Lawrence Garbett then set about restoring it, despite knowing very little about the engine or its many pieces of equipment.
The 34-year-old from Walsall started a YouTube channel, Extreme Garage, chronicling his restoration work.
WATCH: Fire engine returns to former station
He said: “I like my cars but I’m by no means a mechanic. There was a lot of trial and error involved, and a few fuses blown along the way. I had no idea what some of the levers and buttons were for.
“I’d always fancied being able to pop down to Asda in a fire engine. I’ve not done that so far but I have taken it to the corner shop and got some funny looks.”
He was browsing ebay when he spotted the 1997 Dennis Sabre truck which had been sold by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to a fleet disposal company who were now selling it for scrap, with a starting bid of 99p.
The father-of-two bought it for £1,500 and has spent almost twice that figure on restoring it.
Most of the work was cosmetic, involving lots of repainting, with the biggest job being fixing the rear differentials on the drive shaft.
Once he’d got it in working order he took the engine back to Abbots Bromley Fire Station, near Rugeley, where it used to be in service.
He said: “All the old crew came back to have a look. The guys were able to demonstrate some of the equipment for me. I was there on a training night so the guys were in uniform and they indulged me by jumping on board while I drove, though not on the road, with the blue lights on and sirens blaring. It was great fun.”
He intends to use it to raise money for The Fire Fighters’ Charity, starting on November 21 when he takes the appliance on a sponsored tour of 38 fire stations in one day.