Members of Colwood Fire Rescue took delivery of their newest truck at the end of September

Colwood firefighters set to soar to new heights

New aerial ladder truck like nothing else around region

Colwood’s fire department has been keeping something very special under wraps for the past couple months.

While the latest addition to the truck fleet won’t be fully operational until spring, firefighters are having a hard time hiding their excitement, especially since crews have often had her out of the work bay while they train.

“I’m hoping to have it in service by March,” said Fire Chief Kerry Smith of the new truck that arrived on Sept. 27, but has spent a lot of time being outfitted with equipment in the service bay. “It’s new technology compared to our 30-year-old snorkel [truck].”

The new Rosenbauer Commander T-Rex tower ladder truck has become commonly known as “Tower 57” around the hall. Crews have been working hard to get Tower 57 operational, but in the meantime, Smith said, “if we were pressed we have some career staff and a few volunteers that could operate it.”

“We’re working some of the bugs out of it with the manufacturer,” he said, adding that it was all part of the warranty process. “It’s about getting it into service.”

While the department has been busy mounting equipment, the real reason the new truck won’t be operational until the spring is because of all of the training that’s involved.

That training is also “the only way to find out these warranty issues,” the chief said, noting they’ve had some minor problems which will be retested to ensure their validity once fixed.

Department training officer and Assistant Chief Greg Chow said training platforms for the new truck are quite complex due to the electronics and emergency backup systems.

The goal is to get all members accustomed to the systems and fully aware of safety and emergency protocols for the vehicle.

But it’s not just new technology that makes Tower 57 stand out.

“It’s not the same as everyone else has,” Chow said. He figured it is the tallest aerial truck on the lower Island, with a working height of 115 feet. The existing truck has a fully extended height of 77 feet.

As Smith said, “We’re trying to stay a little ahead of that game.”

With Colwood council approving high-rise developments in past and more recently, “Waiting until they’re built and then gearing up for it” isn’t feasible for the department, he said.

Chow noted the new truck isn’t just an asset to Colwood’s arsenal, it was purchased with aiding the other West Shore municipalities in mind, since no other neighbouring departments have the same reach.

“It’s not just an aerial truck … It’s dual purpose,” he said.

Tower 57 has a 250-gallon water tank and can pump 1,750 gallons per minute, making it capable of extinguishing fires at new heights. It is also built with crane technology and can stabilize or lift a small vehicle. Chow said the first boom can support or lift up to 8,800 pounds.

Once crews are trained and Tower 57 is fully operational, the old snorkel truck will be decommissioned and put up for sale, Smith said. “To get 30 years out of a piece of equipment is exceptional … It’s done its day.”

Details of the decommissioning haven’t been finalized, but Smith said the old truck could end up in operation somewhere else in North America.

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read