By Sterling McGinn

A shiny yellow 2200-gallon tanker truck has just been added to the Columbus Township Fire Department in McMillan.

The vehicle, a 2000 Freightliner, arrived in McMillan on Saturday, March 18. It was purchased from Garfield Township in Clare County, Michigan.

“It has been about a year-long process to purchase the truck,” said Columbus Township Fire Chief Paul Gaberdiel.

The truck cost $70,000 and was afforded through ARPA funds, money from the township’s general fund, and the department’s capital improvement fund.

Garfield Township originally placed two trucks up for sale; Seney Fire Department purchased one of the trucks, and their chief notified Gaberdiel that the other truck would be a good fit for Columbus. It had been the primary vehicle used by Garfield Township.

“We went and looked at the other truck and thought it was a good deal,” Gaberdiel said.

Having only 2000 hours of use from the previous department, Gaberdiel expects Columbus Township to get at least 20 more years out of the vehicle.
“It’s not hardly broke in yet; it is in really good shape,” he said.

The fire truck has a seven-speed transmission and an 8.3-liter Cummins engine. It can pump 500 gallons per minute and can pump from a second tanker if needed.

The primary tanker used by the department will be taken out of service and returned to the DNR, which made the truck available to the department from the Cooperative Forest Program.

“Federal access property comes to the state and can be shared with other fire departments,” he said. Columbus Township has had a fire truck through the Cooperative Forest Program for two or three decades.

“The new truck is set up better with additional pumps and a larger cab and is an upgrade from the 6×6 tanker,” said Gaberdiel.

The truck is equipped with approximately $8,000 worth of extra ladders and other fire apparatuses.

The fire department, which covers Columbus and Lakefield Townships, has a 12-member crew and four fire trucks: two engines and two tankers.

The two tank vehicles will now give the department the capacity of 4200 gallons of water and the pumpers carry 1000 gallons.