WHITE OAK, TX (KLTV) - The White Oak Volunteer Fire Department has some new firepower when it comes to serving its community: a military truck that's been transformed into a firefighter's dream vehicle.
Fire Chief Bill McBride said a grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service program made it possible. McBride said what inspired his interest though was seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and not having an appropriate amount of equipment to handle the 2011 wildfire season in East Texas.
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"It's all four-wheel driver, it's got about 7,000 miles on it, and we're gonna use it for grass fires and high-water rescues," said McBride.
The department recently finished converting the truck for its new responsibilities and added the fire department's personal touch by painting it red and white instead of the original military green.
The forest service is among the agencies that receive excess Department of Defense property and then gives them to local fire departments to be turned into emergency vehicles.
"The city was all for it when we first mentioned it," said McBride. "The city backs us tremendously on projects, so it's been good."
Along with a new paint job for the truck, the department added a back step and a top rack for the fire hose. McBride said firefighters installed a radio, overhead lights, and siren.
"Seven-thousand miles, you can't beat that," McBride said. "It runs great, drives good, we just got to compensate for that height."
McBride said the truck needs to belong to the City of White Oak, so when the title comes in, he will sell the truck to the city for "a dollar." That way, the truck can be loaned out to area fire departments as needed. McBride also plans to have more firefighters trained to drive it, considering it drives much differently than the fire engines they're used to driving.
McBride said there is still a need for volunteer firefighters. If you're interested in becoming one, the cost of the training is covered by the department. If you'd like more information, please visit the White Oak Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page.
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