By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — It’s not often you can buy a good fire engine for $12,000 — but the Colfax firefighters have done just that and have donated the engine to the fire district.
The Colfax Fire Board met April 24 to discuss the firefighters’ proposed donation.
The Bayport fire department is buying a new fire engine, and the city wants to sell the engine that acts as the third reserve for Bayport, said Don Logslett, Colfax fire chief.
A group of firefighters from Colfax took a trip to Bayport to see the engine.
“It’s a really nice truck. It would fit our needs,” Logslett said.
The Bayport fire engine is a 1990 model with the controls on top. The fire engine burns diesel fuel and includes a generator, ladders and 500 feet of fire hose, he said.
The Bayport engine would replace the Colfax Fire Department’s 1973 fire engine that acts as the reserve right now.
The cab of the Bayport engine has room for three people, Logslett noted.
Mark Warner, fire board member and chair of the Town of Otter Creek, wondered if the Bayport engine would need any maintenance in the next year.
Dean Logslett, the fire board member representing the town of Colfax and a member of the Colfax Fire Department, said the fire engine might need new rear tires.
“It’s their third reserve, and they still use it,” Dean Logslett said.
In addition to other equipment, the Bayport fire engine also includes a foam system, Don Logslett said, adding that he has looked into adding a foam system to the existing Colfax fire engine, and the cost would be $7,000 to $8,000.
“The firemen decided to buy it. It’s not coming out of the fire board’s budget,” Dean Logslett said.
“We have not been buying anything lately (with money raised through firefighter fund raisers). It’s a way for us to give back to the community what they give us,” Don Logslett said.
The Colfax firefighters agreed to donate the fire engine to the Colfax fire district, so the fire district will have the title to the engine, he said, noting that the fire board also would have to insure the fire engine.
In the past few years, the Colfax firefighters purchased a used Suburban out of their own funds for the fire district as well as an aluminum rack for the brush truck, Don Logslett said.
Fire board members were somewhat incredulous that a fire engine in good working order could be purchased for $12,000.
New fire engines are in the neighborhood of $250,000.
“You’re sure it has tires, and you’re sure it runs,” said Mark Dietsche, chair of the Town of Grant.
Dietsche was joking, of course — or mostly joking.
Both Logsletts assured the fire board that the Bayport engine is in fine working order.
Bayport did not want to go through a broker to sell their reserve fire truck, Dean Logslett said.
If the fire engine were offered for sale through a broker, the price would be $40,000, he said, adding that he has seen advertisements for similar engines carrying a price tag of $40,000.
If Bayport had gone through a broker to sell the fire engine, Bayport probably would have gotten about the same amount for the engine as they would get for selling it outright themselves, Dean Logslett said.
“They said they would rather see it go to a department that needs it,” Don Logslett said.
“We caught it at the right time,” he said.
The Bayport engine, which has 20,000 miles on it and has been used for 2,000 hours, will be available for Colfax June 1.
One of the Colfax firefighters works for the Eau Claire Fire Department and does maintenance on the same kind of fire engine and knows how they work and how to fix them, Dean Logslett said.
The Colfax Fire Board unanimously approved a motion to accept the donation from the Colfax firefighters.
Scott Gunnufson, Colfax village president, serves as chair of the fire board.