GLENBURNIE-BIRCHY HEAD-SHOAL BROOK — A 32-year-old fire truck has been donated to this region’s emergency services and the local fire chief couldn’t be happier.
A 1980 International Fire Truck, which was called Pumper No. 8 by the Goderich Fire Department in western Ontario, was donated recently to the Southside Fire Department after a donation request from Woody Point Mayor Ken Thomas and Southside Fire Department Chief Jim Burden.
He said the truck arrived late last week and should be in service within another week after inspections.
“We’re just thrilled, there are a lot of guys here (in the fire department) who can’t wait to drive it,” he said.
Burden figures the addition of the truck will increase his department’s firefighting abilities by about 90 per cent. The department has never had a pumper before, he said, and everyone in the community will benefit.
“This will make it a lot easier for us to do our jobs,” said Burden, who has been the fire chief for 10 years.
Burden said a recent fire in the Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook area that destroyed two old houses might have been better tended by his firefighters if they had the newly donated truck.
“The new one holds more water and distributes it much better,” he said. “I think this whole area will be better off.”
The Southside Fire Department services an area of approximately 40 square-kilometres with 26 volunteers. Burden said up until now the most the community has had in terms of a fire truck is a five-tonne truck with a tank on the back.
Goderich fire Chief Steve Gardiner said even though the truck is 32 years old it was in use right up until the day his fire department donated it. The residual value on the vehicle is approximately $2,000, which Gardiner said meant it was not worth it for them to auction it off, or even to make it a tax write-off for the Town of Goderich, compared to donating it.
Gardiner said the recent purchase of a new truck meant this vehicle was no longer of use, and normally in such a circumstance the department would put it in a sale or auction.
“If we had done that, the truck would have probably ended up sitting around and rusting away because eventually the novelty of owning such a vehicle wears off when expenses start to mount,” said Gardiner said from Goderich. “So we were quite open to the idea and we’re glad to see the vehicle is still in use and that it can help.”
The truck served as a front-line pumper in Goderich up until 1999, when it became a backup after the purchase of a new truck. The Goderich Fire Department purchased a new truck three months ago, which replaced the backup, freeing it up for donation.