MALMO – The Malmo Fire Department now has a fully operational tanker truck.

This vehicle will allow them to carry larger amounts of water to where it’s needed, rather than relying on hydrants.

Malmo Fire Chief Ryan Welton said the truck and tank were purchased over a year ago through the Nebraska Forestry Service near Mead for $56,000. But, another $25,000 has been spent on getting the truck modified and ready for use. The vehicle is now ready for active duty.

Welton said there were a number of modifications that had to be made. Sandblasting the tanker, priming and painting, installing a new diesel pump, mounting all new fittings and making repairs to lighting, tires, rear fenders and the tank all had to be done in spare time on the evenings and weekends.

The modifications of the tanker were completed by Rick and Chris Gustafson and Paul Kremlacek, all fire department members.

Able to carry 3,000 gallons of water, the tanker should prove to be a major asset for the department. Welton said this tanker was added to the current fleet, rather than replacing another vehicle.

Having a tanker of this water capacity will allow the department’s firefighters to stay on the scene of a fire longer than smaller tankers.

He said fire trucks will often have to leave the scene to refill their tanks should they run out of water. This removes manpower during a fire emergency. With this tanker, however, that becomes less of a worry.

“We’ve never had a tanker before. We really rely on water on wheels out here,” Welton said.

Welton said the department tries to upgrade its equipment every 20 to 25 years to ensure everything runs as it is supposed to. Malmo currently has eight trucks ready to serve at any moment, four of which have come from the Forestry Service.

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