Busy year for brigade
Carbonear fire department holds 39th firefighters’ ball
It’s been a busy 12 months for the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to 80 calls for service over the past year.
But it was during Hurricane Igor in September that the brigage was at it busiest, Chief Ed Kavanagh reported during the 39th firefighter’ ball on Oct. 9.
More than 200 firefighters and guests turned out at the Knights of Columbus in Carbonear for the event.
Kavanagh noted that there were13 calls for aid during the storm, mostly from homeowners in with flooded basements. The department also received six calls during the storm that were passed on to Newfoundland Power.
He was especially pleased to note that it was a fatality-free year. “ That’s the main thing,” Kavanagh said. The single largest number of calls —24 — were false alarms, a statistic which Kavanagh found “alarming in itself.”
Firefighters responded to seven motor vehicle accidents; seven brush/ grass fires; six chimney fires; four structural fires; three gas/ propane leaks; and two each of dumpster fires, no permit fires, propane fires and medical emergencies.
This year’s ball came at the end of a busy Fire Prevention Week, with various activities including visits to local schools, displays, colouring contests and what Kavanagh described as, “an exceptional open house at the fire hall, which attracted between 400 and 500 children and their parents.”
The chief suggested the time put into events like Fire Prevention Week “shows the true dedication of volunteer fire-fighters and makes me proud to be part of the volunteer fire department.”
The fire department will soon have a new addition to its fleet of firefighting equipment. In August, the provincial government announced funding approval to purchase a new quint (quintuple combination pumper) truck.
The vehicle will replace two older models — a 1976 American LeFrance aerial ladder truck, which has been out of service for several years, and the department’s No. 2 pumper, which has also outlived its usefulness.
Kavanagh described the new vehicle as “one awesome truck.” He noted five former fire chiefs have been lobbying to replace the older equipment over the past 16 years.
“ We didn’t have an ace up our sleeve, we had an MHA up our sleeve,” Kavanagh quipped.
For his part, Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy recalled it was not long after being elected that he first learned about the need for new equipment from former chief Ron Garland.
But it didn’t seem to take a lot of arm-twisting to convince Kennedy of the need for the equipment. The health minister mentioned the eight-story Carbonear General Hospital and new 250-room long-term care facility, which will consist of two four-story buildings, to be built adjacent to the hospital.
“ With all the facilities we have here, we need that truck,” Kennedy said.
Mayor Sam Slade noted the town council is providing $167,000 — 20 per cent — towards the $837,000 total cost of the new truck. The province is responsible for 80 per cent.
Slade pointed out council’s contribution is “in addition to the $81,000 the town provided to the fire department in its annual budget for 2010.”
He said the fire department’s response during Hurricane Igor was “another example of going above and beyond the call of duty.”
He promised council will also be helping the department with financial assistance to replace a floater pump lost during the storm.
During the event, 15-year service medals were presented to Brent Sweeney, Steve Barrett and Derek Ash, while a 10-year service medal went to Frank Pike. Scholarships Dylan Butt accepted the Fred Chubbs Memorial Scholarship from his dad, firefighter Frank Butt.
The $ 200 scholarship goes to the son or daughter of a member of the department who has achieved the highest average in Level III.
Dylan, 18, graduated from Carbonear Collegiate last fall. He is currently doing first-year university courses at the College of the North Atlantic. His ambition is to become an engineer.
The Clifford Pike Memorial Scholarship for highest mark in Level III Literature went to Jack Kavanagh, son of Ed and Donna Kavanagh.
The president of the ladies’ auxiliary, Diane Barrett, presented the chief with a $500 donation on behalf of her group.
Active members of the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department on hand for the 39th firefighters’ ball were: Front (l-r) —Fred Baldwin, Glenn Trickett, Claude Garland, Lieutenant Ned Mercer, First Assistant Chief Steve Burden, Chief Ed Kavanagh, Second Assistant Chief Keith Thomas, Captain Don Earle, Lt. John Crawford, Kerry Noel, and Kenneth Thomas; back — Steve Barrett, Adam Earle, Frank Butt, Alvin Wareham, Jason Hogan, Brent Sweeney, Tim Parker,secretaryRichard Rossiter, Chris Dowden,treasurerColin Clarke, Dennis Ash Jr., Darren Sheppard, Edward Wrice, Scott Mullins, Cory Mahaney, Tom Crawford, Ron Garland and Michael King.
Dylan Butt accepts the Fred Chubbs Memorial Scholarship from his dad, firefighter Frank Butt.