Central Huron's Fire Truck Donated...
Posted by Steve Cooke on February 29, 2012
Greg Chagnon, Central Huron Fire Department’s Engineer asked me what we were going to do with our old truck now that the new pumper was in service? At thAT point we had not given it a lot of thought. In the past we have just put the word out that it was for sale and waited for offers. Greg explained that his father vacations in Newfoundland and a lot of communities there operate a fire department with little more than a pick up truck and a portable pump. The idea of donating it to a needy community was born.
The first step was to approach Council and ask for permission to donate the truck if we could find a good home for it. I was elated when I got unanimous approval to do just that.
The search for a suitable recipient had just got started when I received a phone call from Richard May, the Mayor of Bird Cove. He had heard about the offer on CBC in Newfoundland and was interested.
Apparently, about 30 year4s ago, Bird Cove was a thriving little community and established a fire department to protect their residents as well as the people in Brig Bay, Plum Point, Blue Cove and Pond Cove. As history shows, that time period of relative prosperity for these fishing villages shortly started to decline with the diminishing cod fish population. I am sure the cancelling of the seal hunt was also a major factor, both in immediate economic benefit and the resulting impact on the Atlantic cod population. The fire department continued to operate, but there were no funds to keep the equipment upgraded and it slowly degenerated. According to Chief Coombs they are now operating with a single portable pump and very little other equipment. Everyone in the communities involved are actively fund raising for new equipment, but there is only so much they can do.
The trickle down effect of essentially not having an effective fire department, aside form protecting their residents, is that mortgage companies will not lend money for properties that cannot get fire insurance and insurance companies are reluctant to lend money when there is no credited fire department in place to protect that investment. A real life “Catch 22”.
The total population for these five communities was listed at 846 people in the 1996 census. I have been informed that a figure of 680 people would be more accurate today. As you can see, there is not much of a tax base there to get funds for anything, much less build a fire department from the ground up.
It was now a done deal. Bird Cove would get the truck, but we still had to make sure it was fully operational and get it out to them. That was when the fun began. Media attention had brought this initiative to the surface and suddenly there were offers coming from all directions.
Everything came together and a little over a month after initial contact was made, the truck started it journey to Newfoundland.
On Thursday, February16 the Bird Cove-Pond Cove truck left Clinton and was driven to Tavistock for the first leg of its journey to Bird Cove Newfoundland. From there it rode on a float to Moncton New Brunswick compliments of Sommers Motor Generator Sales Ltd. Chris McGregor, General Manager for Sommers offered to piggy back it on a load with a large generator destined for PEI. This generous offer made it a lot easier on both the truck and the two Bird Cove-Pond Cove firefighters who picked it up in Moncton for the remainder of the drive to its new home.
The truck wore its new logo (see above) which was designed and was donated by Artech Signs & Graphics in Seaforth. The logo incorporates a stone effigy of a bear which was unearthed in an archaeology dig near Pond Cove and represents the indigenous population of the area before settlement.
Two firefighters were be flown to Monckton New Brunswick thanks to an anonymous donor who has offered to purchase their plane tickets to get them to the truck.
Darch Fire from Ayr Ontario, the distributor for Pierce Fire Trucks replaced one valve and rebuilt two others that needed attention. They adjusted the packing in the main pump and pronounced it good to go for quite a while yet. Carter’s West End Garage in Clinton went over it with a fine toothed comb and fully serviced it for the trip. One again, this work was done free of charge.
On of the main concerns I had with the truck was how the body would stand up once it was exposed to that sea air. There is minimal rust on the vehicle but it is thirty years old and the combination of salt and water could affect it quite severely. Dean Smith of Huron Transmission and Krown stepped up to the plate and gave it thorough rust proofing with Krown, a proven rust inhibitor. This treatment should extend the truck’s life by years.
The truck was loaded up with equipment that has come from a variety of sources. Bunker Gear from Clinton, Brussels and Seaforth Fire Departments, boots gloves and helmets from South Huron Fire Department and SCBA from Bluewater Fire Department. Another anonymous fire equipment supplier had six large cartons of gear and equipment delivered to our fire hall to go on the truck as well.
Tiesma Industrial Coverings Inc. of Clinton designed and built a custom tarp that will protect the equipment loaded into the hose bed of the pumper for the trip. The tarp will continue to provide added protection to the fire hose loaded on the truck for the life of the vehicle.
And, the generosity hasn’t stopped there.
William Menzel and Debbie Carroll have sent in a cheque for to help defray the cost for fuel to get the truck home. Madelon Yeats and ABATE also contributed towards fuel.
The County of Huron has passed a resolution to donate $200.00 towards fuel costs and asked the lower tier municipalities in the County to do the same. To date Huron East has sent their cheque.
Other local merchants like Clinton Radar and Langford Lumber have helped in small ways with product.
From Truro it was driven to Sydney, Nova Scotia where it boarded the ferry to Port au Basques Newfoundland. MP Ben Lobb (Huron-Bruce) working with Marine Atlantic Inc. had arranged a free boat ride to get it to the Island. The Bird Cove-Pond Cove firefighters then drove the final lap to its new home. It arrived in Bird Cove about 5:00 pm on Wednesday February 22.
The Mayor of Bird Cove had this to say about the effect the donation is having on their community:
The moral across the five communities which will benefit from our help has soared according to Richard. He said people there can’t believe the generosity being demonstrated by people they don’t even know. What we are doing would have created a huge hardship for the people there to get to the level we are going to bring them to. By basically eliminating acquisition costs so they are only responsible for operational costs is to them almost a miracle they never expected to happen. He said you can see the rise in spirits daily as people go about their normal day to day routines.
I personally would like to send a special thanks to all those whose contributions made this gift possible.
Steve Cooke, Fire Chief
There are no articles currently present.
< May 2013 > Click dates