Volvo Trucks donates 'one-of-a-kind' fire truck to Pulaski County, US
The music was thumping, crowd applauding, hydraulic brakes hissing and emergency lights flashing as Tanker 33 rolled into the customer centre at Volvo Truck’s Dublin, Arkansas, plant on Thursday, 20 June 2019. The grand entrance was for a one-of-a-kind machine that a team at Volvo Trucks spent years handcrafting, to now donate to Pulaski County. Volvo doesn’t typically build fire fighting equipment, so nobody is quite sure the value of the gift from the region’s largest employer. Tanker 33 has a standard Volvo engine but everything else was redesigned in the Dublin plant. It’s the best truck the company knows how to build, Vice President and General Manager Franky Marchand said.
The idea started within Volvo’s own fire fighting brigade, which serves as the first responder for the plant. There was a lot of custom design work involved, made more complicated by certification requirements for emergency vehicles. The truck was made so big and so full of everything that it “didn’t make sense for us to keep it just in use in the plant,” Marchand said. “It’s too good to be kept inside our four walls. It’s better to be in the service of the community.”
The fire truck will be stationed at the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department, which is the closest to Volvo’s facility.
Newbern Fire Chief Brandon Hamblin estimates an average truck costs about $700 000 these days. But this truck, he said, is anything but average. It boasts a 2 500-gallon water tank, which will come in handy on Interstate 81 and rural parts of the county without hydrants. It’s stocked with ladders, hoses and life-saving gear.
The cab seats a crew of seven and is unlike anything on a standard Volvo truck. “It’s a fire fighter’s dream,” Hamblin said. “That’s top of the line. There’s a lot of heart and soul poured into this truck.”
The gift comes as times are good at the plant following years of record truck demand. Employment has surged to 3 500 workers at the Volvo facility, among the highest it has ever been in Dublin. The plant employed 2 600 at the beginning of 2018 and 1 700 in January 2017.
Pulaski County’s various fire fighting crews take turns purchasing new trucks, so board of supervisors chairman and volunteer fire fighter, Andy McCready said this will have a direct savings for the local taxpayers. “Not only was it gifted but it’s well beyond what we could have bought if we were buying,” County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said. “It’s one of the most precious gifts the county has received and we’ve received some great gifts in the past.”
Source: The Roanoake Times