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New shiny red tanker ready to dump water on fires

A brand new tanker truck was delivered to the Kahnawake Fire Brigade on Tuesday afternoon. (Jessica Deer, The Eastern Door)

Christmas came early for the Kahnawake Fire Brigade (KFB) this year.

On Tuesday afternoon, a brand new 2017 tanker truck was delivered to the station to replace their 30-plus-year-old one currently in service.

“It’s 3,000 gallons of water compared to our old tanker which is 32 years old and only holds 1,700 gallons of water,” said fire chief David Scott. “The community has gotten so big and spread out so far away from the hydrant system, we needed more water than that could give us.”

Scott said the $271,000 truck was paid for by appropriated funds, savings and community donations.

“We rely on community donations,” he said. “If someone is giving a donation and if they want to give donations – it’s used for vehicles and equipments. After this, on the fire side, in five or six years, we have to look at a new pumper truck. In two years, one of the ambulances has to go.”

The custom-built aluminum truck, ordered from Arnprior Fire Trucks in Ontario, has been on the KFB’s wish list since September of last year.

“It has taken that long. We signed the order form in February and we got it in November,” said Scott. “There were a lot of calculations that went into it – calculations of time versus distances, water requirements for the trucks, versus travel to hydrants. There were all kinds of calculations that went into it – 3,000 gallons is what we needed,”

The current tanker truck was purchased back in 1984.

“Back then, it was sufficient but now it’s too small,” said fire prevention firefighter John Rice. “We were having a bit of trouble, it leaks a little bit being that it’s 32 years old. It’s all odds and ends, but the main problem, number one, is that it is too small for the community.”

The tanker is used in situations where the fire department doesn’t have access to a water source.

“About 80 percent of the residential, commercial and institutional buildings in the community are serviced by the centralized water network,” said Thomas Sky, director of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake’s Capital Unit.

“The rest don’t, so we have to rely on this. Route 207, as soon as you pass Wolf’s Den – there’s no fire hydrants. Once you pass Diabo’s Road, there’s no fire hydrants again,” said Rice.

The new truck just needs to have its radio, plate and decals installed prior to going into service.

“This one here will serve our needs for far into the future,” said Scott.

As for the old tanker, Scott said it will be taken over by the technical services department of the MCK.

“Capital will have water sprayers installed on the truck to water our roads under construction,” he said.

“This tanker will also be available to KFB in times of emergency, such as a fire in areas without service from fire hydrants. This is a win-win situation for the community.”

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Jessica Deer was a staff reporter from 2015-2018 who started out in 2008 as a summer student.