Oliver fire department debuts locally-built water tender

New fire truck arrives

The Oliver Fire Department announced their newest vehicle brought in on Thursday night, Tender 182.

As a replacement for 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.

According to the Town, the market for this kind of specialty equipment is narrow, and while searching for the replacement, the department discovered there was nothing available that would not require international travel, major modification, or prohibitively expensive ferrying costs.

The committee instead got inventive and decided the best course was to build their own water tender with local connections to find the right people to work on the specialized project.

Thanks to a retired Oliver Fire Department member and owner of Rapid Industries, Richard Simmons, he was able to source a uniquely suited cab and chassis, bigger and newer than anything currently available.

As the newest addition to the department’s fleet of emergency vehicles, the 26,000 pound machine will service the area by helping fire crews to deliver 2000 gallons of water supply.

Simmons also performed the weight & balance calculations, tank installation and safety compliance work.

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

“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,” Dennis Munckhof, an active Oliver firefighter said in the press release.

“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.”

The unit is outfitted for supply, but will also be utilized for attacks on structure and grass and forestry fires, according to the Oliver department’s post.

“A lot of work was put in by our Truck Committee members in order to fine-tune and direct the project to meet the needs and vision of the OFD,” the Oliver Fire Department Facebook post reads.

“A lot of work was also put in by the teams at Munckhof Mfg, Rapid Industries, and Jeff Muller of Oliver Car and Truck, to see this beast become reality.”

As is tradition, fire crews welcomed the addition by pushing it into its new home, by hand.

“Big thanks go out to the many people that made this project happen.”

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

Additional local specialists who contributed 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.

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