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Blackduck Fire Department builds new water tender truck

Blackduck's newest firefighter -- a new water tender. Members of the Blackduck Fire Department spent hundreds of hours volunteering their time to bring this new truck to life. The project took between four and five months to complete and saved the city of Blackduck hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The dire need for replacing a 20-year-old water truck led the Blackduck Fire Department to take on the job of fashioning a new one themselves.

"We do have one good truck," said Fire Chief Rick Bogart. "However, the 20-year-old truck was leaking water so bad we could hardly make it to a fire without it running empty. It did well in its time, but it just needed to be replaced."

The old truck had a fiberglass tank, which according to Bogart, wasn't designed to take on northern Minnesota's bitter winter temperatures.

After looking into the cost of purchasing a used water truck, the department discovered that they were looking at numbers between $100,000-$200,000.

Frustrated with the high prices, Bogart and the rest of the fire crew started looking into what it would take to buy the components of a truck and put it together themselves.

"First of all, we bought a used truck with a cab on a chassis," Bogart explained. "We refurbished, painted and fully equipped it with lights, sirens and everything else we needed to go in it and on it to make it look like a fire truck should look."

According to Bogart, the next step the department took was purchasing the essential part of the truck -- the water tank.

Every member of the fire department who could, graciously donated their time to make this project possible.

Brian Larson was one of many firemen who worked on the truck.

"We really needed this new truck," he said. "It was hard work to get it ready and put together, but it was worth it. The truck turned out great, we're very proud," he said.

When all was said and done, Bogart said the truck was ready and constructed for a fraction of the cost of buying a used one.

Larson said the project ended up costing somewhere around $48,000. Whatever could be used from the old truck was used on the new one -- the department did everything they could to cut costs.

Bogart explained that the truck took somewhere around three or four months to assemble.

"It was quite an endeavor for a bunch of guys to get together and make this possible," he said." "I'm very proud of the entire department. These guys are very dedicated individuals and do a great job."