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Fire truck stays in Clintonville

The clity if Clintonville is selliing a ladder truck to Charles Mehlhorn who plans to donate it to the FWD Seagrave Museum. Bert Lehman Photo

Vehicle going to FWD Seagrave Museum

By Bert Lehman

The Clintonville Common Council approved selling ladder truck 971, which was part of the Clintonville Fire Department, for $12,000 to Charles Mehlhorn of Shawano.

Mehlhorn plans to donate the truck to the FWD Seagrave Museum in Clintonville.

The council approved the sale at its Feb. 13 meeting. The truck was no longer needed by the fire department since the new ladder truck it purchased was delivered to the department in 2023.

Council discussion

Fire Chief Shane Krueger told the council that the ladder truck was placed on the Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction website in December 2023 and January 2024 in an effort to sell it.

The first time it was placed on the website, the department received an offer around $13,000. The second time it was placed on the website, there was an offer around $11,000.

“Neither of those (bids) met a reserve that we had placed on it of $20,000,” Krueger said. “If we had not had a reserve on it, it could have sold for $1 and it would have been gone. So, to protect the value of the apparatus we wanted to have a reserve on it.”

The department had an opportunity to list the fire truck on the website a third time in February, but the stipulation for a third listing was no reserve could be placed on the fire truck, Krueger said.

He said shortly after that, the department received a letter from a local person, who offered to purchase the fire truck for $12,000 in order to donateit to the FWD Seagrave Museum in Clintonville.

Krueger asked the council to approve selling the fire truck for $12,000 to Charles Mehlhorn, so it could be donated to the FWD Seagrave Museum.

Keeping truck local

“I think this is a great opportunity to have the vehicle stay here locally and support the FWD Museum and still know that we’re going to get $12,000,” Krueger said.

In the letter from Mehlhorn, who lives in Shawano, to the city of Clintonville, Mehlhorn stated, “My intention is to preserve a piece of history from Seagrave and the City of Clintonville and with your acceptance of financial offer in turn donate the equipment to the FWD Seagrave Museum located in Clintonville when they are prepared to accept it.

“This donation will assure one of the first aerial rear mount platform designs of this vintage introduced to market by Seagrave is available for years to locally showcase product made here in Clintonville. I’m very proud of the heritage and history of this manufacturer and while I understand the city has a financial responsibility to sell the apparatus at the greatest amount, I would hope this offer is reasonable in lieu of the intention to keep this for public viewing.”

Ald. Brandon Braden, who is also the chair of the Clintonville Finance Committee, said the Finance Committee discussed the matter and recommended that the council approve selling the fire truck for $12,000 so it could be donated to the museum. He pointed out the dollar amount was roughly the same as what the department was offered when it was placed on the Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction website.

Ald. Cody Zempel asked if the fire truck could be used as a backup ladder truck for the fire department.

Krueger said that was possible, but it would need to go through annual testing to make sure the ladder is capable of being used.

“So, if we don’t own it, I don’t know that it (ladder) would be maintained and that would probably be a hinderance for us using it,” Krueger said. “If we were to own it, certainly, but then we’d have maintenance costs on that vehicle.”
Ald. Greg Rose said he was “thrilled” that it would be staying in the community.

“That truck is photographed more than any other fire truck,” Rose said. “Every football team has gotten up on that truck and gone on homecoming parades. I’m very glad to see that it’s going to continue to live out its years here in Clintonville.”

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