(Oliver Fire Dept. / Facebook)

It takes a town to build a truck: The Oliver Fire Department gets creative

Ingenuity and local connections played an important role in the upgrading fire truck

The Oliver Fire Department has a new piece of equipment thanks to the creativity of a town.

While most fire trucks are purchased through specialized and dedicated fire apparatus firms, this truck is unique.

The department was recently given a mandate and budget from the Town of Oliver to find a used truck to replace their worn-out 1991 GMC.

The “Truck Procurement Committee” sat down in April 2020 and reviewed the limited options. There was virtually nothing available that would not require international travel, major modification, or prohibitively expensive ferrying costs.

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The market for this kind of specialty equipment is narrow, so the committee got inventive.

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

Richard Simmons, a retired Oliver Fire Department member and owner of Rapid Industries, sourced the uniquely suited cab and chassis. Simmons also performed the weight and balance calculations, tank installation and safety compliance work.

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

Dennis Munckhof, co-owner of Munckhof Manufacturing and active Oliver firefighter, said the end result was something even better than a new truck.

“I could see we didn’t have a lot of good options available within our budget. 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,” Munckhof said. “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.”

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

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jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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