BANGOR, Maine — If you don’t pay attention to the city’s website, you probably didn’t notice that the city has posted for sale two used firetrucks, a 1989 Pierce Arrow pumper engine and a 1993 Pierce Arrow pumper engine.
According to Fire Chief Tom Higgins, the trucks still have plenty of life in them. They just weren’t up to the average 26 calls a day Bangor works and were thus retired in November.
“They’re on the road a lot,” Higgins said. “A lot of departments don’t have that in a month.”
The trucks would make good additions to smaller fire departments that don’t see that kind of call volume, Higgins said.
Each is powered by a 425 horsepower Caterpillar engine and able to pump 1,250 gallons of water per minute. The firetrucks carry a maximum 750 gallons of water onboard and a host of hoses and ladders.
While the trucks have already been replaced by two Pierce Saber engines that cost the city $409,000 a piece, the departure of the aging fire engines is bittersweet for Higgins and some of the firefighters who worked them.
Higgins admits he will be sad to see the 1993 model truck go, recalling that it was the first new truck purchased by the fire department after he was hired in 1990.
He waited more than an hour at the station, watching from a window when it finally arrived. Meeting it at the fueling station, he was the first to fuel it and back it into its parking bay.
“That truck is near and dear to me. I drove that truck for years out of Station 5,” he said, recalling that he would spend hours polishing chrome and diamond plating on the truck.
“I have a deep affection for that old truck,” he said.
Similarly firefighters at the station last week recalled a particularly bad barn fire in subfreezing conditions they worked in the 1989 model back in the early 1990s.
When the fire was extinguished, the truck was so encrusted in ice from spraying hoses they were forced to tie the doors shut until it thawed out.
Additionally, both trucks worked the Masonic Hall Fire in 2004 and countless other fires, Higgins said.
“They’re pretty amazing pieces of equipment to me,” he said. “They’re expected to be ready to go all the time to get firefighters to where they’re needed to help the people who need them.”
The city has no listed asking price for the trucks that cost $240,000 each when they were new.
Instead the trucks will go to the highest bidder, though the city reserves the right to refuse any bid it doesn’t feel equivalent to their values.
While the 1989 truck did not pass its last pump test, the 1993 model is ready for immediate use, according to the city’s website. For more information, check the city’s website.
Follow Evan Belanger on Twitter @evanbelanger.