By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
Magrath’s fire department is finally retiring a 25 year old fire truck purchased second-hand to make room for a shiny new red fire engine.
The newest addition to Magrath’s fleet is equipped with a number of design features which take into consideration rural and urban emergencies. Features on the new firetruck include four-wheel drive, raised bumpers, and the ability to pull 100 feet of hose off the side of the truck to fight grass fires or reach less accessible sites.
Sea Hawk Fire Truck sales force team member, Ron Vanderzwaag, said Magrath’s new addition provides firefighters with, “better ground clearance to be able to go into a field or through a ditch,” and noted the truck features a front bumper monitor which can be controlled with a remote control.
Vanderzwaag said the fire truck accommodates five firefighters, of which four can be SCBA-ready. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)-readiness provides firefighters with essential airway protection.
Fire Chief for the Magrath Fire Department, Cliff Blackwell said he is pleased with the new truck and noted, “it will do both our rural and our urban (jobs). It is built so that we can do fields and grass and structures out in the country as well as work off a hydrant here in town and meet all the needs we have.”
Blackwell said the replacement truck has been a long time coming for the department.
“It has been about a year and a half. It takes a while to decide upon a company.” Ultimately, the department settled on the Acres model offered by Sea Hawk, out of Manitoba. “We figured that they had the vehicle that would meet our needs and I’m very confident that is what we got.”
Blackwell said, “it was time,” to replace the older model noting that under the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) code, fire trucks have a 20 year service life. The new Acres truck will replace one of the department’s older trucks, a 1998 build which was purchased second-hand several years ago.
The newest addition to the department’s fleet came with a $550,000 price tag, and will serve the department’s expansive coverage area in the coming decades.
Blackwell said the department partners with the Del Bonita department and “covers a massive area,”
The Magrath Fire Department is currently staffed by 18 volunteer firefighters.
“They are all trained to the Level 2 of a professional firefighter,” and said the team was able to customize the new fire truck to best serve their needs based on what they experience on the job.
“It’s a complete vehicle,” concluded Blackwell.