“We got ‘er boys, we got ‘er!”

“Awe­some day for Har­bour Grace”

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY BILL BOW­MAN

“An awe­some day for Har­bour Grace.”

That’s how Fire Chief Ray Verge de­scribed last Wed­nes­day, July 6, af­ter hear­ing Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Kevin O’Brien con­firmed the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment will pump $250,000 into the town for a new fire truck for the prov­ince’s old­est vol­un­teer fire brigade.

Mim­ick­ing for­mer premier Danny Wil­liams’ tri­umphant chant at the air­port af­ter re­turn­ing from Ot­tawa with $2 bil­lion, Chief Verge shouted: “ We got ‘er, boys, we got ‘er!”

Verge told The Com­pass af­ter the an­nounce­ment the new res­cue pumper will re­place two aging vehi- cles — a 26-year old equip­ment van, and a 29-year-old sec­ond-run pumper.

The chief ex­plained the new ve­hi­cle will ac­tu­ally be a com­bi­na­tion of three ve­hi­cles, with res­cue, equip­ment stor­age and pumper fea­tures.

For­mer chief Paul Snow sat on a com­mit­tee, which rep­re­sented the brigade in ne­go­ti­a­tions with gov­ern­ment for the new ve­hi­cle. Snow de­scribed the new ve­hi­cle as “a full­func­tion truck, with all the res­cue equip­ment on it. She’s the one we’ll use when we go to road ac­ci­dents, high an­gle or cold­wa­ter res­cues, ev­ery­thing. It’s also go­ing to be able to fight fires.”

Har­bour Grace is the only vol­un­teer fire brigade on the Avalon out­side the cap­i­tal city trained and equipped to han­dle high-an­gle and cold­wa­ter res­cue calls. They also use their ve­hi­cle ex­tri­ca­tion equip­ment ( jaws of life) to re­spond to ac­ci­dent scenes be­tween Spa­niard’s Bay and North­ern Bay.

“ You pre­sented your case well,” O’Brien told fire­fight­ers who gath­ered at the brigade’s so­cial build­ing for the an­nounce­ment.

O’Brien was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by the fact that the new ve­hi­cle will serve not only Har­bour Grace, but Con­cep­tion Bay North as a re­gion.

The min­is­ter said the bud­get for new fire­fight­ing equip­ment has been in­creased this year by $2.2 mil­lion, up to $3.9 mil­lion.

The new ve­hi­cle for Har­bour Grace is one of 22 be­ing pur­chased for vol­un­teer fire de­part­ments around the prov­ince this year.

“ We also had a mil­lion dol­lars ear­marked for equip­ment such as bunker gear and breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus, giv­ing a $ 4.9 mil­lion to­tal,” O’Brien said.

“ We’ll ad­dress about a quar­ter of the needs (93 re­quests) this year, and then we’ll look at next year to see what we can do across the prov­ince,” the min­is­ter said.

Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy com­mended the brigade for the work they do and the vi­tal role they play in fight­ing fires and keep­ing cit­i­zens safe.

Mayor Don Coombs said all the fire brigade ever asks of coun­cil is to help them get the best of equip­ment.

“ They’re al­ways very pro­fes­sional in what they do and how they present things to coun­cil,” he noted.

Chief Verge said he ex­pects to see the new truck ar­riv­ing in Har­bour Grace at the end of this year, or early in 2012.

Photo by Bill Bow­man/the Com­pass

Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Kevin O’Brien (left), Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy, and Har­bour Grace Fire Chief Ray Verge (right) were on hand last Wed­nes­day for an an­nounce­ment that the prov­ince will spend $250,000 on a new fire truck for the town’s vol­un­teer fire brigade.

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