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New $1-mill fire truck to take city to new heights

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
October 21st, 2015

A more-than-million-dollar acquisition is poised to bring the city to new heights, after city council approved the purchase of a new ladder truck for Castlegar’s fire department.

At its regular meeting Monday night, council heard a litany of reasons why this truck will help drive the city into the future.

“We’ve been looking at it for a couple of years now,” said fire chief Gerry Rempel. “It’s more of a priority now because our other truck has to be retired no later than March of 2017.”

The truck will be custom-made to city specifications, at a cost of $1,019,170US, and will feature a 100-foot ladder and platform that will dramatically enhance the fire department’s abilities.

“Now, our biggest ladder is 40 feet and it takes six members to raise it – we can only go up three stories, which has limited construction and development in the city,” Rempel explained, adding the new ladder can be operated by a single person, reaching as high as eight stories into the air.

“The truck will make ventilation a lot safer – you can work off the platform instead of having to step directly onto the roof of a burning building,” he explained, adding it also can be used for confined space and rope rescues, and below-grade rescues (down embankments and such). It comes with a 2,000-gallon-per-minute pumping capacity, while our current 1987 Ford-Anderson only boasts 1,050 gallons per minute. “It creates a lot of opportunities for the city on a lot of levels.”

As for who gets to drive the department’s cool new ride, Rempel said that, sadly, reporters will not be on the list.

“Our guys will be trained – they’ll need a Class 3 license and certification in operating the vehicle and the ladder,” he said. “There will be quite a bit of training and familiarizing ourselves with it – it’s a lot bigger truck, with a lot more features.”

The truck will take roughly 400 days from when it’s ordered to delivery, so Rempel said he hopes to be able to unveil it in time for Christmas next year.

City councillor Dan Rye said it’s an exciting investment that will usher in a new era for Castlegar, allowing for upward development and construction, safer firefighters and residents, and a significant morale boost for a department that’s primarily volunteer and thus far less expensive to Castlegar taxpayers.

“(The truck) is expensive, but it’s going to last 25 to 30 years, and it’s a good step in moving us forward, into the future,” Rye said.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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