Texas Volunteer Firefighters Get 'New' Used Fire Truck

Sept. 22, 2013
A 1972 Mack fire truck, owned by Plainview Fire Department has been donated to the Petersburg Fire Department.

Sept. 22--What's the use of an old fire truck?

For the Plainview Fire Department, not much. But for the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department, the truck will soon become a key piece of equipment thanks to a donation being arranged through the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The truck, a 1972 Mack fire engine the City of Plainview has owned since it was brand new, was recently decommissioned by the fire department after its acquisition of a 2013 Rosenbauer pumper truck.

The Mack, which shows more than 130,000 miles on the odometer, is in the process of being donated via the Forest Service's Helping Hands program.

Created by the Texas Legislature in 1997, the program minimizes risk for any entity donating equipment to another department, something Plainview Fire Chief Rusty Powers said was previously a concern. "Before this program was in existence, a lot of departments would destroy their equipment because of the fear of liability. With this program, the state Legislature gave these departments and the Forest Service a mechanism to donate to these departments without liability."

Powers said the city has not donated a truck through the program before, but has given many local volunteer departments old equipment the city would otherwise sell for parts or salvage.

Powers said the department last donated a truck before the program existed. "In the early '90s we gave a truck to the Halfway Fire Department, when we started looking around at what to do with this truck, Petersburg approached us asking about donating it."

He said the Forest Service was very gracious about Plainview's stipulation that the truck go to Petersburg. "Most of the departments that do contribute to this program feel it's most beneficial to help out their neighbors and other services within their area."

In addition to the truck, Plainview will also donate approximately 4,000 feet of hose. The truck was the last one owned by the city to use hoses with a 3-inch circumference, as the city began using 5-inch hose several year ago. With the decommissioning, the hoses became obsolete.

Powers said used hose would not be very valuable on the open market, and giving them to Petersburg with the truck made sense. "Basically, we had this hose that we would have had no truck to put it on."

After the Plainview City Council approved the donation earlier this month, the city sent the paperwork in to the Forest Service for processing. Once the titles have been transferred, the Forest Service send everything back to Plainview and Petersburg will then be able to pick the truck up. "They could start using it that day," Powers said.

Plainview will remove any other salvageable equipment and logos from the truck before handing it over.

Powers said the truck has been a great asset to the city for a number of years. "It's served it's livelihood for the city, absolutely."

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