BEAUFORT, SC – A handful of Beaufort firefighters — doubling as firehouse handymen — repair everything from squeaky hinges to their own fire trucks, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, fire department officials said, according to

For years, two shifts of city firefighters — one assigned to building maintenance, the other assigned to vehicle maintenance — have helped the fire department perform the vast majority of necessary repairs to their facilities and equipment in-house.

Particularly costly to the fire department’s budget is maintaining the city’s fire trucks, which undergo rigorous daily inspections to make sure they’re roadworthy. The fire department owns eight fire trucks, including reserve engines.

Robinson said firefighters performed more than $100,000 in preventive maintenance last year to the city’s fire trucks alone, not including the pricey corrective maintenance that must be performed when problems arise. While none of the firefighters is a certified emergency vehicle technician, those working on the fire trucks are aided by a field service representative of the trucks’ manufacturer.

Robinson said the field rep, being paid by the department as a consultant, will come in after the repair has been completed and inspect all the work done in-house to ensure it is done correctly.