The Sooke Fire Department is getting some hot new wheels.
“Our current water tender is coming towards the end of its service life; it has some fractures in the aluminum, and the water tank is 35 years old and has some leaks. It is the least safe vehicle we have, but it carries the heaviest load,” said Sooke Fire chief Kenn Mount, adding that the water tender is used often, as it goes to every wildfire and structure fire in the area.
Sooke council granted the fire department a loan of $425,000 to buy the new water tender, which must be repaid within five years.
Mount expects the new truck to be here by the end of the year, but it depends on how long the vehicle takes to build.
The vehicle chassis, which is essentially the frame of the vehicle, has been chosen and sent to Winnipeg to be constructed. While being constructed, things such as the water tank, cabinets, lights, a pump, radios, and deckles will be added.
“Basically everything that makes it a fire truck will be added in Winnipeg,” explained Mount. “It is going to be quite modest, but it will certainly be an upgrade.”
The vehicle is being designed to suit Sooke’s specific needs, such as having a low point of gravity and lots of power to easily navigate the steep roads, and a pump that will allow firefighters to take water from lakes in rural areas where there are no fire hydrants.
“The new water tender is part of a long-term replacement plan to keep our vehicles up to safety standards. Overall, it will just be a safer, more reliable vehicle, that will be able to better serve the community,” said Mount.