Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Greenfield and District Volunteer Fire Department bought a new-to-it tanker truck for just $1 recently, and the purchase soon paid off with it being pulled into action a few days later.
"Most people don't realize it, but last May we had a mutual aid call to help Liverpool fire department with a forest fire, but on the way in the motor went out of our 30-year-old tanker," said Greenfield Fire Chief Moyal Conrad.
He further explained that the department was scheduled to replace the vehicle soon, so was reluctant to spend $10,000 to $40,000 for a temporary fix.
"If I had to take my tanker to go help another department, we would have been in trouble," said Conrad, adding, "Calls have been down this year so we were pretty lucky."
According to the fire chief, he was relaxing one night and one of his firefighters messaged him about a sale post on the Facebook group page, Nova Scotia Fire Equipment Swap and Trade or Sell. He quickly responded to the ad.
"I didn't realize it was posted by the chief at Kennetcook when I responded. I just told him that Greenfield and District is down a truck and [it] has left us in a lurch," he said. "He said he wanted a dollar for it. I thought it must have been a typo. They sold it to us with a gentleman's agreement that we would do the same when it was time for us to sell it."
The truck had been gifted previously to Kennetcook for $1 by the Maitland fire department. Kennetcook used it for several years and has since found a newer truck to replace it.
Greenfield's new-to-it truck is a 6.4 metre, 1997 Freightliner that holds 5,678 litres of water, the same amount that the department's old 1989 truck held.
"It's a little short thing that can go anywhere. There are fire trucks that are as long as buses, and when you take it out and you have to turn it on a dirt road that's tough," said Conrad. "This one will work great and will get to places that many can't."
The truck was picked up from Kennetcook April 19. Five days later it was called into action as one of the many trucks to attend a forest fire at Molega Lake April 24.
"I spent probably 22 hours cleaning and waxing it, fixing a few things and doing some rewiring," said Conrad. "I was putting decals on it when the pagers went off Saturday afternoon."
It's hoped this latest vehicle will last the department for at least the next 12 to 14 months, until it receives a new one that was ordered last week, after the department secured a $600,000 loan.
The five fire departments located in Queens County order new vehicles on a rotational schedule. Every five years they receive funds totaling $300,000 from the Region of Queens Municipality towards the purchase of a new pumper or tanker truck.