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112 FEMA Trailers Slated for Today’s Auction

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April 9, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Eddie Mercer says he has a deal on wheels.

On Saturday (April 10) at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds in Pensacola, Fla., Mercer will auction off 112 travel trailers that he bought from the government, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

But there is one caveat: The trailers are among the suspected formaldehyde-tainted trailers the federal government bought for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Nationally, environmentalists and consumer advocates are criticizing the government for making the trailers available to the public.

That’s because formaldehyde, a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in the trailer cabinets, walls and furniture, is known to cause sore throats, nosebleeds, scratchy eyes, coughing and even nose and throat cancer.

Mercer, 50, a former car dealer, said there’s nothing wrong with the trailers, and participants in the auction will receive information about formaldehyde.

“They are absolutely fine,” he said. “I bought one for myself for my family.”

Mercer said the trailers he’s auctioning were sitting in Columbia, Miss.

They are up to 32 feet long and include beds, a small bathroom and a small kitchen with a stove, sink and refrigerator.

The government paid between $15,000 and $30,000 for each of them, and they should sell for less than half of that, Mercer said. He wouldn’t say what he paid for them.

Jan Jenkens said she will be looking for the best bargain possible.

“I know I will get a fair deal if I make a decent offer,” she said.

Jenkens wants to take her two grandchildren camping.

“A tent is not going to work for me,” the Cantonment grandmother said. “That is not going to happen.”

Randy Bricker, 45, of Pensacola said he wants a travel trailer to take his 11-, 12- and 14-year-old daughters camping.

He said he went to a travel trailer auction last weekend but didn’t get anything and is hoping to have better luck this weekend.

“Me putting up a tent and sleeping on a cot, that’s not going to happen,” he said.

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