HANCOCK, Md. (WDVM) — A half-million-dollar federal grant is helping firefighters in Hancock, Maryland serve rural communities in Washington County and neighboring communities.

The money from the USDA rural development fund gives the department an advantage in serving rural communities since a new tanker can carry 800 more gallons of water. That can make a life-or-death difference in outlying areas where there are no easily accessible water sources from hydrants. The tanker the department plans to retire is worn from rusting and rotted wheel-wells.

“It’ll carry more water to a fire in rural areas not only serving Hancock but also local communities and states such as Berkeley Springs, Needmore and surrounding areas, Clear Spring as well,” Ben Breeze with the Hancock Fire Company said.

The new tanker is expected to serve the department for another 20 years.