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Auction of Classic Car Will Fund Memorial For Arizona Firefighters

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ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — A fully-restored classic car will be auctioned Friday with proceeds going toward a memorial in honor of the 19 Arizona firefighters killed during the Yarnell Hill blaze.

The 1925 Ford Model T belonged to Steve Doke, who recently donated the car to the L.A. County Fire Museum in Bellflower.

“I figured it’d be great to keep the guys in our memories. You know, they sacrificed a lot,” Doke said.

“It was pretty neat for the kids. They always wanted to go in the chitty-chitty-bang-bang car, they used to call it,” said Doke, reminiscing of using the iconic car to go get ice cream with his grandchildren.

The Model T, which is painted fire-engine red, will go up for auction at Mecum Auto Auction. Money raised will go toward a memorial paying tribute to Hotshot firefighters working in the wildland area, especially the men who perished June 30 in the Yarnell Hill tragedy.

Doke says his father had the car appraised in 2000 for $25,000, but that he had already spent at least $40,000 to get the car in such good shape.

“There have been so many who have opened their hearts and opened their lives up to support our family,” said L.A. County Fire Museum Vice President Joe Woyjeck. “This is one more piece of that puzzle.”

Woyjeck lost his son, Kevin, in the Yarnell Hill wildfire. He said he wants a way to honor the memory of Kevin and his colleagues when the museum moves to its new location.

Woyjeck says he and Kevin worked together to restore a wildland fire engine from the 1930s, which will be displayed at the museum.

“Because it’s the only wildland rig we have, it’ll be the main display piece in our wildland section. We’ll dedicate that rig to him and the Granite Mountain,” Woyjeck said.

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