In a display of good stewardship and frugality, the Wilton Fire Department has sold their 20-year-old tanker truck to a community in rural Georgia.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Amatrudo told the Board of Selectmen on Monday night, Dec. 15, that the WFD had hoped to sell the truck once the department received its new tanker. The WFD dedicated its new tanker at the end of October.

“We were hoping that we might get as much as $75,000 for the 1994 vehicle that we were replacing,” Amatrudo explained. With the help of brokers, they were actually able to get almost exactly their asking price.

“We have a check in hand tonight for the amount of $80,000 for the vehicle, which net of the broker fee, will put $74,400 back into the town,” Amatrudo said.

He credited apparatus supervisor Ralph Nathanson with having direct impact on the town being able to net the desired price.

“His history of preventive maintenance, and the opportunity we had to put some spare parts, in the end, really did allow us to get the full amount we were asking for for the vehicle,” he said.

According to Nathanson, the town will receive “… about 25 cents on the dollar back, after 20 years for what we purchased it. You give us money to fix these trucks, you get money back on your investment.”

Most of the proceeds from the sale of the old tanker will be put toward outfitting the new one. But anything left over will be deposited back in the town’s general fund.

The Fire Department purchasing the truck is located in Doerun, GA., a community the deputy chief said was “a very low income area.”

Even though the truck is 20 years old, it’s something Doerun will be able to put to good use, especially given the great shape in which Nathanson kept it.

“We run the truck on a couple calls a day, whereas in Georgia, if they get 30-40 calls a year, that would be a lot,” Nathanson explains. “When you have a truck like this, it has life left in it. But not the everyday wear and tear. For us, the equipment has to be dependable. As it gets older, things start to happen to it. You can have electrical issues, things like that. NFPA, the national Fire Protection Agency recommends 10 years front-line and five years reserve. That’s in a busy, busy department. For us, we can work around that.”

Much of what wears on Wilton trucks is the salt used during the New England winters we experience. That’s one reason why the Georgia town will be able to get more use out of the 20-year-old hand-me-down truck from Wilton.

What’s more, Doerun is much smaller than Wilton–it’s only about one square mile. “They’re volunteers, they don’t have career guys there,” Nathanson said, adding that while they also do have newer vehicles, the tanker Doerun is purchasing from Wilton will replace a 41-year-old truck. Helping fellow firefighters is something that makes Nathanson happy–as does helping Wilton.

“They’re getting a really good truck. They really are. [Wilton] The Town has always given us the funds we need to keep this equipment in top shape, and it shows when they go to sell it at the end of its life and they’re able to get that kind of money–for a 20-year-old fire truck.”