This South Okanagan fire department thought outside the box when it needed a new truck | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This South Okanagan fire department thought outside the box when it needed a new truck

The Oliver Fire Department was able to build a fire truck within budget after sourcing local materials.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Oliver Fire Department
January 24, 2021 - 9:00 AM

After being unable to replace one of their fire trucks with a cost-effective vehicle, members of a South Okanagan fire department got creative with their budget.

The Oliver Fire Department got a new truck, Jan. 21, but not through the usual channels.

While most fire trucks are purchased through specialized and dedicated fire apparatus firms, this truck is unique, according to fire chief Bob Graham in a press release.

READ MORE: Okanagan firefighting communities struggling to find paid on-call recruits

To replace the department's worn out 1991 GMC truck, crews was given a mandate and budget from the Town of Oliver to find a used one.

In early April 2020, the truck procurement committee sat down to review some limited options, Graham said, adding the market for this kind of specialty equipment is narrow and there was nothing available that would not require international travel, major modification, or prohibitively expensive ferrying costs.

The firefighters decided to build their own water tender, using local connections to find people to work on the project.

“I could see we didn’t have a lot of good options available within our budget," firefighter Dennis Munckhofs said in the release. "I floated the suggestion that maybe we could reuse some good parts from the old unit, find a proper cab and chassis, and build ourselves a unit for Oliver, in Oliver.

"In the end, we got one hell of a truck. It’s not a new truck, but it looks like a new truck, it runs like a new truck, and it didn’t cost us a new truck, so that’s a win."

Richard Simmons, a retired Oliver Fire Department member and owner of Rapid Industries, sourced the uniquely-suited cab and chassis, bigger and newer than anything currently available. Simmons also performed the weight and balance calculations, tank installation and safety compliance work for the truck.

Munckhof Manufacturing constructed a customized truck body to the committee’s specifications, including the required electrical and plumbing work.

Additional local specialists also lent a hand including paint from Jeff Muller of Oliver Car and Truck, tires from Tread Sled, vinyl work by Munday Media and parts purchased from suppliers across town.

The Oliver Fire Department was able to build a fire truck within budget after sourcing local materials.
The Oliver Fire Department was able to build a fire truck within budget after sourcing local materials.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Oliver Fire Department

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