Thanks to a generous donation from the military and the Missouri Department of Conservation, the small town of Licking, Missouri now has a new fire truck worth talking about. The customized Freightliner FLD semi tractor is the brainchild of handy man Randy Wilson.
“When we got it, it was a 2002 FLD Freightliner semi tractor donated to the rural fire department by the Missouri Conservation Department,” he said.
The work took six months to complete, from start to finish, and took place at Wilson’s house. Four workers, including Wilson, his brother, Eric Wilson, Bobby Hardy and James McNamee, devoted a total of some 500 man-hours. Wilson estimated his own hours as somewhere between 300 and 400.
“The only thing it lacks at this point,” he said, “is the decals.”
Wilson’s younger brother, Eric, happens to be the Cabool fire chief, and came up to help him do the first thing necessary to the tractor, which was to stretch the frame, he said. The 2,500-gallon tank, which came from the military, is 14 feet long, which meant that the frame had to be stretched to fit it.
“We cut the frame in two,” Wilson said, “added thirty-four inches and took off the fifth wheel. Then we put the driveshaft back in and the air lines, all that.”
The team of four did all the work themselves, including the paint job. Wilson reported that a new tanker, as found on the Internet, would have cost the fire department anywhere from $40-75,000 or more. Instead, the cost for this tanker came up to considerably less, saving the department a huge sum.
The custom Freightliner truck was unveiled to the township at a pancake breakfast on November, 17th. Needless to say, it was a big hit.