A red-hot deal: Old fire truck to the highest bidder

Published 7:05 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

Staff Writer

After receiving a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a new fire truck, the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department is selling its 1980 Ford fire truck to the highest bidder.
Fire Chief Tommy Pendley said the truck, a tanker with a 1,500-gallon capacity, has been in use since before he was born.
“It’s served its purpose,” he said. “But as far as fire trucks go, anything more than 10 to 15 years old has seen better days.”
Pendley said all fire departments are converting from gasoline-powered trucks to diesel-fuel trucks.
“We’re (fire departments) also trying to steer clear of using stick-shift trucks because when they’re jostled about, they’ll often times come out of gear and roll,” Pendley said, “which is obviously unsafe.”
Pendley said the wiring in the department’s new truck is better and requires less maintenance than the older truck.
“This new truck also has the capacity to carry 1,000 more gallons of water than the old one,” Pendley said. “They pump out the same amount of water — 500 gallons per minute — but with this new one we can drive and still put out fires.”
Pendley, a volunteer firefighter since he was 14, became a full member of department in 1999. He was promoted to chief three years ago. Pendley said he has been around fire equipment nearly all his life. He’s pleased FEMA provided the grant to the department.
“It’s the first grant we have received from FEMA, ever,” he said. “So, we are very happy with the fire truck.”
The chief said the new truck will allow the department to provide better protection to the community, which he believes will have better confidence in the department and its firefighters.
Brian Lanning, one of the department’s volunteer firefighters, said the new truck has been used about a dozen times since it arrived in November 2010.
“We even used it when we were called to the McCotter’s Marina fire a few days ago,” he said. “But fortunately, we were able to use river water as well.”
Although the old tanker is on the auction block, it cannot be used for fighting fires because FEMA deemed it not satisfactory for that purpose. The last day to submit bids for the tanker is Thursday.
Pendley said sealed bids may be delivered to Chocowinity’s Town Hall or mailed to Town of Chocowinity, P.O. Box 145, Chocowinity, N.C. 27817. The department reserves the right to reject any and all bids. Anyone with questions about the tanker or the auction process should call Charlie Elks, assistant chief, at 252-945-1248.