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February 9, 2021

Building a Fire Dept. Water Tender

The Oliver Fire Department received a new piece of equipment on Jan 21 , though not through the usual channels. While most fire trucks are purchased through specialized and dedicated fire apparatus firms, this truck is a bit unique.

Truck Committee receives their new water tender

To replace their worn out 1991 GMC, the department was given a mandate and budget from the Town of Oliver to find a used truck. In early April of 2020, the truck procurement committee sat down to review some limited options.

Original 1991 GMC water tender was in need of replacement

The market for this kind of specialty equipment is narrow, and there was virtually nothing available that would not require international travel, major modification, or prohibitively expensive ferrying costs. So the committee got inventive.

They decided to build their own water tender, using their local connections to find the right people to work on the specialized project.

Left – Freightliner cab and chassis at the time of purchase
Right – Proposed body layout as designed by the OFD committee

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

Left – Paint by Jeff Muller of Oliver car & Truck.
Right – Richard Simmons Jr. of Rapid Industries installs the original tender tank

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

Clockwise from upper left – Progression of drivers side cabinetry

Dennis Munckhof, an active Oliver firefighter, says “I could see we didn’t have a lot of good options available within our budget. So I floated the suggestion that maybe we could reuse some good parts off 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.”

Left – Forming the truck rear end
Right – Assembling the interior console

Additional local specialists who lent their talents to the project include paint by Jeff Muller of Oliver Car & Truck, tires from Tread Sled, vinyl work by Munday Media and parts purchased from suppliers across town, making this truly a local project.

Delivered Product

Find more pictures here