Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force chief fire officer Phil Muldoon said their 33-year-old Dodge RG15 fire truck was struggling to keep up and needed urgent replacement. However, a new truck was not cheap so the team set about fundraising to buy their "dream machine", a Fraser Type 34 Heavy Pumper, built by Fraser Engineering in Wellington, which cost about $360,000.
Mr Muldoon said his team was slightly different from other rural fire forces because they needed a machine that could transport its own water and receive water from fire hydrants. He said the 18 volunteer fire fighters service about 500 people in Lake Okareka and surrounding areas and attended call-outs ranging from car crashes to road blockages and, of course, fires.
"A total of $364,000.00 has been raised through the efforts of the Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force. Particular acknowledgement must go to Kierin Oppatt for his hard work and dedication.
"Special thanks to Tony Shorland from Shorland Isuzu who assisted with the purchase of a new Isuzu cab and chassis.
"Thanks to Martin Simpson and Rob Walker from Fraser Engineering in Wellington for their assistance with design requirements and undertaking the fit-out."