Fire Department gets its million dollar baby

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Current and former firefighters gathered together with local politicians and members of the public at the Morinville Fire Department Saturday afternoon for the arrival of Morinville’s new $1.2 million ladder and pumper truck.

The 2010 Pierce unit features a 100‘ aluminium platform and aerial ladder with a 2,000 gallon-per-minute waterous pump as well as numerous other bells and whistles – figurative and literal – that makes the truck capable of meeting Morinville’s fire and rescue needs for the next few decades.

Deputy Mayor Paul Krauskopf and Chief Ron Cust shared the duty of driving the truck from the industrial park to the fire station where it was pushed into its bay by Morinville’s firefighters in accordance with firefighter tradition.

“Some people are wondering why we would have such a large unit for Morinville,” Senior Captain Herb Pearce told those gathered to greet the new truck. “We do have schools, grain elevators, four-floor complexes and so on.”

Deputy Mayor Paul Krauskopf and Morinville Fire Chief Ron Cust were the first to be taken up in the 100-foot ladder.
Pearce said the new truck will also serve Morinville and Sturgeon County as a front line pump as well. The senior captain said that as of Nov. 6, the day the new truck arrived, the Morinville Fire Department had received 285 calls in 2010 and that the department is averaging between 320 to 340 calls per year in recent years.

Deputy Mayor Paul Krauskopf, who was involved with the Morinville Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter in the 1970s said he was impressed with the new unit.

“We have a top-of-the-line unit, first class, delivered to a first class fire department,” he said.

Councillor David Pattison, who prior to being elected to council served on the steering committee during the new units design and planning stage, was also impressed with the aerial pumper.

“Seeing it today – it’s going forward, that’s what it says,” Pattison said, noting the truck is well placed given the fire department’s 50th anniversary this year and the Town of Morinville’s 100th anniversary next year. “When you look at where we’ve come from; it’s a much needed piece of equipment. Seeing it today, compared to some of the drawings I saw on some of the other things that were done – it’s absolutely incredible. There’s no other word for it.”

Morinville Fire Chief Ron Cust said the strength of the new truck lies in its increased capabilities for fire and rescue and its increased capabilities in keeping Morinville’s firefighters safe.

“It has every indicator to tell you whether a door is open, whether every firefighter’s seat belt is belted,” Cust said, adding the new truck has airbags that protect all occupants in the event of a rollover.

The chief explained that the equipment has built in technology that will shut the things down if, for example, the 100-foot ladder is not being operated with the right percentages or degrees. The unit is also capable of being used as a light tower to illuminate an entire area.

Another important feature of the new truck is its ability to operate below grade.

“We can move it out over an ice surface and actually be able to rescue somebody right off of that,” Cust said, adding the bucket at the end of the ladder is capable of lifting 750 pounds when the ladder is fully extended.

The same bucket will allow firefighters to rappel down to a roof, eliminating the risk of a firefighter falling through a roof into the fire.

St. Jean Baptiste Church and the convent area seen from the top of the new aerial ladder.

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5 Comments

  1. After all the waiting, the truck’s finally here. Congratulations to everybody at the Fire Department! I’m sure it’ll serve you well, just so long as you don’t let Chunky drive it. 😉

  2. I had the privilege of working with Chief Cust, Ken Thiemann, Brian Johnson and Steve Hammond on the specifications for this truck as well as the final inspection at the Pierce factory. It was truly a pleasure to work with this group and very nice to see the pride the Morinville Fire Department takes in it’s apparatus! Thanks for a great video.

  3. I’ve been involved in the fire service for many years and have seen my fair share of new apparatus but this truck is the most beautiful and functional rig that I have ever seen. As a resident of Morinville I congratulate Fire Chief Ron Cust, the Morinville fire Department and all those involved in this project. Great Job, Great Unit!

  4. Excllent coverage of the event Stephan.

    This was an incredible day for our Town and the volunteers on the Fire department. Not only can we meet our needs, we can also meet the fire fighting needs of our regional neighbors.

    Watching the video I ralized that I said our Fire department is celebrating 50 years this year. Since it started in 1950 it is actually 60 proud years of service.

    One of the interesting parts of the Saturday event was watching the firefighters and knowing that we have a safer aerial pumper for them to deal with high rise and steep pitch roof fires. Those firefighters are our neighbors and it is important that they have equipment that offers a safe environment for them to attack fires from.

    Personally, I found the ceremony the Friday evening equally exciting. To think that our Town has been able to provide much needed equipment in parts of the world where fire bucket brigades still exist.

    Kudos to Fire Chief Ron Cust who with his staff worked tirelessly so that we now have an essential piece of fire fighting equipment. Kudos also for their foresight in recognizing that we can provide equipment into developing parts of the world.

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