5 On Your Side

Small Fire Station Has Big Problem With Truck Bought Online

Posted October 31, 2007
Updated August 8, 2009

— Getting a bright, red tanker truck with lights and sirens is “kind of like Christmas,” said Woodsdale Volunteer Fire Department Chief George Woody.

The $45,000 used fire truck is no toy, even though some might say a bit of a Grinch has kept the firefighters from using it.

“We feel like we got cheated a whole lot,” Woody said.

The firefighters found the truck advertised online with a company called Firehouse 66.

“It was going to be our main tanker. It was going to be one we could run on all the calls. It was going to help us out because it has a lot more water … a lot more pump, a lot bigger pump,” Woody said. “We got industry in our district. We got rural areas.”

The fire department can't use the truck because Firehouse 66 never signed over the title. The department can't get insurance without it. Woody has been trying to straighten it out for months.

“It's two brothers that run this company, and when you talk to one, one says the other one is the one that's handling the sale. And then they'll say, ‘Well, my brother's out of town,’ or ‘I've got to get ahold to the other brother.’ It's just back and forth,” Woody said.

Some other issues are that the truck is a 1985 instead of the advertised ‘86. On the Web site, the truck had two ladders, but it only came with one. A valve also needs to be replaced.

“When we bought it, it should have been ready to go into service,” Woody said.

When 5 on Your Side called owner Ty Hubbard, he quickly became irate, saying the situation is "none of your business."

He said the title issue was not a big deal, but he and his brother, Bruce, promised, "It will be taken care of."

As for the missing parts, he said that just because they are in the photo "doesn't mean you get what's in the photo."

WRAL did some checking and found out Firehouse 66 lists business addresses in both Florida and Georgia. After WRAL’s inquiries, an investigator from Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles went to a listed address and found "nothing."

A spokeswoman said the agency will go to Hubbard's home address in Fisher Island this week.

The Georgia Secretary of State is also looking into the company's business practices, and both states said they can't find any evidence that Hubbard or Firehouse 66 is licensed to sell used vehicles in their states.

The Florida Attorney General listed four complaints against Firehouse 66. That was not encouraging information for the Woodsdale volunteers.

“It makes me angry, and I hope nobody else has to go through what we went through. That's the reason I called you all,” Woody said.

On Wednesday morning, Hubbard promised the fire department that they will have the title, a valve replacement and a $500 check for repairs by this Friday. But Hubbard broke similar promises in the past.

On a separate note, even though the Woodsdale volunteers bought the fire truck in July, Firehouse 66 still lists it for sale on its Web site.

Update: There have been some updates to this story since it was originally posted: Ty Hubbard finally sent the Woodsdale Volunteer Fire Department the title to the truck.

He also sent a $500 check for repairs the truck needs. Woodsdale received both on Nov. 2.

Since the story aired, 5 on Your Side has received additional complaints about the company.

Florida officials say they are now looking into the company’s business practices.

20 Comments

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  • Jokers Wild II Nov 2, 2007

    WoW what a crook to rip off the fire department, and Silverwolf you are a Moron if you think cops "run" from danger.. Many Police Officers are volunteer Fireman as well just as I am, anyway it is pretty sad people rip off the fire departments that mostly work off donated money and little tax money.

  • SilverWolf Nov 2, 2007

    How you gonna cheat a fire department? These are the only true heros in all the world. Unlike cops who are always running away from danger, these guys run to it in the hopes of saving lives. As Kurt Russel once siad "screw the police, if I am ever in trouble I'm going to call the fire department". I agree 100%!!!Can't belive some low life would rip off a fire department. May the lowlife never see a days happiness with the cash he recieved for the sale of this truck.

  • robertsj47 Nov 2, 2007

    Everyone should e-mail these people here:
    http://www.firehouse66inc.com/index_files/Firehouse66ContactUs.htm

  • 1firefighternc Nov 1, 2007

    Good luck guys. I work as a paid firefighter and vol., so I know all about trying to work with a budget and try to save a dollar. Everyone else out there take notice and be sure to check out some of these companies before making purchases. I have found that these companies rarely are investigated being able to advertise in magazines. The magazines are making money too. I would call the magazine and advise them about this company and the situation and maybe you can help another department from going through this.

  • DC_Merlin Nov 1, 2007

    Hmmm, if it's this one:
    http://www.firehouse66inc.com/index_files/Firehouse661985IntTanker.htm
    then not only do they still have it for sale, but they've dropped the price by $5000!
    My personal favorite on their site is this "Frightliner":
    http://www.firehouse66inc.com/index_files/Page2619.htm
    Geez, can't even spell the name of the truck right.

    The web site claims over 100 employees, but who wants to take me up on a bet that it's only the one guy?

  • Here kitty kitty Nov 1, 2007

    Amen, Vickies22, amen!!

  • aquamama Nov 1, 2007

    That's pretty low to scam fire departments.

  • onedayatatime Nov 1, 2007

    Not to sound too ignorant here but shouldn't this vehicle have a VIN of some sort that can be traced to the owner of the title? If this is not the person selling it online then wouldn't the fire dept. be able to file a police report? Shouldn't a police report already have been filed? I feel like I am missing parts of this story.

  • crazysangel4u Nov 1, 2007

    As a matter of fact send several firefighters from Woodsdale did go down there to look at the truck while it was being serviced and to drove it and inspect it as much as they could. Then "we" as a dept, proceeded with getting the financing available. Woodsdale Vol. Fire Dept. first noticed the advertisement in a magazine that sells used firetrucks and thanks to technology we were able to go online to see it too....so no, we didn't just buy it "offline". Thanks again WRAL for helping us and maybe when this is all settled we'll be able to better serve our community.

  • wjones Nov 1, 2007

    Maybe next time try to buy from a local dealership. I know they can wrok with your budget and sometimes can find a great deal on a used truck but in great condition.

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