Car­bon­ear to get new fire truck

Ap­pa­ra­tus will re­place ob­so­lete aerial lad­der and ag­ing pumper

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS

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.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

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.

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