“We got ‘er boys, we got ‘er!”
“Awesome day for Harbour Grace”
“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.
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.