A firetruck from the Spillway Volunteer Fire Department, whose county contract was canceled more than three years ago, will now be leased to the Pelican Bay Volunteer Fire Department.
More than three years after Tarrant County Fire District officials canceled the county contract with the Spillway Volunteer Fire Department, the last piece of Spillway equipment, a firetruck, has become part of the Pelican Bay Volunteer Fire Department inventory.
Mayor Marlyn Hawkins said that Pelican Bay will lease the 750-gallon tanker truck for one year for $1 from former Spillway Fire Chief Wayne Fox, then buy it for 50 cents at the end of that time.
"It has some engine trouble, which is probably going to cost us $500 or $600 to get it up and running," Hawkins said. "But when it does, it's going to be just like a brand new one."
Councilman Jimmy Sparks agreed. Even if it costs $1,000 to put the truck back in usable condition, Sparks said, that gives the city another firetruck for a fraction of what a new one would cost. Sparks voted to accept the proposed lease-purchase agreement at the council's last meeting and offered to pay the full combined lease and purchase price on the spot, out of his own pocket.
Fox recently joined the Pelican Bay Volunteer Fire Department but made the offer of the 1987 Ford F800 before becoming a member, Fire Chief Mike Mitchell said.
"It was sitting at his house, basically going to waste," Mitchell said. "He saw our situation and made the offer. We talked to the mayor about it, and now we have it."
The department also owns a late-model fire engine and a brush truck. Mitchell said that the Spillway truck needs a fuel-injection pump and is missing one compartment door, but it should become a dependable addition to the fleet after repairs.
"A little bit of wax, and it'll shine right up," Mitchell said.
According to retired Spillway VFD Chief Raymond Perry, who originally ordered it, the firetruck cost $115,000 new in 1986. The truck was registered in the name of the Spillway Volunteer Fire Department. Perry said that as far as he knows, the title is still in the defunct organization's name. A Star-Telegram search of state vehicle records failed to find registration information on the truck's license plate or vehicle identification number.
Fox could not be reached for comment.
Mitchell said he is aware of the truck's recent history.
"It's my understanding that nobody else wanted anything else to do with the trucks that Spillway had," Mitchell said. "And since Wayne Fox had this one at his house, he talked to the other people, and they basically washed their hands of it. The way I understood it, he's the only member of Spillway left."
Tarrant County Fire Marshal Randy Renois said that it's not unusual for nonoperational fire departments to sell or donate trucks and other equipment to legitimately contracted departments. There are no county or state guidelines for disposing of department-owned vehicles or other properties, and members usually work out the details among themselves.
Mitchell said that he and Fox are applying for a new title, which will probably be transferred to the Pelican Bay VFD name if the city officially buys the truck in a year.
Distributed by the Associated Press