Bill Stephenson

Restoring a piece of history

Sooke Fire Rescue Service volunteers are rebuilding a 1942 fire truck

Sooke Fire Rescue Service volunteers are currently hard at work restoring one of the department’s first fire trucks for the service’s upcoming centennial celebration.

The department obtained the 1942 International Bickle Seagrave from the Royal Canadian Air Force at the Victoria airport in 1954 for $500.

In 1970, the fire truck was replaced by two brand new fire trucks and sent over to the fire department in Barriere, B.C.

But before the truck was driven off into the interior, a “gentleman’s agreement” was made stipulating Sooke would get first dibs on the truck when it was put out of commission.

B.C. and Sooke’s longest standing volunteer firefighter, Bill Stephenson, 81, made the informal contract, which was sealed through a simple handshake.

In October 2011, a Barriere municipal manager called, resulting in the fulfillment of the 41-year-old agreement.

“One of the members there, he was still with it and remembered it,” Stephenson said. “I remembered (the agreement), but I never thought the other guys would remember.”

The cost estimate of the restoration is $25,000 to $30,000. So far, the fire department has gathered approximately $10,000 in funds, $7,100 of which was recently supplied by a District of Sooke community grant.

The truck, which is currently in pieces, will be repainted red, and parts of the interior rebuilt. All the labour is being done by volunteers, who have dedicated 350 hours in recent months.

For the 100th anniversary, the department is currently brainstorming ideas like a festival and parade, where the refurbished, antiquated truck will be driven down the street.

In the future, the truck will be used to support community-oriented events.

“It’ll be used for parades, community events, and fundraising,” said Fire Chief Steven Sorensen, adding he hopes one day there will be some type of museum to house the truck and other historical items relating to the Sooke fire department.

But for the time being, the focus will be on the task-at-hand. The fire department is currently fundraising for the truck’s restoration. Donors of shares in $20 amounts will be given certificates of appreciation.

Anyone interested in making donations of money or time can contact the fire department at: 250-642-5422, ssorensen@sooke.ca or firechaplain@shaw.ca

Just Posted

High speed internet coming to remote CRD areas

Ottawa to invest $34 million to build 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre optic cable in B.C.

Affordable housing organization seeks to build in Sooke

Habitat for Humanity hopes to build cluster of townhouses at 2008 Murray Road

Council re-tenders Murray Road staircase project

Project could be delayed months

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

Whooping cough detected in Claremont student

15 Greater Victoria schools have been informed of a student with pertussis since September

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read