Retired fire truck given new life

Ever wondered what happens when a fire truck puts out its last fire?
fire truck

Fire engines and trucks are the usually the first vehicle that a young kid would get obsessed with.

And I mean who wouldn’t? With the flashy red paint job, blaring sirens, ladders, and a super-powered hose. I can see the appeal.

The thing with fire trucks, however, is that they aren’t the most multi-purpose of vehicles.

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Mainly for saving lives and property, the question of what to do with them after they no longer fit the requirements is asked by many.

Getting into contact with NSW Fire and Rescue, they say when trucks reach retirement age, they are sent off to auction houses like Manheim.

Manheim head of council and government Steffan Lancaster says they receive fire appliances from all the different emergency services.

“Manheim sell approximately 80-100 fire appliances a year,” he says.

“Remembering that the average age of the used appliance is 32-35 years old, due to the high replacement costs involved and the low utilisation usage.

“Clearly they are well maintained and serviced due to the nature of work they are required to perform.”

Farmer Warren Holland added an ex-CFA Hino to his stable of gear 10 years ago, helping him to have a “one-person fire- fighting system” at his disposal

When asked who they are sold to, Lancaster says they fall into three categories.

“Most are sold to very large remote agricultural property owners, or a group of property owners,” he says.

“Some are sold into mine site operations, and a small number are being sold to adventure junkies (or grey nomads) turning them into campers.”

Warren Holland purchased an ex-CFA Hino at Ritchies Bros 10 years ago, needing the rig for his property.

“They had been given a whole lot that still had petrol engine fire pumps because everyone was switching to diesel fire pumps,” Warren says.

Running a farm, Warren says the warmer months can prove to be incredibly unpredictable with fires.

“In order to stay safe, it’s better to have your own person fire-fighting system.”

“We needed to upgrade our previous fire unit, and this one worked well.”

In his own experience, Warren says it’s quite common to see farms utilising them for their intended purpose.

“You don’t see too many these days used for other things.”

“A long time ago, there was a bore drilling contractor had five or six old ones that he was using for his own trucks.

“Apart from that, I’ve only ever seen them on farms as private fire units.”

Despite the majority, Deals on Wheels has managed to track down some of the more interesting uses for the retired trucks.

Dave Donegan from Mint Pig Racing converted an old American fire truck for hauling his racing business around.

Undergoing a major restoration, Donegan says he couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

“We have people stopping us in the middle of the street,” he says.

“Obviously fire trucks are big in America and our one is a bit different so people get very excited about it.”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to these live-saving rigs.

Do you have a restored or converted fire truck that you would like featured in Deals on Wheels? Email

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