NOTH RIDGEVILLE — The city is going to have a fire sale.
To be more precise, a fire truck will be put up for sale in the hope of getting enough money to put a big dent in the price of a new engine truck.
“We’ve never tried this before,” Fire Chief John Reese said Friday. “We’re trying to think outside the box a little bit.”
The vehicle going up for sale —which City Council is expected to formally approve — is a 1998, 75-foot aerial ladder truck with 51,000 miles on it.
“That may not sound like a lot, but it’s quite a bit for a fire truck,” Reese said.
The truck is being listed for $170,000. More details can be found under the “Coming in 2014” section of the website www.firetec.com., a Vermont-based seller of used fire trucks.
“We’ve been told the truck is worth up to $150,000 and if we can get that or close to it, it’ll go a long way toward the purchase of a new engine truck, which is a lot less money,” Reese said.
The truck is being listed to gauge interest even though it won’t officially be for sale until early next year. Even so, the ladder truck has already sparked interest from fire departments in Arizona and Michigan.
Capable of pumping water at a rate of 1,500 gallons a minute, the truck still has several years of good service left in it, according to Reese.
“Five years from now, it will have reached the end of its useful life and start costing us big money to fix,” Reese said. “A brake job on a vehicle like that could cost $20,000.”
The truck was purchased new for $430,000.
“That same truck today would cost upward of $1 million to replace,” Reese said.
At the time, city officials believed purchasing a ladder truck with a 75-foot extension ladder was a good move.
“But shortly after that, the building boom began in North Ridgeville and we realized a lot of new homes were on setbacks so far from the street that we couldn’t reach the roofs with the aerial (ladder) from the curb,” Reese said.
Also, due to the trussed-roof construction of most homes today, firefighters don’t go onto burning roofs for fear the roofs will collapse and they’ll fall through, Reese said.
The problem of being able to reach newer homes with a ladder was answered in part with the purchase of a 100-foot ladder truck in 2007.
“That was bought with the understanding that when we needed to replace the 75-foot ladder truck, we’d buy an engine instead,” Reese said. “The city only needs one aerial ladder.”
In 2011, a $270,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant helped with the purchase a new 31-foot engine from E-One, a major Florida manufacturer of fire department vehicles, including the 1998 truck going up for sale.
If the city sells the 75-foot ladder truck for $150,000, that money will be applied toward a new vehicle that should be more fuel-efficient, more maneuverable, and cost in the neighborhood of $375,000, Reese said.
“We’ll get a new truck that’s good for at least 20 years, and save money at the same time,” he said.