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For sale -- 1 truck, red

June 23, 1999

1963 Fire truckBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




MERCERSBURG, Pa. - These days Nick Barbuzanes sounds more like a used-car salesman than the chief of a rural fire department.

Barbuzanes, 50, is chief of the Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters and Warren Volunteer Fire Co. in Mercersburg. The department has a 1963 Seagrave aerial ladder truck that it has been trying to sell since it was taken out of service and parked behind the firehouse at 132 N. Main St. in December.

The truck is in perfect condition and ready to fight fires, Barbuzanes said.

"It's still serviceable. We replaced the gasoline engine with a new Detroit 6-71 diesel engine and put about $8,000 worth of new hydraulics into it."

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The department bought the Seagrave 14 years ago for $45,000, he said.

The asking price is $15,000, but Barbuzanes said he's ready to dicker. He's worried the truck won't sell easily. "We haven't had any bites yet," he said, adding he wants to look beyond Franklin County for a buyer.

"Every fire department in Franklin County knows we have a truck to sell," he said.

Potential buyers could be smaller fire departments that don't have a ladder truck, Barbuzanes said. The ladder on the Seagrave can stretch out 65 feet.

The old truck might attract a cable or utilities company or maybe a window cleaning or painting contractor - anyone who needs to get a worker up high, he said.

Antique dealers or collectors of old fire trucks could also be interested, he said. "Some people have four or five old trucks. I know a guy who has seven."

Barbuzanes said his department retired the Seagrave and replaced it with a refurbished 1977 Sutphen ladder truck with a 90-foot tower. That truck cost $200,000. Barbuzanes wants proceeds from sale of the old truck to be put toward the cost of the new one.

"We just needed to upgraded," he said. "People say we don't need a truck that can reach 90 feet high because there are no building that tall in Mercersburg. They're right; we don't need the height. But we need the reach because we can't always get the truck in close enough."

The MMPW Fire Department covers the largest area, 157 square miles, of any of Franklin County's 20 fire departments, Barbuzanes said. The company, which celebrates its 114th anniversary this year, has about 35 active members, four fire trucks and two ambulances, he said.

Barbuzanes, a 23-year veteran in the department, has been chief for 16 years. He is one of three paid members.

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