New fire truck on order in Oil Springs

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North Enniskillen/Oil Springs Fire will be buying a pumper truck - similar to this one from Rosenbauer. It should arrive in 2022

Alex Kurial/Local Jounalism Initiative

For the first time in 20 years, there’s a new pumper truck on order for the Enniskillen/Oil Springs Fire Department.

But it will still be awhile before it puts out any blazes.

Fire Chief Al Charlton says he and other firefighters in the department have been researching which pumper truck to get for several months. Charlton also consulted with other fire departments from St. Clair to Brooke-Alvinston.

The final selection was a Rosenbauer pumper truck purchased through the ResQTech fire equipment company in Woodstock. The purchase was approved after presentations to Oil Springs and Enniskillen councils and the fire board.

The total cost of the truck stands at $565,000.

“Oil Springs, we’re not all about flash. We don’t need chrome bumpers for a picture. We need a functional truck,” says Charlton. “The truck is actually build above and beyond safety standards, it’s the highest rated truck in terms of cab safety.”

Charlton says issues like a short wheel base for rural communities were factored in. He says the truck is also ergonomically improved, the equipment is lower and more accessible and the shelving is better. The truck is able to pump 1,050 gallons of water per minute.

“We got basically the standard, not much custom hot-rodding on this truck. We need a short truck that fits in farm properties,” says Charlton. “We’ve got a quality truck coming our way.”

The move was brought on by rules rather than necessity.

Charlton says while their pumper truck is still in good condition, guidelines mandate trucks must be replaced every few decades. The current truck has been in use for 20 years.

While the order for the truck went in this week, Charlton says the most recent estimate for delivery is still 400 days away.

COVID has slowed down production and a freak winter weather storm in Texas earlier this year delayed manufacturing work at the frame and cab factory. He’s hoping the truck arrives before the end of summer 2022.

In the meantime, Charlton has every confidence in their veteran pumper. “We’re always doing our truck checks, they have to go through their safety programs,” he says. “We don’t let that thing get out of shape on us. We just can’t. At the end of the day we’re an emergency service.”

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the truck. It seems a shame that it’s got to go,” says Charlton.

The truck’s fate will be up to the fire board and Oil Springs and Enniskillen councils as they look for a buyer. Charlton says older trucks are sometimes refurbished to serve as backup trucks for departments, but with the type of calls the area gets a second pumper truck is rarely if ever needed.

Other possible destinations include Northern Ontario, Central or South America, or even purchase by a local farmer interested in acquiring the pump.

Enniskillen will pay 78 per cent of the truck’s cost, around $440,700. They’ll pay their share through the township’s fire levy. The levy, which covers fire costs in the Petrolia and Oil Springs departments, was raised by $50,000 this year in anticipation of the new pumper purchase.

Oil Springs will cover the other $124,300 through its reserves.

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