The Taunton Fire Department accepted a check from State Bank of Taunton President Duane Peterson in front of their new rescue truck.

A new rescue truck for Taunton

Just because a town is small doesn't mean it can't have big needs. Taunton's 17-man fire department was desperately in need of an upgrade to its fire and rescue truck for the community of 135 people.

And the City of Taunton agreed and purchased an improved vehicle for its fire department.

“Our old rescue truck was given to us several years ago by the Porter Fire Department when they upgraded,” said longtime Taunton Fire Chief Jim Pesch, who has been a member of the fire department for the past 36 years.

“It was an old bread truck that was converted into a rescue truck. It looked more like an ice cream truck.”

The Taunton Fire Department had been searching for a new vehicle for a long time, but was unable to locate one that would fit under its fire hall doors.

“Our doors are about 10 feet high and we couldn’t find a (rescue truck) that was short enough,” said Pesch. “Our assistant fire chief, Bob Polejewski, had been looking online for a new truck for us.”

Polejewski recently came across a truck the size the Taunton Fire Department needed that was located at Kodiak Emergency Vehicles in Grand Ledge, MI.

“It’s a walk-in truck that was factory-made to be used as a rescue truck,” Pesch explained. “It’s much more up-to-date than what we had before.”

Pesch said the fire department was in dire need of a new rescue truck. “The steering was bad on our old truck,” Pesch said.

“The driver had trouble even keeping it on a gravel road. And that was when he was only going 25 miles an hour. We definitely needed a new one.” The current fire and rescue vehicle, which was purchased for $16,800 by the City of Taunton, is a 1995 International with only 45,000 miles on it.

“And it even clears our fire hall doors by about three inches,” laughed Pesch.

The truck was shipped to Taunton via a semi-trailer truck about three weeks ago by Chad Van Drunan of Van Drunan Trucking of Minneota, who was picking up another load in the Grand Ledge, MI area.

The shipping charges were paid for by the State Bank of Taunton. E&C Graphics of Renville applied the new lettering on the Taunton fire and rescue truck.

The Taunton Fire Department currently has a fleet of three trucks — a 5,000-gallon tanker, a grass rig, and a pumper — to go along with its new fire and rescue truck.

The city also has an ambulance used by the First Responders, which has a crew of four, with three more community members currently in training.

“Not bad for a small town,” Pesch noted about the amount of fire department and rescue workers Taunton has amassed.

Taunton hasn’t had to use its more modern fire and rescue truck to this point.

But if and when the need arises, the driver will be able to get down a gravel road quicker, be able to steer the vehicle with more ease, and it won’t look an ice cream truck coming to the rescue.

Firemen accepting the check include: (Front Row, left to right): Jim Pesch and State Bank of Taunton President Duane Peterson. Second Row: Marshall Giannonatti, Lance Boerboom, Fran Korman, Ben Hines, Ken Pesch, Travis Downing, Rick Pesch, Patrick Petersen. Back Row: Stuart Vick, Josh Brewers, Jeremy Hoseck, Matthew DeVos, Rusty Rhymer, Seth Hasert, Mike Breyfogle and Bob Polejewski.

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