By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Town of Morinville rolled out the red ribbon Thursday night to officially launch the Morinville Fire Department’s new $850,000 rescue unit.
The Pierce Quantum Heavy Rescue Truck arrived at the Morinville Fire Department Aug. 22 and was ceremonial put into service by the department’s firefighters, who have been training on the truck for the past two weeks ahead of Thursday night’s public launch.
The bulk of the $850,000 cost was covered by the province through the Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program. The unit replaces the Morinville Fire Department’s aging 1993 Unit 5 model, which was used in 90 per cent of the department’s calls. Unit 5 responded to as many as 325 calls per year and generated $74,010 in revenues in 2011, monies made up of outside the community call charges paid by Sturgeon County and the province. Conservative estimates of $50,000 per year in billing would see the new unit paid for on a cost recovery basis over its two-decade life expectancy.
Thursday night’s ribbon cutting included speeches from MLA Maureen Kubinec, Fire Chief Ron Cust, and in the absence of Mayor Gordon Boddez, Deputy Mayor Lisa Holmes. Each expressed their gratitude to the province for funding and to the men and women of the Morinville Fire Department.
“I’ve got a great crew of 59-some firefighters who make the job look easy,” Cust said during his speech. “Now I know they’ve got the right equipment to do the job.”
Fire Chief Cust praised the three firefighters who worked on the specifics for the new unit and commended them for taking 10 days of their holidays to travel to the plant at varius stages of production to make sure everything was going according to plan.
Cust said the new truck holds six firefighters, roughly half the number that attend the average call. In addition to more space, the new unit has airbags capable of lifting a tractor trailer unit, a light pole that can illuminate an entire emergency response scene, Hazmat first responder gear, and additional generators to allow the use of multiple pieces of hydraulic rescue gear.