Carbonear to get new fire truck
Apparatus will replace obsolete aerial ladder and aging pumper
Firefighting capabilities in the Carbonear area will improve dramatically next year when the town takes delivery of a new fire service apparatus that will replace two aging and inefficient trucks that have been in service for many years.
The provincial government confirmed last week that the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department was one of 11 in the province to get approval under the Fire Protection Infrastructure Program.
Of the roughly $ 2.8 mil lion approved for new vehicles, nearly one-third of that will be spent on the purchase of a new quintuple combination pumper — better known as a quint — for Carbonear. Municipalities are contributing nearly $370,000 of that amount.
The quint will cost nearly $840,000, with the Town of Carbonear picking up 20 per cent of the cost.
“It’s very good news for the town,” Mayor Sam Slade stated during a council meeting last week.
The truck is called a quint because it has five functions — pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.
Fire Chief Ed Kavanagh said the announcement is long overdue. He said the lobby for a new truck began 15 or 16 years ago, and has been spearheaded by six different fire chiefs.
“ We’re all ecstatic about it,” Kavanagh said, referring to the 40- member brigade.
The town’s current aerial ladder truck — a 1976 model — has been “turned down” repeatedly and is not fit for front-line firefighting duty, Kavanagh stated. He said the truck has become a safety and liability issue.
“I wouldn’t even give it to another fire department because it’s beyond repair, at least in terms of firefighting,” he said.
The department’s No. 2 pumper was brought into service in 1984 and is also at the end of its lifespan, Kavanagh added.
The new quint will replace both trucks.
Kavanagh made special mention of the five previous fire chiefs who also saw the need for a replacement. They are Randy Butt, Fred Earle Jr., Scott Thomas, Tom Crawford and Ron Garland.
Kavanagh credits the current political situation for finally being able to convince the government to allocate the needed funds. He said Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy is a powerful voice in the provincial government, and the town council is solidly behind the initiative.
“He had the power to push things a littler bit further than they could in the past,” Kavanagh said of Kennedy.
He noted that officials in the province’s fire commissioner’s office also saw the need for a new truck.
And with the construction of a new 250-bed long-term care facility set to begin soon, Kavanagh said the announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. The facility will be built on the site of the Carbonear General Hospital. “It all lined up for us,” he said. Kavanagh said the department will finally have an apparatus they can train on and respond to emergencies with confidence and pride.
“At least we’ll know it’s effective and safe,” he said.
A tender is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks, and delivery is expect e d sometime in 2011, Kavanagh said.
Carbonear Fire Chief Ed Kavanagh stands in front of the brigade’s 1976 aerial truck. The truck, along with the No. 2 pumper, will be replaced next year with a new multi-role apparatus, thanks to funding from the provincial and municipal governments.