out the parade lineup this year was the Duluth Fire Department and their rescue truck.

“The Duluth Fire Department has their ladder truck out with them tonight. It’s capable of pumping 2,000 gallons of water per minute,” anchor Jennifer Austin announced during the November 16 parade.

However, if you watched the broadcast of the parade, you may have noticed that Duluth Fire’s truck never made it on-air. Instead, viewers watched a Marion Fire and Rescue truck go by.

The Duluth Fire Department sounded the alarm.

After some digging on social media, KBJR 6 determined the markings on the truck matched the markings on the fire department fleet out of Marion, Arkansas.

Marion is 10 miles Northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

A full-time department with four firefighters serving 13,000 people, the Marion Fire Department actually sold the 1983 ladder truck about five years ago.

“We could always get the ladder up if we needed to. We struggled to get it down,” Marion Chief Woody Wheeless joked.

After turning to social media for answers, KBJR 6 learned the truck was purchased in 2017 by Barry Sinex of Duluth.

“Just like every boy, everyone wants a fire truck,” Sinex said Friday.

He traveled to Georgia to pick it up. It now sits on display along Exhibition Drive for the holiday season.

Sinex denied sneaking the truck into the parade.

“I didn’t put it in the parade. These minions are doing it,” he said pointing to inflatable Minions inside the truck. “I told them don’t drive it in the parade. They took it and drove it in the parade.”

The truck’s parade appearance is giving the Marion Fire Department a good laugh.

“It’s pretty impressive to see it in Minnesota. It brought a lot of memories back,” Wheeless said.

The Duluth Fire truck that never made it on-air, but capped the parade for people watching along Superior Street, was the department’s newest truck.

“Rescue One, which is housed at Duluth Fire Headquarters, was named the ninth busiest heavy-rescue rig in the country several years back,” Austin read-on air during the parade.

“We’ll make it up to the Duluth Fire Department next year,” said KBJR 6 Station Manager, David Jensch.

The Christmas City Parade has a limited number of parade entries all of whom have to go through a registration process.

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director

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