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.

She’s ours

“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.

Al­li­son Ge­orge photo

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.

Denise Pike/The Com­pass

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.

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