Seaside Park’s efforts to find a new owner for its retired 1993 Pierce Lance 1500/500 fire truck were unsuccessful, prompting officials to put the truck up for auction for a second time.
The pumper truck, which fire officials said would no longer be able to be used in the United States due to updated regulations, was offered for sale last month on an online auction site for surplus government property. Bidding started at $10,000 for the truck with a $30,000 reserve price, said Borough Administrator Karen Kroon.
“Nobody put a bid on it, so the fire department lowered the reserve to $10,000, a d we’re going to put it up for auction again,” said Kroon.
It was expected that the truck would appear on the website Municibid.com sometime this week. Though utilized by the borough’s volunteer fire department, the truck itself is owned by the borough.
“The [revenue] comes to the town,” said Kroon. “We own the asset.”
The pumper truck previously served with Toms River Fire Company No. 1 before having been acquired by Seaside Park following Superstorm Sandy. Over the last decade, a number of upgrades were made to the truck. A pump transfer valve was replaced last year, and its emergency lighting has been partially upgraded to LEDs. It is powered by its original Detroit Diesel V6 engine and Allison transmission, was serviced regularly and its 1,500 gallon-per-minute pumping system was last tested in 2022.
The truck does not meet current federal mandates to serve in a public setting, however.
“They can’t use this truck anywhere in the United States,” said Fire Chief Tumolo, since safety regulations and OSHA administrative regulations now require more modern equipment.
The most likely path will bring the truck overseas.
Worth several thousand dollars on the trade market, the truck may find its way to eastern Europe or Africa, where its life-saving mission will live on in a much different setting. Those two locations are among the most common regions where retired American and western European fire trucks end up.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in Feb. 2022, fire trucks from across America have begun showing up in the conflict zone. Some cities, including Lake Oswego, Oregon, have donated their aging trucks to Ukraine. Muscatine, Iowa’s truck is also on the ground, fighting fires that result from Russian missile strikes or flaming debris from intercepted missiles that can set civilian infrastructure on fire.
Nonprofit entities have also sprung up over the last two years, arranging the transport of surplus American fire trucks and ambulances to Ukraine.
The Pierce truck that is up for auction was replaced with a new HME Silverfox pumper truck. The company operates one ladder truck, a 1992 Grumman/Telesquirt 1500-500 that was previously in service with the East Dover fire company in Toms River. That truck will need to be replaced at some point in the coming years, however it is still working properly and posing few issues.