Recently, the Elk River Fire Department (ERFD) replaced the oldest vehicle in its fleet, 40-year old Tender 1, which began as a donated milk truck tank on a Ford truck chassis.
A tender is an important piece of fire equipment providing water storage capability. Surprisingly, there are homes and businesses in ERFD’s response area of the City of Elk River, Big Lake Township and Otsego that are not connected to city water supply which means that in the event of a fire, crews must bring their own to the scene.
The department’s new Tender 1, a 2019 International Heavy Chassis with an all-poly 3,000 gallon water tank equipped with side and rear dumping capabilities is one of two Tenders utilized by ERFD crews. Tender 2 can hold up 2,000 gallons of water and each responding fire engine has 1,000 gallons of water ready to use upon arrival to a scene without hydrants. This may seem like a lot of water, however when crews are pumping 1,500 gallons per minute fighting a fire it’s Tender 1 and 2 traveling back and forth to the nearest hydrant in order to keep up with the water supply needed for firefighting operations.
In addition to 3,000 gallons of water storage, ERFD’s new Tender 1 has a 500-gallon per minute pump which allows it to initiate fire attack if needed, as well as two pre-connected hose lines and a ladder for rescue operations. Tender 1 was purchased from Midwest Fire in Luverne, Minnesota, and took several months to design and build. It is now in service at Elk River Fire Station #1, located at 415 Jackson Avenue.
The old Tender 1 served Elk River well for years, and will continue in the fire service in a small rural department in Adair County, Kentucky. The tender was sold through an online auction site replacing their truck, which was totaled in an accident.