Fire fleet upgrade to boost speed

A new addition to the Vanderhoof Fire Department's truck fleet will raise productivity, says acting fire chief.

The old bush truck in the Vanderhoof fleet.

The old bush truck in the Vanderhoof fleet.

The Vanderhoof Fire Department will soon enhance the quality of their services thanks to the District of Vanderhoof (DOV).

“[The bush truck we have now is old, it’s rusting out and it’s unreliable. The tank leaks and it’s practically an antique. Every time you use it some little thing goes wrong,” said Ian Lesley, acting fire chief.

The Vanderhoof Fire Rescue team currently owns a 1973 Ford 1-ton used to carry water and personnel into isolated areas.

The truck is older than city councillor Kevin Moutray, as he pointed out at Monday’s council meeting. Within that discussion the council carried a motion to reallocate $36,760 from the Roads Capital (paving) budget to the Vanderhoof Fire Department budget for the purchase of a new 2014 Ford F550 Crew Cab bush truck with customized skid mount.

“The one we have now is old and it only sits two people so it’s not good when we need backup. Right now it’s packed up for the winter but the new truck will be used all year around,” said Mr. Lesley. At the time of purchase, the old Ford was already a hand-me-down from the Ministry of Forest.

Once the DOV bought it, volunteers scrounged up spare parts, gave it a proper paint job, threw in some mechanical work, and eventually reconditioned it into a truck we could use, said Ian Lesley, acting fire chief.

“But we’ve needed a new one for some time now, to safely transport fire fighters and carry water into the bush to places we can’t get our bigger trucks,” said Mr. Lesley. There are currently seven trucks in the Vanderhoof fire-rescue fleet including the chiefs truck.

The new truck is expected to arrive in early spring and then the old one will be put up for public auction. “There has been some interest to restore it but as a fire vehicle it is fully unreliable,” said Mr. Lesley.