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Big White Fire Department receives keys to new, long-awaited ladder truck

Big White firefighters followed a century-long tradition of using human power to push their new ladder truck into its fire station bay.
Big White firefighters followed a century-long tradition of using human power to push their new ladder truck into its fire station bay. Big White Fire Department

A five-year project came to fruition this month for the Big White Fire Department, with the arrival of a new ladder truck.

The fire department says it has been pushing for the ladder truck since 2016, and that it will be key to fighting fires in taller structures if they should occur.

Measuring 78 feet long, the ladder truck has a 500-horsepower diesel engine and can hold 1,136 litres (300 gallons) of water and 114 litres (30 gallons) of fire-retardant foam.

Read more: Coronavirus: Big White community cluster grows another 13 cases; total now 175

Fire crews ceremonially pushed the ladder truck into its own bay, marking a tradition among firefighters that pays homage to horse-drawn steam engines that were hand maneuvered into their stations a century ago.

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“This has been a long time coming and I can’t emphasize enough how pleased our whole department is to see this modern, frontline apparatus in our station ready for deployment,” Big White fire chief Chris Cormack said.

The new ladder truck replaces a 25-year-old fire engine and brings the total Big White Fire Department vehicle count to seven, along with another fire engine, a rescue truck, a bush truck and three support vehicles.

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Cormack also thanked retired fire chief Jamie Svendsen for keeping the project going through his tenure, and Vicki Gee, the local director for Electoral Area E/West Boundary.

“The ladder truck provides the capacity to protect the taller structures that are in place as well as future development,” Gee said.

“I’ve seen the work that’s gone into planning and execution of this purchase and adjustments to the fire hall. I am so thankful to everyone who made this happen.”

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