Firetrucks Unlimited has expanded to a larger facility to meet the growing demand for refurbished fire and ambulance vehicles, even though sales are yet to be local.
Co-owner Brian Reyburn said the Henderson-based company has done bodywork and equipment sales for the Henderson Fire Department and has discussed possible refurbishments with Clark County and Las Vegas, but nothing has been sold yet.
Firetrucks Unlimited moved into a 23,000-square-foot warehouse in Henderson, moving from their 16,000-square-foot building in the Valley Auto Mall area. The company has grown from three employees to more than 40.
The company did 30 refurbishments last year, sold 12 used trucks, rebuilt 10 ambulances and built five fire vehicles. With the new space, Reyburn said they should move 80 to 90 vehicles through production this year.
The family business was started in 2007 by Reyburn’s father and company president, Stuart, a former firefighter for a defense contractor at the Nevada Test Site. Reyburn’s brother, David, is in charge of marketing.
Overhauling the vehicles can include rebuilding engines, transmissions, drive lines, anything mechanical, upgrading the safety or improving technology for between $150,000 and $200,000.
A new fire engine costs about $600,000 and a ladder truck can be as much as $1.2 million, Reyburn said. The company can refurbish a ladder truck for $350,000.
Reyburn said refurbishing can add 10 years to a vehicle’s life and carries a one-year warranty. The life of new vehicles is eight to 10 years, with a one-year warranty for nonengine components.
To save money during the economic downturn, large municipalities such as Henderson and Las Vegas have turned to extending the life of city vehicles as far as they can before buying new. However, fire emergency vehicles undergo such heavy use in larger municipalities that it becomes necessary to buy new.
Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said the city maintains and uses its vehicles until they are beyond repair and cannot be short a vehicle while waiting for a refurbishment. According to the Firetrucks Unlimited website, a refurbishment can take four to six months.
“At 100,000 miles you start to worry about the frames,” said Szymanski, adding the city has some new trucks on order. “Do they have cracks in them in the welds or anywhere.”While the local municipalities have yet to buy used or refurbish with Firetrucks Unlimited, towns in Nye and Lincoln counties have used the company.
A refurbished former Henderson 19-year-old engine pumper truck was recently delivered to Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services for $150,000, a discount of as much as $350,000 compared to buying a new one, Reyburn said.
The lack of local business has not hindered company growth. It recently signed a five-year deal to refurbish emergency vehicles for the Department of Energy in Mercury and has had a standing contract with the Navy.
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