Retired pumper on its way south

Fire truck too old to serve Oak Bay, but not Nicaragua

Oak Bay Fire Chief Gerry Adam stands on the step of the 1984 Thibeault pumper that was actively used by the fire department for 25 years. The department has donated the truck to a fire brigade in Nicaragua.

For 25 years it helped protect the people and property of Oak Bay, but soon Engine 45 will be roaming the streets in Nicaragua.

A 1984 Thibeault fire truck, purchased for $108,000 and taken out of commission in 2009 – insurance criteria prohibit fire vehicles that old from active use – may last another couple of decades in the Central American country.

“It’s 25 years old, but it’s in great shape. The truck doesn’t have a lot of miles on it,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Gerry Adam.

“My fear was (someone would) buy it and strip it and it would no longer be a fire truck. That (would be) disrespectful. I wanted (to find) someone who wanted the fire truck, but didn’t have to worry about the insurance.”

When Adam heard about the opportunity to send the truck to a place where firefighters scramble to secure appropriate equipment, he was happy to facilitate transport of the triple-combination pumper, which carries water, has a ladder and a high-pressure hose.

“It feels tremendous to help a fellow firefighter. It is a brotherhood across the world,” he said.

“I travel a lot and you run into firefighters and it is an instant recognition and acknowledgment. It is a real close-knit group of men and women.”

The fire truck was scheduled to make its way to Burnaby yesterday before being loaded onto a container ship headed to Nicaragua in November.

The truck is expected to arrive in Esteli, Nicaragua in December.

editor@oakbaynews.com

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