It took 10 years of fundraising, but the Wonewoc Fire Department recently bought a rescue truck.

“That’s a lot of chicken dinners to sell,” said Ron Sebranek, who has been a firefighter for 45 years.

On Wednesday, the department officially donated the truck to the Wonewoc Area Fire and Ambulance Association, the fire department’s governing body.

Two of the team of 25 firefighters presented the title of the truck they purchased with fundraising money to association president Dick Lankey.

The firefighters host fundraising events throughout the year.

“We have a dinner at the fire station, which is a Hunters’ Night Out, and it costs $40 per ticket,” said department Chief Ben Field. “We also have a sub sandwich sale and chicken dinners. No taxpayer money was used for a fire engine or the brush truck, which we also bought.” The new truck is a used 1994 heavy rescue model. But that doesn’t mean it was cheap.

“It cost $68,000 used and we refurbished it, along with getting equipment with it,” Field said. “It looks as good as the new 2012 squad that I have seen, without any equipment in it, and that costs around $350,000 to $400,000.”

A heavy rescue truck is a special type firefighting vehicle designed to provide the equipment needed for technical rescue situation.

“It seats eight firefighters and carries all the tools for car extractions, a 6,000-pound cascade system to fill air bottles on the scene, along with ladders, traps, saws, water rescue tools and just about anything we will need at a fire, including a 30-foot-high light tower,” Field said.

Field said the capability to fill the air tanks on the truck is an asset instead of running back to the station to refill them. “We refilled 10 tanks at a recent shed fire,” he said.

Field, who has been the chief for seven years, said the fire station now has the only heavy rescue truck in the county.

The addition of the truck brings the total to five in the department’s fleet. They purchased the truck from Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in Alabama after firefighters John Rick, Duane Tracy and Dennis Laubscher first travelled there to inspect it and later returned to drive it back to Wonewoc, Field said.

Field thanked all the firefighters who worked at the fundraisers and the many hours they spent on refurbishing the truck, especially Jerry Olson who worked on the electricity and light tower.

“I would like to thank the firefighters for all they do to contribute to the association,” said Lankey. “It is very much appreciated.”

He said the association was started almost 20 years ago and serves part of the town of Summit, part of the town of Woodland (in the Dutch Hollow area), part of the town of Wonewoc and all of the village of Wonewoc.

“The association has one person from the village, the ambulance chief, the fire chief and one person from each township that sit on the board,” Lankey said. He said the ambulance has answered 85 calls already from January to Sept. 26. The fire department averages from 30 to 40 calls a year, Field said.

Field and Lankey expressed appreciation for the volunteers and the communities that support them.

gboehm@capitalnewspapers.com

847-7341, ext. 225

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