For sale: Fire truck, slightly used.
The tiny Fire Island community of Fair Harbor is auctioning off an aging pumper truck — and the bidding is open to anyone.
Officials think the 2001 International/Saulsbury hose wagon — which has 5,736 miles on its odometer and put in 533 hours of service before it was retired earlier this year — could be a collectors’ item.
"We wanted to open it up beyond the municipalities," Fair Harbor Fire District commissioner Shawn Sandler said. "It may be more valuable to someone other than fire departments because of its unique capabilities."
It's not unusual for government agencies to auction old equipment. The Village of Mastic Beach auctioned its Village Hall and other facilities when it disbanded four years ago.
What makes Fair Harbor's pumper different is its adaptations for service on Fire Island: It was designed to draft water from Great South Bay and swimming pools when a hydrant wasn't available, Sandler said.
The truck served Fair Harbor well, but had become obsolete, partly because the drafting hose took up too much space, Sandler said.
"It’s getting to the end of its expected life span," he said. "The downside to having a large reel is it doesn’t have the ability to store other equipment."
The 20-year-old truck, which was replaced in January, is being auctioned by Municibid, a Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based online auction house.
As of Thursday, 20 bids had been submitted, topped by a $13,900 offer. Bids must be received on the Municibid website by 12:20 p.m. on Sunday.
Sandler declined to say how much he thinks the truck is worth, adding, "We’re obviously hoping to get as much as we can for the taxpayers."
Proceeds from the sale will go into the fire district's general fund for ordinary expenses, Sandler said.
The Fair Harbor district, which also serves neighboring Dunewood and Lonelyville, includes a total of 650 homes and several businesses: a grocery story, general store and a restaurant.
All three are summer communities with few year-round residents, said Sandler, an attorney whose full-time home is in St. James. The district's passageways include cement roads and boardwalks designed mainly for foot traffic.
Drafting water is less necessary now since improvements made to the district's water supply three years ago by the Suffolk County Water Authority, Sandler said, adding water service "is much more reliable than it was 20-some-odd years ago."
The water authority had replaced Fair Harbor's main well, spokesman Tim Motz said in an email.
The fire truck is "kind of a unique vehicle that is kind of unique to our needs on Fire Island," Sandler said. "When you’re fighting fires or doing any kind of first responder activities, you have to adapt to your environment. … Every community out there [on Fire Island] is unique."