WKFR's New Wheels

Fire Station 32 in Lakeview Heights in West Kelowna debuted a new toy on Thursday, May 10th.  A $950,000 shiny new fire engine.

“Today’s an exciting day for us,” said Fire Chief, Jason Brolund.   “It’s been the result of a long process.  We started back in 2015, trying to get funding to put this new truck into service/replace an old one in our fleet.”

Brolund says trucks are decommissioned every 25 years and money is set aside every year to help fund replacement vehicles.  That’s meant to ensure a good insurance rating, and provide confidence the truck will always be in good running order.  The old truck, a 1994 model, will now be taken out of the West Kelowna Fire Rescue fleet.

The new truck is decked out with lots of new technology which Brolund says will keep firefighters safe and help them work more efficiently.  “The public may be most familiar with the Jaws of Life, for example.  This truck, instead of a complicated system of hydraulic pumps to run those tools, they’re all battery powered.  Just like your latest cordless drill or cordless saw our tools too are becoming battery powered.”

Before the truck was put into service a nod was given to firefighters of the past.  In earlier days of firefighting horse draw carriages were used.  After the horses were stabled the carriage would need to be pushed back into the fire hall by hand, so a ‘pushing in’ ceremony was held today.  Firefighters and members of the public all helped to push the new truck into the hall today, officially readying it for duty.

Also, back in older days of firefighting, when a truck was decommissioned, they would transfer the water from the old truck to the new one, causing water to spill over the top.  Today’s ceremony also paid homage to that process.  The truck was wet down and wiped off before it was pushed into the hall.

The new engine is now ready for 25 years of saving lives, property and land.  Brolund said, “It represents an investment of almost a million dollars.  Not only to benefit the community of Lakeview Heights, but also the whole city.  This truck will go to every call on this half of the city and it will go to many on the other side to support the fire station over there.  This truck is equipped to fight fire in wildland as well.”