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New fire engine arrives at Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue

The replacement truck arrived in Trail last week
A new main engine has arrived at the regional fire department. This truck replaces the one that was written off due to sulphuric acid contamination. Photo: @Chief Derby

A new workhorse is ready for action at the regional fire department.

After the main engine, valued at $789,000, was lost to sulfuric acid contamination last year, the team from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue had to do a some re-shuffling of trucks until a replacement unit arrived.

Previous: Acid spill wipes out $789,000 RDKB fire truck

That replacement truck arrived in Trail last week, and members were immediately trained in its use by the builder, Hub Fire Engines.

“When we lost our last new engine in the summer of 2018 to an acid spill on Highway 22, we received a fair payout from ICBC,” says Fire Chief Dan Derby. “We knew the only upside to that unfortunate event was that we had an opportunity to tweak some aspects of this new engine.”

The new model has an engine with increased horsepower, and one of the tweaks was to improve access to the first responder equipment.

“And the hose bed of the truck has been changed to allow safer access for firefighters,” Derby said.

As well, the team was able to salvage the generator from the old truck and reuse all the shelving and the tool mounting brackets.

“We respond to fires and other emergencies across the service area from the Trail station and this truck is the workhorse of our fleet,” said Derby.

“The new engine meets the needs of the service and increases safety for our fire fighters, which is a major improvement.”

The HUB fire engine holds 800 imperial gallons of water and is rated to pump 1500 gallons per minute.

A new safety feature is a recessed hose bed on top of the truck that includes a walkway and safe handholds for fire fighters when they are loading hose or moving equipment.

The previous engine required fire fighters to climb directly on top of the hose area and anchor themselves for safety.

The truck also includes mobile computer-aided dispatch. This is a direct communications link from the truck to emergency dispatchers in Kelowna.

When the engine is in operation, dispatch can send updates to a screen in the truck so crews can communicate with dispatch through the dispatch system and by voice through radio channels.

The system also allows firefighters to access numerous maps showing hazards and other important information related to the emergency site or access routes.

“I am pleased to see the new engine here and already in use by Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue because this important piece of equipment allows our highly trained fire fighters to do their job to the best of their abilities,” said Ali Grieve, chair of the East End Services Committee.

“A new truck supports the level of professional, timely emergency services our communities need and expect.”

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue Service is a regional fire service with six fire halls: Station 371 Rossland, Station 372 Warfield, Station 373 Genelle, Station 374 Trail, Station 375 Montrose, and Station 376 Fruitvale.

The six stations provide overlapping coverage for a large fire protection area, protecting about 20,000 residents.

In 2018, the fire department responded to 1,548 calls averaging a call for service once every five hours within the communities they protect.

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Sheri Regnier

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