That's It

Posted by Michael H. Smith, on January 24, 2020

That’s what started it all, one fire truck.

In 1999, a young, 27-year-old, volunteer firefighter, James Wessel, was tasked with the job of helping his local department find a quality used fire truck that could better serve their community.

The criteria for the search:

  • Used pumper
  • Newer than current fleet trucks
  • Great price within the set budget
  • With a warranty

After an exhaustive search, what was thought to be the right truck was purchased from a used apparatus dealer who offered a warranty.

The purchased trucks was a 1988 Simon Duplex pumper.  

James was the one behind the wheel on the recently purchased truck when on its first call. That call was brief because just a few miles from the Fire Station, the newly acquired truck lost all power and shut down. As frustrating as this was, the department had some peace of mind knowing the truck was under warranty.

An inspection at a local diesel shop revealed the truck had spun a main bearing, and the repair cost would be over $22,000. Still, there was peace of mind because of the warranty.

After informing the dealer where the truck was purchased, the department quickly learned that the dealer had no intention of doing the right thing and honoring the warranty.  

For over a year, the truck sat out of service at the diesel shop while the Fire Department tried but with no avail to get the dealer to honor its warranty. Eventually, there was no choice but for a local attorney to handle the matter for the Fire Department. 
Once the legal system got involved, the dealer quickly honored the warranty and sent the funds to repair the engine.

As an active volunteer firefighter at the local and state level, the 27-year-old was furious that someone like this dealer would take advantage of volunteer fire departments. Fire Departments are the backbone of our communities and are staffed by some of the finest men and women in America. To see someone intentionally mislead them and put communities at risk was a tragedy. 

Having been raised in a Christian home, James decided to pray about his anger and how upset he was over the treatment the department received. After praying about it, James felt God leading him to get into the used firetruck business for himself to serve other departments like his. 

James shared his dream with his friends and his Mom, who all agreed that it sounded like a wonderful idea! James had always had a passion for business and firetrucks, so it looked like a perfect match! James's mom was so excited about the idea that she agreed to loan him $10,000 to buy the first truck! And so he did…and in the summer of 2001, the first unit arrived, and Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus, LLC, was open for business!

That one bad experience the catalyst to start a new business. That new business has grown from selling one fire truck in 2001 selling over 600 per year.  

As much as things have changed around Brindlee in 18 years, some things will never change.

We will always operate on the foundation of doing business honestly while serving the fire departments who protect our communities.  

Our values have been the same since day one.

  • Deliver what is promised with EXCELLENCE
  • Display a spirit of SERVICE to customers, community and each other
  • Demonstrate sincere GRATITUDE for business and relationships
  • Execute all business dealings with INTEGRITY

When we do that, we believe we can be “excellent in every aspect of buying, selling, and fixing used fire trucks."


And just think…
…it all started with one fire truck.

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