McGregor Hook and Ladder No. 1 has new truck

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Accepting a grant from Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation Board President Norm Lincoln (right) that aided in the purchase of McGregor Hook and Ladder No. 1’s new fire truck are (left) Dan Bickel, Tom Sauer, Tom Luber and Jerry Thornton. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

McGregor Hook and Ladder No. 1 took possession of its new fire truck, a 2014 International, in January. 

The truck, which holds 1,100 gallons of water and has a 1,250 gallons per minute pump, was purchased from Simon Fire Equipment in Farley, Iowa. The truck itself is brand new, said former fire chief Dan Bickel, but the pump and box are used, salvaged from another truck that was involved in a fire.

“It was paid for by a unique set-up,” Bickel said of the $200,000 truck. “There was no loan, bond or taxes assessed.”

Bickel said $92,000 came from a special trust set up 10 years ago when the fire departments merged. Over the years, the cities and township have contributed, with that money set aside for the sole use of purchasing a new truck. Longtime fireman Richard Walters also left the department $50,000 when he passed away. The truck has been named Richard in his honor. This fall, Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation gave McGregor Hook and Ladder a $35,000 grant. Mendon Township also came forward with an additional $23,000 since the truck will be used to fight rural fires, as well as those in town.

“No one could have done this alone,” Bickel said. “Between the communities and Rick and UMGC, it all worked out.”

Bickel said the new truck will replace the department’s yellow 1974 truck, which Bickel said will be a good truck for a smaller community.

“We started together,” he added. “Its first fire [40 years ago] was my first fire. It’s a certified pumper, in good condition, so I’d like to see it go to someone who will use it as a fire truck.”

Bickel said the new truck will be the main pumper, the first to all the fires.

“Other trucks have the capacity to hold water, so we can feed the others and portable tanks to this one,” he explained.

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