Jan. 06–The Allegheny Valley Volunteer Fire Company has lost one of its trucks after the Springdale Township commissioners said they’re taking it back and selling it.
Firefighters stripped their gear — hoses, hand tools, extinguishers, fans, nozzles — from the 2001 Kenworth in preparation for turning it over to the township, company President Chuck Miller said.
Firefighters drained the truck of water before surrendering it to the township around 6:45 p.m. Friday. Assistant Chief Dennis Stiokis drove it the short distance up Pillow Avenue from their station to the township building.
No one from the township was there to accept the truck. Firefighters said they were told to lock it and drop the keys in the mail slot.
The 17-year-old truck will be replaced with one that is 26 years old.
The township commissioners voted at their reorganization meeting Tuesday to take back the truck, which the township had bought for the fire company in 2001 before its 2012 merger with Harmar. The township still owns the truck, and it’s the only company vehicle titled to the township.
Miller said the take-back was done without any advance discussion or consultation with him or the fire chief.
“I just can’t believe it’s happening,” Miller said.
“I just can’t imagine a township taking a fire truck from its volunteer fire company,” he said. “It’s not something that has any use to them.”
Commissioner and board President Anthony Rozzano could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a letter to the company signed by Rozzano and dated Wednesday, the township told the company that commissioners had voted on Tuesday to take the 2001 Kenworth out of service effective Wednesday, and that it had to be returned to the township within seven days.
“At that time it will be sent out for a full inspection and also have an appraisal done for it (sic) value and put up for sale,” the letter reads.
Miller said the department decided not to fight to keep it.
“We didn’t want to waste our money on fighting this with the township,” Miller said.
The letter said the company could buy the truck back from the township, “at fair market value,” if it wished.
Miller said the company won’t buy the engine back.
“We are still currently paying on the rescue engine we just got delivered in October,” he said.
That new truck was intended to replace two, Miller said. One, a rescue vehicle, has already been sold; the other, a 1992 Pierce engine, was about to be sold but instead will be kept and put back into service.
It will need to be serviced and prepared to be put back in service in the next couple of weeks.
Miller said the company’s fire response should not be adversely affected.
The Kenworth cost about $170,000 when it was bought in 2001, and is paid for, Miller said. He said it might be worth $60,000 to $80,000 now.
“Obviously, they need the money for something,” Miller said. “Hopefully they need it more than we need a fire truck.”