Deputy fire chief Nick Ahlefeld, retired fire chief Gerry Rempel and fire chief Sam Lattanzio say goodbye to a Castlegar Fire Department truck that is being donated to a community in Mexico. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

Castlegar Fire Department donates engine to Mexican community

Firefighters Without Borders Canada is delivering CFD Engine No. 3 to San Pedro Pochutla, Mexico.

The Castlegar Fire Department (CFD) said goodbye to Engine No. 3 Monday. The truck was picked up by Firefighters Without Borders Canada (FWBC).

FWBC volunteers Derek Docherty and Brett Romanow will be driving the truck to its new home in San Pedro Pochutla, a community in southern Mexico. The drivers plan to complete the over-5,000-km journey by Sunday, Nov. 5.

Engine No. 3 was recently retired due to Canadian regulations. The 1987 Ford/Anderson served the department well for 30 years.

“I know it is going to a part of Mexico that is going to take full advantage of something like this,” said CFD fire chief Sam Lattanzio. “From what I am told, from what it is replacing, it is a huge step forward for them. It is an awesome feeling to know that it is going to go and serve in an area for another 30 years.”

CFD and Zellstoff Celgar also donated retired equipment including turnout gear, boots, hoses, helmets and a ladder.

“Thank you for doing this, it is going to a community … that there really isn’t a lot there,” said Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff to the FWBC drivers. “Without you guys and your organization, I don’t think this would happen. So on behalf of the city, I would just like to say thank you and good luck on your journey.”

“To me, when an engine retires, it makes sense that it goes somewhere where it has another life,” added Chernoff. “It served the community well. It was an investment years ago but now it is an investment in a community in Mexico that really needs something.”

“We are over the moon with this truck and all of the equipment and all of the hard work you guys have put into this,” said one of the FWBC representatives. “Thanks for taking such good care of it over the years. I don’t think they [the new owners] have any clue what is really coming to them, but when we roll up into town I think they are just going to lose it — I think it is going to be amazing.”

Gerry Rempel spent many years with Engine No. 3 before he retired as fire chief a few months ago.

“I was here when it came to us new 30 years ago,” he said. “This truck has served us well. It has been involved in a lot of our serious fires since 1987.”

In his new role as CFD chaplain, Rempel offered a blessing on the engine, the drivers, Pochutla’s bomberos and the community that will now be its home.

 

Derek Docherty (left) and Brett Romanow (right) of Firefighters Without Borders Canada were in Castlegar to pick up the donation of CFD retired Engine No. 3 and retired equipment from CFD and Zellstoff Celgar. (Castlegar News/Betsy Kline)

Castlegar Fire Department Engine No. 3 is on its way to San Pedro Pochutla, Mexico with Firefighters without Borders Canada. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

Retired fire chief Gerry Rempel saying goodbye and offering a blessing to CFD Engine No. 3. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff (center) handing off retired Castlegar Fire Department Engine No. 3 to Derek Docherty (left) and Brett Romanow (right) of Firefighters Without Borders Canada. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

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