Florida collector snaps up Greensburg VFD truck
Joe Rodgers took a one-man road trip from Pennsylvania to Florida last month to move a 67,900-pound vehicle.
He bought Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department's 1988 aerial truck in an Internet auction for $9,100.02.
He then headed out Nov. 25 on his journey from Greensburg, Pa., to Wellington, Fla.
“They put me on to Route 119 ... and off I went,” Rodgers said.
Three days and 1,292 miles later, Rodgers and his nearly 57-foot-long truck arrived home.
“It's a feeling I can't describe,” the collector said about riding a fire truck. “State police flash lights. People give you thumbs-up. Everybody loves a fire truck.”
Rodgers, 62, who drives a bulldozer for the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, flew by plane into Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity on Nov. 24.
The next day, he met with Greensburg officials before traveling 325 miles and staying overnight at a hotel in West Virginia.
At first, Rodgers was concerned the clerk at the hotel reception desk might be worried about a big, red-and-white fire truck parking in the lot.
“I said I didn't want anybody to think their hotel was on fire,” Rodgers recalled. “She said, ‘No, that's fine. Pull it where the buses park.'”
The next morning, he woke up, cleared the inch-thick ice spread across the truck and resumed his trip.
“The hook and ladder; I fell in love with it coming back from Pennsylvania. It's unique,” he said.
He drove straight through for the rest of the trip, reaching Wellington at 11 a.m. on Nov. 27.
Along the way, Rodgers, who moved from Massachusetts to Florida about a decade ago, encountered more ice and rain.
In all, he spent $912.99 on fuel, getting about 5.4 miles per gallon, Rodgers said.
He has wanted an aerial truck for years.
“I do collect fire trucks, and I didn't have a hook and ladder,” Rodgers said. “I always wanted a hook and ladder.”
He will add the aerial truck to a 1935 Ford Seagrave Fire Apparatus pumper that he owns. He also owns a 1963 B Model Mack truck, which he restored.
He recently sold another fire truck he bought in Pennsylvania to a California man.
Greensburg officials said they no longer could use the 25-year-old truck because it wouldn't meet firefighting certification requirements.
“I am glad the old girl is getting use in Florida, as she lived a good life with the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department,” said City Administrator Sue Trout, who helped to organize the sale.
Greensburg bought a $1 million Smeal Apparatus Co. ladder truck as a replacement. It went into operation earlier this year.
Greensburg has used the Municibid website for the last eight years to sell used items, Trout said.
“We have been selling all our used assets in this format as there is no cost to the city,” she said. “It has saved the city a lot of time and money as opposed to going through a bid process to sell used items.”
The city will add the money raised from the sale to the Greensburg Fire Department Capital Equipment fund, Trout said.
Before bidding in the auction ended at 3:52 p.m. on Nov. 21, at least one other person wanted the truck, Rodgers said.
“By 3:55, I realized I won it, and I was sitting on top of the world,” he said.
Rodgers said he plans on putting the truck in parades and using it for charity events.
He believes his love of fire trucks dates back to his youth, when his father helped buy fire trucks for the Boston Fire Department.
“I used to always be fascinated by hook and ladders. I said, ‘One day I'm going to own one of those,'” Rodgers said.
“Here it is, My day's complete.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rain can’t dampen ‘Let it Snow’ at Seton Hill campus
- Greenburg service groups exemplify the season of giving
- New Stanton Borough building should open this spring
- Greensburg Central Catholic grad helps with landmark legal decision