Reegan Boag, 6, checks out the tanker at yesterday's unveiling.
The 14,000 litre tanker was officially unveiled at the station yesterday, the culmination of a two-year $80,000 project that saw the brigade buy a Fonterra milk tanker and turn it into an operational fire tanker.
Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters and MP Todd McClay joined firefighters and their families, local businesses and members of the community to admire the new tanker. It was also blessed by Archdeacon Joseph Huta.
The brigade's chief fire officer Doug Buchanan said it was just the second water tanker in the Rotorua area, joining one at Lake Okareka.
He said it would make a huge difference to his brigade's ability to fight fires, particularly in rural areas such as Mamaku where there were no hydrants and water was not easily accessible.
"There have been a lot of times where we have been out and there is no water tanker, river or swimming pool nearby," he said. "The 1350 litres [stored on normal fire trucks] goes in no time, it can be gone in two to three minutes."
He said while the water tanker would mainly be used in rural areas, for both structural and scrub fires, it could be used in civil defence emergencies to supply fresh drinking water.
Mr Buchanan said the brigade was grateful for the community's fundraising support but it wasn't over yet - the station now needs to be extended to store the tanker.
Station officer Francis Boag, one of seven staff licensed to drive the tanker, said it would be a great addition to the brigade. He said it hadn't been used yet but was ready to go, just missing the final touches of flashing lights and siren.
Mr Boag said the tanker would be on call to help other Rotorua brigades during big blazes.