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After five years, the Britt Fire Department has a new chassis.

It replaces the 33-year-old loaner chassis from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“Britt Fire Association has raised the money through various grants, private donations, memorials, soup suppers, RAGBRAI, Thanksgiving Bash and in kind work from local businesses and from the firefighters,” fire chief Jon Swenson said.

The three biggest grants came from the Hancock County Foundation, Ley Foundation and MaxYield Co-Op, according to Swenson.

The old chassis, a 1986 Chevrolet loaner from the Iowa DNR, will be replaced by the new 2019 Ford 550 chassis and sent back to the DNR.

“We’re upgrading a little bit,” Swenson said.

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Swenson said the fire department has been working to collect the money for the past five years, all without using tax dollars.

The new chassis has a four-door cab, an upgrade from the two-door Chevy, and will have a few more accessories, such as a remote nozzle attached to the front of the chassis that they can control from inside the cab for a ditch or cornfield fire, attached to it when they’re done moving all the equipment to the new chassis. Additionally, they will be getting some new boxes to hold more equipment since the new chassis is more heavy-duty than the old one.

“It should last another 30 years, we’re hoping, for people to come,” Swenson said.

Swenson said the chassis is the first vehicle sent out from the Britt Fire Department for every call they get, so it needs to be reliable.

“Having something that maybe, I’m not going to say more reliable, but more reliable, more usable,” he said. “Not that anything’s wrong with [the old chassis], but it is starting to show its age, and things are starting to show up on it that need repairs.”

According to Swenson, the retail price for the Ford 550 itself was $52,000, though the department was able to get it for only $44,000, from discounts through the Ford Motor company and a couple state grants, plus the $15,000 for the accessories and refurbishing.

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