James Wessel, a volunteer firefighter, started Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in 2001 after his unit had negative experiences purchasing a used truck from a dealer. The company, located near Huntsville, Alabama, purchases, refurbishes and sells firefighting apparatus.
In 1999, James Wessel's volunteer firefighting unit asked him to purchase a used pump truck. He negotiated with a dealer and bought a truck with a warranty. On its first emergency call, the truck broke down, and the team had to call in other local units to fight the fire. They asked the dealer to pay for the repairs but had to resort to legal action to force him to honor the warranty.
James recognized the demand for reliable used fire trucks and started Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus with one pump truck, purchased using a $10,000 loan from his mother. Three months later, he sold the truck to a local fire department and reinvested the money in more inventory. Since 2001, the company has sold more than 2,000 units to fire departments throughout the United States and foreign countries, including Belize, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus employs more than 40 people and maintains an inventory of about 100 used fire trucks, rescue trucks, aerial trucks and other fire apparatus, as of July 2015. It services, inspects, tests and paints vehicles for several fire departments. The company also staffs emergency response vehicles for the local community during the day, and houses Samaritan EMS, which provides full-time ambulance transport.