November 23, 2014

Elyria
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Fire tanker proving to be a hot item on eBay

Former Carlisle Township Fire Chief Ray Hildebrandt and Carlisle fire Lt. Randy Feakins look in October at the now-retired tanker that is being auctioned by the township on eBay.

CARLISLE TWP. — The bids keep climbing for the bright red 7,000-gallon tanker truck now up for sale by the Carlisle Township Fire Department on eBay.

“Oh, the last time I looked earlier this morning it was at $8,600,” Carlisle Township Fire Chief Kevin Dembiec said Thursday after being told the bidding was up to $9,100.

Bidding on the vehicle continues through Monday.

“We’re pleased with the results so far, but the problem is that this is a vintage vehicle, and it’s very hard to find comparables,” Dembiec said when asked the price the department hoped to get for the truck.

“When we began the process of replacing the tanker over a year ago, we wanted to see what a fair price would be, but due to its vintage (a 1980 Ford LNT9000 with 137,147 miles on it) and the fact it was a water tanker made it very difficult to find anything to compare it to,” Dembiec said.

A dozen bids have been submitted so far, beginning with a $5,000 bid Jan. 18.

The $5,000 figure was deemed a good base price, according to an eBay listing detailing the tanker, after fire officials were told the scrap value of the aluminum tank would likely be at least $4,000.

“The more we can get out of the truck, the more funds we can recycle back into the Fire Department for needed equipment,” Dembiec said.

Examples could include helmets, safety glasses and protective clothing for firefighters, according to the chief.

After 22 years of hauling water to rural fires as well as city blazes, the tanker — the biggest in the county — was retired last fall after the township was awarded a $253,000 grant for a new 3,000-gallon tanker.

The money came through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Because of federal restrictions attached to the grant money, the department was not allowed to donate the old tanker to another fire department.

“It either had to be scrapped or sold to an individual,” Dembiec said.

Built to haul petroleum products, the tanker was purchased for $4,000 in 1990 from a dealer in West Virginia, while the tanker’s tractor-trailer rig was acquired from a dealer in Delta.

Two of the department’s mechanics rebuilt the tractor’s diesel engine and its 10-speed, manual transmission.

Despite being used for 22 years, the tanker only logged about 6,000 or so miles as it went on an average of 15 to 20 runs per year.

While supplying water to rural areas without hydrants made up the bulk of the tanker’s duties, it did carry water to major or long-lasting fires where available water was inadequate.

Notable examples were the 2008 General Industries fire in Elyria and a blaze at a Sheffield ice cream stand during which the truck was filled with water 17 times.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.