Plenty of action at fire hall grand opening

Powerful Jaws of Life used to snip the commemorative ribbon


Emergency lights flashed and siren squeals filled the air last Saturday, as fire trucks, with excited passengers aboard, swarmed the town’s streets on a sunny autumn day.

It was the long-awaited grand opening for the new, million-dollar Killarney-Turtle Mountain Fire Hall, and the turnout was massive. Around 300 people lined up to score a hot dog, cake, chips, and a drink, and all the donated lunch money was collected for a new set of Jaws of  Life for the fire fighters.

Fire Chief Troy Cuvelier made an emotional speech, and ran through a great list of the many supporters who had helped make the fire hall project reach fruition.

Cuvelier and Deputy Fire Chief Sean Phillips also spoke about the importance of the Golden Hour – a term used to describe the first integral 60 minutes of first responder activity that can determine the long term outcome of injured patients.

“We have very little time to extricate people,” said Phillips. “Getting things done during the Golden Hour – that gives them the best chance for survival. There is travel time to the site, time to extricate people, and then travel time to hospital – and that all cuts into that precious 60 minutes. That’s why we are looking at upgrading to the new technology with our Jaws of Life, which will mean less minutes used up during extrication. The old ones have served us well, but vehicle technology has moved on, and we need to move forward too. We are looking at around $60,000 to fund this project.”

The grand opening was an opportunity to kick-start this project, said Cuvelier, and final tally for this new fundraising came in at a whopping $17,500,
he said.

“That’s the amount raised to date, including the fire department’s fundraiser efforts,” he said earlier this week. “We also received many $100 and $20 donations – it all matters. Every donation counts. We all may need this service one day. It could be your mother, your sister, your father, your brother… someone you know who needs to be helped. It will benefit the whole community.”

And during the opening event, the chief even raised up the weighty old Jaws of Live – once the hydraulic engine got started – to cut the ceremonial ribbon. 

Along with the line-up of white-shirted fire fighters with him were both new mayor Merv Tweed, and previous mayor Rick Pauls, who served during the earlier years of the fire hall project and its planning. Construction of the fire hall itself was carried out by Crane Steel Structures, of Brandon, Manitoba.

Inside the fire hall, visitors were able to look at the impressive fire fighting equipment, uniforms, hats, communication devices, and much more – all of which has been secured through years of dedicated fundraising.

The next fire hall event is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, when a homaltro rep will be attending the fire hall to demonstrate the new Jaws of Life. All are welcome to attend this demonstration, which starts at 1 p.m.

“We will be cutting up some cars,” said Phillips. “It should be fun to watch.”

Correction: The total project cost for the municipality’s new fire hall building itself came in at $1,035,698.60, and the original debenture for the fire hall, made in 2020, was for $600,000, said the municipal office.

The debenture was set to run for 10 years, and is scheduled to be paid in full in 2029. Annual payments are $71,691. 

The fire hall building is not yet paid for, as reported in last week’s story in The Guide,
and we apologize for the error.

SNIPPED NEATLY BY THE JAWS OF LIFE – The mighty Jaws of Life were fired up to snip the ‘ribbon’ on Saturday, October 2, to mark the grand opening of the municipality’s new million-dollar fire hall. The big day drew around 300 well-wishers, and the weather was marvellous. From left are: Mayor Merv Tweed, Deputy Fire Chief Sean Phillips, Fire Chief Troy Cuvelier (with the Jaws), past Mayor Rick Pauls, and past Fire Chief Patrick Monkman.

AN AFTERNOON OF CELEBRATION  – There was lots to enjoy on Saturday during the Fire Hall Grand Opening event on South Railway Street. Above, visitors enjoyed the hot dog lunch, and a stroll through the fire fighter’s apparel and apparatuses. Below, two young fire fighters arrange the hot dogs and fix’ns for the crowd of 300.

FIRE TRUCK RIDES – Deputy Fire Chief Sean Phillips (left) and crew member Dieter Holweger accompany a pair of youngsters during an exciting fire truck ride, complete with lights and siren.

LINING UP FOR DOGS AND DONATIONS – Patrons flocked to the new fire hall opening on Saturday, lining up outside the station for their share of the hot dogs, chips, cake, and a drink – and to donate towards the purchase of new Jaws for Life for the fire crew.