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Dante receives first new fire truck in 70 years

Thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Dante Fire Department was able to purchase a new fire truck for the first time in 70 years. (Submitted photo)

DANTE — A 14-year dream has finally come true for the Dante Fire Department.

In mid-August, the department received approval for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive a new fire truck.

Nearly three months to the day later, the department picked up its shiny, red engine from Luverne, Minnesota, and it will be put in service in the next week, according to Dante Fire Chief Mike Kotab.

The department has applied for the grant annually for the past 14 years in an effort to replace a truck built and converted into a tanker truck in 1967. The last time the Dante Fire Department received a new fire truck was in 1947, Kotab said.

The former truck will be retired and no longer used by the department.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for a department like ours and we're really happy with the result," Kotab said.

The new, $240,000 truck was built based on specifications set by the department, Kotab said, and was paid for in large part by the grant. But the department did have to fundraise for 5 percent — approximately $12,000 — of the cost, which was a lofty goal, considering the department in the town of fewer than 100 people operates on an approximate $7,000-per-year budget.

But the community rallied and raised more than needed to fund the fire department's portion of funding.

"The community was aware of where we're at and what we need, that's how this came to be," Kotab said. "Everybody was more than happy to help because they know the end result is that they're allowing us to have a better chance to protect their property and other people's property."

The new truck will have added water capacity and will likely decrease the cost of fire insurance for local residents, Kotab said. Additionally, the increased water capacity will make for fewer trips along county roads to retrieve water, reducing wear and tear on the roads, Kotab said.

"It's not just us benefitting here," Kotab said. "Hopefully everybody sees a little bit of benefit."

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