The Kitimat Fire Department’s long out-of-service vehicle, Unit 21301, has now physically left town.
The Sentinel reported in October 2012 that the fire truck was being donated to Firefighters Without Borders Canada for a trip to Peru where it would make a welcome addition to one of the many under-supplied fire departments in that area.
As of June 21, that fire truck was on the road, packed with various supplies provided by the Kitamaat Village Fire Department and the Terrace Fire Department.
Picking up the truck was Bob Dubbert, who is the president and director of apparatus and equipment for Firefighters Without Borders Canada.
He said by July 17 the fire truck, and all the equipment that was going with it, would arrive in Peru.
There are three trucks going down, one from Kitimat and two from Smithers. There’s also a 14-foot storage trailer heading down with it.
Dubbert said that while the equipment might not pass British Columbia’s standards, it will still work great for those South American fire departments, who will repair the equipment and put on a new coat of paint.
“This is a great alternative,” he said of throwing out old equipment.
He said helmets, for example, would have to be thrown out after an expiration date here in Canada, even if it was brand new and out of the box.
Insurance won’t even cover vehicles after a certain point as well.
Kitimat’s fire chief Trent Bossence said that it was about seven or eight years ago when the firetruck they’re sending was taken out of regular service and put into their training grounds. But even for the past four years it hasn’t been used at all, due to liability.
Regardless of the local regulations, the truck is still in driveable shape and the pump does still work, although it will need some repair. But that will all take place and he said he expects to see a photo of it in the near future, all fixed up and re-painted.
He said it’s bittersweet to see the truck leave Kitimat after it has been with the department for so long, but he’s happy that it will have a second life.
“We know it’s not going to a landfill…it’s actually going to get used some more,” he said.
The truck is a 1978 Ford L9000.
After leaving Kitimat, Dubbert was going to meet more volunteers in Beaverly, near Prince George, and he would connect with the two other trucks from Smithers.
All the trucks and equipment will eventually be shipped out from Vancouver.