The Mitchell Fire Division is having a hard time saying goodbye to an old friend.
In March, firefighters began using a new ladder fire truck purchased for $749,000 to replace the city's old ladder truck, a 1982 model bought for $238,000 in 1983.
The city received only two bids for the old ladder truck after declaring it surplus property in April. At a regular meeting Monday night at City Hall, the City Council decided to reject the two bids for the old ladder truck because both were much less than the truck's appraised value of $12,500.
The highest bid was $6,532.41 from the Owen-Withee-Curtis Fire District, based in Owen, Wis. The other bid was from John Neihart, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., who offered $5,000, and also offered to teach 24 hours of certified ladder operation to all the city's firefighters.
Instead, the council asked Overweg to investigate whether the truck could be sold online.
Overweg has since put the old ladder truck up for sale on eBay with a minimum price of $12,000.
"We just have a bigger market out on the Internet for this larger piece of equipment," he said. "If there is another department out there that can use it, this is a great opportunity for them."
As of Friday afternoon, no bids had been placed for the ladder truck on eBay, but the auction is set to run until Aug. 17. If the online sale fails, the truck could be auctioned off at the city's surplus auction in September or sold as scrap, Overweg said.
Despite its age, the old truck has just 16,485 miles on the engine, a working water pump and an extendable 85-foot ladder.
"It's a fully functioning, usable truck right now," Overweg said. "But, it's a 1982 model."
For now, the old ladder truck is stored alongside other emergency vehicles inside the storage building near the Mitchell Public Safety Building. Overweg said he hopes the truck will be gone before winter so the space can be used to store other vehicles.
The old ladder truck has been with the Mitchell Fire Division longer than any of its current firefighters, according to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris.
"We've all used it a number of times and it has some sentimental value to it," Morris said. "But it's an aging piece of equipment and it was time for it to be replaced."
The new fire truck, a 2010 model with a 101-foot extendable ladder, a 500-horsepower engine and a 500-gallon water tank, is a major upgrade for the city's firefighters.
"The biggest difference is it's not a 33-year-old vehicle that's subject to frequent breakdowns," Morris said.
The new fire truck has only responded to one fire so far, Morris said, and wasn't actually used to douse the blaze.
"The guys did such a great job knocking down the fire that we didn't need to use it," he said.
On Friday, the new truck's ladder, which has a platform at the top, was used to retrieve a man off the roof of Performance Pet Products after an ammonia leak. It was the first time the truck was used in an actual emergency situation, Morris said.