ROXBORO — 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.