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

Busy Tuesday for BC Ferries passengers

First sailings to and from Swartz Bay sold out

Rain with a high of 16 C for Tuesday

Plus your weekly forecast

Unattended cooking causes fire in Songhees Nation home

Two people treated for injuries, one transported to hospital Monday evening

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Castaway Wanderers men, women advance to B.C. semifinals

Castaway Wanderers men trounce UVic 59-29 in playoffs

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read