The Cumberland Fire Hall recently underwent $70,000 worth of renovations so the new fire truck can fit inside. The new pumper engine is expected to arrive no later than November 2019. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

New Cumberland fire engine long overdue, says fire chief

The prospect of a new fire hall delayed the order as existing engine bays were too small

Cumberland’s new fire engine will be here within a year, but fire chief Mike Williamson says it’s too long overdue.

At Monday’s council meeting, Cumberland council awarded the contract for the construction, purchase and delivery of the new pumper engine to Fort Gary Fire Trucks in Winnipeg. Williamson says this could have and should have been done a lot sooner, but they were holding off due to the prospect of a new fire hall.

“The reason we didn’t order a new fire truck earlier, we had it in the budget to order several years ago, but we kept waiting for a new fire hall,” he said. “The new fire truck would not fit in this fire hall, but we couldn’t wait any longer for a new fire hall and we had to order a new engine.”

The engine bays at the current fire hall were not big enough, requiring a $70,000 renovation on the front of the building just so the new truck could fit inside. The renovations took two weeks and were completed in November.

“We only have a few inches at the front of the fire truck, like two or three inches to close the door and we’ve only got about four inches of the door height to go in,” said Williamson. “These new fire engines are quite a bit bigger.”

The new engine is expected to arrive no later than November 2019 and will replace the current first line engine which is nearly 25-years-old. According to Williamson, the fire underwriters require first line engines to be no older than 15 years, but they allowed for an extension due to its good mechanical condition and the Village’s circumstances.

Williamson says the fire underwriter’s report determines the Village’s insurance rating. Currently, each municipality in the Valley has a 3A rating and he says Cumberland needs the new truck and a new fire hall to maintain that.

“The fire engine definitely will increase our percentage of that 3A rating,” he said. “One of the things we didn’t score so high in is our engine equipment because it’s old. The fire hall was also mentioned in the audit that the fire bays were not adequate for our equipment.”

The total cost of the pumper engine is $501,869, which is within the approved budget of $537,000. The bigger truck will allow crews to go out onto the highways to do extrications and is specially designed to handle firefighting and rescue tools.

“It’s much safer for our guys with a big engine like that rather than a small rescue truck. We’ve been looking forward to this truck for several years and planning it and it’s just a relief off our minds that it’s going to actually come.”

Williamson says their second engine will also need to be replaced in five years. In the meantime, he is working to bring the new fire hall to life.

RELATED: Additional funds allocated to over-budget Cumberland fire hall design


jolene.rudisuela@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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