Cavendish firefighters get aid from Ontario department
The Cavendish Volunteer Fire department has a shiny red fire truck to add to its fire-fighting arsenal.
And the 1984 King Seagrave 850-gallon pumper is already paid for.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Cavendish Fire Chief Neil Critch. “And we don’t owe a cent on her.”
Up until its arrival, the department was using an old 1975 GMC truck and a portable pump to fight fires.
“A more modern truck will allow us to have immediate access to water when we arrive at a fire scene,” adds Critch. “Being able to carry such a large quantity of water at all times will increase our fire protection capability enabling us to better serve the public.”
The vehicle, which cost the department just $611, arrived at the fire hall early January from a fire department in Stoneville, Ontario.
The Cavendish department credits one of its members, Stan Uens originally from Belleville Ontario, with making all the arrangements. Uens, a former professional fireman, and his wife Loretta, a native of Cavendish, moved to the community after he retired in 1997.
Seeing the need for better equipment in the department, Uens contacted a few fire departments in Ontario.
“He became the liaison between our department and several departments on the mainland,” says Jeff Jackson, first fire captain. “Whatever we needed he went looking for and usually got it.”
“Almost everything we have here in this building in the way of equipment such as bunker suits, boots and breathing apparatus he got for us,” adds Critch. “In fact he once bought 60 pairs of fire fighting boots for $30 and it cost him $250 to have them shipped here.”
Any extra equipment is handed over to other fire departments (local and provincial) in need.
While on holiday in Ontario in 2007, Uens heard the Stoneville Fire Department was going to auction off their pumper
“The going rate for a fire truck like this one, in the shape that she is in, is about $25,000,” said Jackson.
While the department was desperate for a truck,$25,000 was a lot of money. Fortunately Uens had a bit of inside help - his son Richard is a volunteer with the Stoneville Department. Before long he had the ear of Stoneville Fire Chief Ken Kent and when the pumper went up on auction in October 2008 the Cavendish Fire Department submitted a bid of $2,500. Then they waited anxiously for the bids to close.
“As soon as the bids closed we knew she was ours. Stan was instrumental in helping us, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have her.”
The ink wasn’t dry on the contact before members of the Cavendish Fire Department, along with Joy Dobbie, chair of the community’s local service district, were calling the Fire Commissioners Office and Trinity Bay-de Verde MHA Charlene Johnson, looking for funding.
“We were going to buy her no matter what, but a bit of finan- cial support would have made it a lot easier on us,” says Critch.
Although the Fire Commissioner’s Office is not in the practice of approving applications for financing a used fire-fighting vehicle, the Stoneville pumper was in such a good shape, they couldn’t refuse.
“Charlene (Johnson) called us sometime early January and said it was approved,” says Jackson. “We were extremely pleased.”
Funding for the $2,500 for the truck (plus an additional $2,700 in shipping fees) was granted through a 90/10 cost shared program with the Department of Municipal Affairs. The $611 the Cavendish Fire Department had to come up with has been long paid and forgotten about.
“She’s paid for,” says Jackson. “Having this truck not only allows us to increase our fire-fighting service, but it also helps increase morale amongst the firemen. The work they do is invaluable.”
The Cavendish Volunteer Fire Department, formed in 1967, plays a significant role in the community. The 29 members provide a valuable community service and are always there to lend a hand with public events and functions. Although the department doesn’t have a large business base to draw on for financial support, over the years thousands of dollars has been raised to cover the cost of equipment.
“The community of Cavendish is behind us 100 per cent in everything we do,” says Critch. “There’s not enough good things we can say to express our heartfelt thanks to the people, organizations and businesses for all they have given and done for us over the years.”
The department meets every Monday night at the fire hall.
“Much of our time is spent training,” says Critch. “A lot of the courses require recertification every so many years. We also have to practise and make sure we are updated on various firefighting exercises.”
The Cavendish Fire Department also offers aid to other fire departments when it is needed.
“And they do the same for us,” says Critch.
The new pumper comes fully equipped with all the bells and whistles and the chief runs through the list with pride.
“She has all the hoses, adapters, nozzles, portable pumps, ladders and fully certified breathing apparatuses needed,” he says. “They (Stoneville Department) even installed a new muffler on her, which cost them $610 and filled the gas tank up with gas before they sent her to us. They really went out of their way to help us. This new truck will service the community of Cavendish for many years to come.”
Members of the Cavendish Volunteer Fire Brigade include: Chief Critch, Asst. Chief Ian Green, Fire Caption Jeff Jackson, 1st Captain Ken Jackson, 2nd Caption Brad Higdon, Richard Bishop, Dean Critch, Geoff Legge, Stan Uens, Gary Pinsent, Justin Cumby, Steven Jackson, Terry Dobbie, Junior Jackson, Rodney Bishop, Terry Jackson, Jason Jerrett, Selwyn Warren, Boyd Jerrett, Tony Critch, Ryan Critch, Jerry Jackson, Bradley Critch, Jerry Fost, Randy Brown, Brian Legge, Mike Crane, Freddie Osbourne, Jeff Jerrett, and Adam Bishop. The volunteer fire brigade can be reached at 5882006.
VIVID COLOURS - The cheery yellow fishing stage and electric colours of sea and sky surrounding a big white berg in Cavendish last week inspired many. Photographer Allison George of Whiteway, graciously submitted this shot.
NEW PUMPER - Members of the Cavendish Volunteer Fire Department proudly display an 850-gallon pumper they bought from the Stoneville Fire Department in Ontario. The vehicle cost the Cavendish Department just $611.