MFPD continues vehicle search, buys demo truck

Fire district will receive demo truck within the year


By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

With inflation and supply chain issues hitting the vehicle market, the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors has had to change the way it purchases fire trucks and ambulances.

The board approved the purchase of a demo fire truck April 27, which it will receive within the year. Recent ambulance purchases by the board won’t be received for two years. 

Chief Brian Hendricks said he has been inquiring about stock trucks from different companies — these are demo trucks that don’t have many extra features.

“The purpose of these demos is they can take them to trade shows, show them off to individual fire departments and eventually sell them,” Hendricks said. “Typically a demo truck will be sold when it has anywhere between 20,000-25,000 miles on it.”

Hendricks said MFPD will usually put its trucks into reserves around 110,000 miles, meaning a demo truck has already lost a quarter of its use. Hendricks identified a Rosenbauer truck that is similar to ones already in the Mehlville fleet, meaning a quick learning curve for staff.

The truck is currently being built and is slated to start as a demo truck in September. MFPD is scheduled to receive the truck in November, meaning it would only have spent two months as a demo truck. The truck would be housed at Sentinel Emergency Solutions which is within the MFPD jurisdiction.

“This will fix our short and medium-term apparatus issue we have with our reserve fleet,” Hendricks said.

The truck costs $687,000, about $21,000 more than one MFPD will receive in October. Hendricks said if the board did not buy this truck, a future truck could cost $725,000 based on recent price increases. Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond said the budget only accounted for half of a truck this year, but there are enough reserves to absorb the cost.

Hendricks said to combat possible truck shortages going forward, MFPD will shift trucks around, moving them from busier areas to less busy ones regularly.