Good ol’ Unit 21301.
The 1978 Ford L9000 fire truck, today just a training tool at fire department’s grounds off Forest Avenue, will be sent off for good from town, to start a new life as a fire truck in Peru.
The fire truck is being donated via an organization called Firefighters Without Borders (FWB), which provides equipment — from hoses to outfits to, of course, trucks — to countries in South America.
This is the first time that Kitimat’s fire department have participated in the program.
Kitimat Fire Chief Trent Bossence said that he had the idea of donating the truck after a fire chief convention last year. FWB had an information poster up which gave him the details. He was encouraged to pitch in something through conversations with Smithers’ fire chief.
The fire department sought and received an endorsement from Kitimat Council for donation, which means all that’s left is to get the truck to Vancouver.
Initially planning to get it to Prince Rupert, Bossence says now they might have to drive it to Vancouver, where FWB have means to get the truck onto ships.
The truck in question was taken out of service in 2005 and has been with the department for 29 years. It has since been a tool for fire fighters to train on things like hose attachments and uncoiling hoses.
At the Oct. 15 council meeting, Bossence said that the truck has very little re-sale value in Canada.
Wayne Humphrey, a firefighter from Vancouver who was in Kitimat last week and is an active member of FWB, said that the fire departments receiving equipment from Canada are under-supported by their governments.
“They’re very, very limited in what they have,” he said, noting they rely fairly extensively on donated material.
Humphrey has been on a few deployments to El Salvador through the organization and will be in Peru next — that means he’ll likely reconnect with Kitimat’s truck at its destination.
The fire truck will be repaired enough to be in service for its use in Peru.
Bossence said he remembers driving the fire truck back when it was in service and said that having grown up on a farm he was quite at home with it.
“It was a good truck.”