New brush truck will help firefighters defeat grass, bush and crop fires

MB Fire Protection Grant to cover 100 per cent of costs to municipality


Local firefighters are thrilled with the news that cash is on the way to pay for a much needed ‘brush truck.’

Fire Chief Troy Cuvelier made application for a special provincial grant, on behalf of the fire department and the municipality, to purchase this specialized vehicle, said acting mayor Janice Smith.

“The fire department applied to buy a brush truck, which will make fighting grass and field fires much easier, and more accessible,” said Smith. “We applied for $144,924.00, and we have been conditionally awarded 100 per cent of this amount. This is awesome for the guys, because they do a lot of field and brush fires.”

The Province of Manitoba announced the news regarding the application for grants on October 5, 2020, during Fire Prevention Week. 

The government described it as a one-time, $5 million fund, aimed to provide fire protection grants to support fire protection and emergency response to communities across the province.

“There was $5 million dollars up to get, and over $18 million dollars in asks,” said Smith. “We were very fortunate to get the full ask. It was wonderful. We are just waiting for the cheque, which should be coming soon.”

The new vehicle will be a modified 3500 Brush Truck, and the fire chief will be looking at the options, she added.

“The brush truck has to be purchased by the end of March, 2021,” said Smith. “They will choose the model.”

The brush truck will also help reduce damage to other firefighting vehicles, such as fire trucks, she said, which are not suited for travel on rough terrain.

“This means they can use the brush truck instead of the fire truck, and this will save on wear and tear,” said Smith. “And they won’t get stuck.”

Cuvelier said the new truck will also make for faster reactions to fires. The fire department had been looking at the idea of one for the past few years, he said, and involved studying fire calls in both town and in rural areas.

“The brush truck was in need for our municipality for quicker response times to fight field and grass fires,” he said. “Quick response times eliminate fire spread, and save crop damage. We will be discussing the chassis in the near future, and confirming truck availability and completion date.”

The generous grant will also have a positive knock-on effect for another element within the municipality’s fire department, Smith said.

“Because of this grant, and the money we are saving, we have enough to purchase a pumper truck as well,” said Smith. “This allows us to buy a new water truck within our 2021 budget, as the one we have now is a 1967 model. It is going to be retired, as it no longer complies or is safe for today’s standards.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO RETIRMENT – Old Pumper No. 1, built back in 1967, will soon be retired, as the municipality and fire department plan to replace her with a new model this budget year. Here she is on moving day, last March of 2020, as premises changed from the old fire hall building on Broadway to the truck’s new home at the new fire hall over on South Railway.

FIGHTING A SLOUGH FIRE – A new ‘brush truck’ for the fire department will mean that firefighters will be able to access places like this one much easier in the future. This was the scene on November 2, 2020, when an old burn pile re-ignited and set stubble on fire, which then spread to a slough, southeast on Highway 3.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS – Here’s a photo taken at the old fire hall, back in 2017 when the fire department’s No. 1 pumper truck turned an elegant 50 years old.