The Huntsville Lake of Bays Fire Department’s (HLOB) new truck is almost ready to go.
At the end of August, members of the department drove it more than 1,600 kilometres from a fire station in Huntsville, Alabama to the Baysville station in Lake of Bays.
Deputy Fire Chief Paul Calleja was one of the three people in the truck for the three day journey. Calleja says the truck has now been fully “Canadianized” with new tires, daytime running lights, and heating for the water pump compartment.
“It’s actually not as much as you think,” says Calleja. “Keep in perspective that truck did come from a fire department in Texas, so the climate is considerably different from the one we’d experience here in central to northern Ontario.”
According to Calleja, the vehicle replaces a pump truck from 1999, and comes with a number of features which will bring the Baysville station in line with HLOB’s other fire halls. One of those is a roomier cab, which fits four fully-suited and equipped firefighters, allowing them to get to work immediately on arrival.
“One of the biggest features is it has on top what’s called a deck gun,” says Calleja. “Basically that’s a nozzle on the top of the apparatus that from a distance, whether it’s a car fire on the highway or a garage fire [and] without having to stretch lines off of the truck, we can apply water. So when time is really of the essence, it’s easy to apply water to a working fire.”
Now that the truck is retrofitted, the department is in the long process of getting it properly licenced. Calleja says getting it to Canada was the “easy part” of the job, albeit a bit bumpy.
“I never envisioned driving a fire truck that far, and fire trucks really aren’t designed to go for a three-day drive– they’re more for short distances– so it was a little bumpy,” says Calleja. “The driver’s seat is an air ride seat, but the rest of them aren’t. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy to drink a cup of coffee. So we were glad to be in normal vehicles when we got home.”
Calleja says they’re hoping to have the truck going out to calls by the end of October.
🎶Looks like we made it 🎤
Say hello to Huntsville/Lake of Bay Fire Department’s new Firetruck for the Baysville Fire Station pic.twitter.com/IHJIiIaRcJ
— Township of Lake of Bays, Muskoka (@LakeofBaysTwp) September 1, 2022