Firefighters forced to modify tradition due to COVID-19 pandemic

Firefighters Michael Poole (from left), Captain Bryan Erwin, Bryan McNeil and Josh Pettigrew get acquainted with Colwood Fire Rescue’s new engine. See story on page A5. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
Firefighters Bryan McNeil (from right), Michael Poole, Josh Pettigrew and Captain Bryan Erwin get acquainted with Colwood Fire Rescue’s new engine. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
Captain Bryan Erwin (from left) along with firefighters Josh Pettigrew, Michael Poole and Bryan McNeil get acquainted with Colwood Fire Rescue’s new engine. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)

A silver lining for Colwood firefighters working around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived.

Colwood Fire Rescue received a new fire truck last week but it couldn’t be met with the usual fanfare. Traditionally, when a new truck arrives at the hall, all the firefighters in the department gather and push the apparatus into the hall. But with COVID-19 restriction, that wasn’t possible when the truck arrived on May 13.

Instead, the department had to modify its tradition and members greeted the new truck in shifts while observing physical distancing. But that didn’t diminish the excitement.

“This project was 15 months in the making,” explained Assistant Fire Chief Greg Chow, noting Colwood council approved the purchase in early 2019. “It’s a long-awaited replacement, in the past few years we’ve seen some breakdowns in the truck it’s replacing.”

ALSO READ: Colwood to consider satellite fire hall in Royal Bay

The 2020 Spartan HUB fire engine can pump 1,750 gallons per minute, holds 500 gallons of water, and offers the latest in interior crew protection with a complement of fire rescue tools.

It replaces the old Engine 51, a 1995 Spartan Gladiator. Chow noted pumper trucks have a 20-year lifespan with an additional five-year reserve before their ratings are no longer valid.

This replacement was required so the department can ensure it meets today’s requirements as well as future needs.

The newest addition will also help reduce training hours, noted Chow.

All firefighters in the department are trained on the different trucks – how to use them properly and where equipment is stored. Since the layout, controls and other features of this truck are similar to another in the fleet, it will save training hours that can be utilized elsewhere.

He expects the new engine will be in service within four weeks once some equipment has been mounted and crews have been fully trained.

It joins a fleet that includes Tower 57 (a 2015 Rosenbauer T-Rex 115-foot articulating platform truck), Engine 52 (a 2012 Spartan Metro Star), Rescue 56 (a 2002 Spartan Metro Star), and a 2008 tanker engine.

The purchase came in under budget with a price tag of approximately $980,000 before tax.

ALSO READ: Colwood firefighters set to soar to new heights

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Colwood Fire Rescue

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