New truck helping Ladysmith firefighters battle blazes

Firefighters have been busy fighting house fires and bush fires in Ladysmith.

Ladysmith Fire Chief Ray Delcourt and a fellow firefighter stand beside the Ladysmith Fire Department’s new Ford F-550 rapid intervention pickup truck

Ladysmith Fire Chief Ray Delcourt and a fellow firefighter stand beside the Ladysmith Fire Department’s new Ford F-550 rapid intervention pickup truck

The Ladysmith Fire Department’s most recent fleet acquisition has kept firefighters hot on the heels of numerous bush and house fires over the summer.

The Ford F-550 rapid intervention pickup truck, also known as Unit 5, with its 4×4 capability, practical size and 250-gallon water tank, has been out on a near-weekly basis since it arrived in mid-May and has been a bonus addition to the fleet, says fire chief Ray Delcourt.

“It’s been our main source of getting back into some of these bush fires we’ve had in the last month,” he said. “We could never take the [fire] truck where this truck can go.”

The rapid intervention truck, custom-built to the tune of approximately $75,000, not only has pumping capabilities to knock the heart of a fire down quickly, but also has useful things such as foam fire suppressant and rescue equipment.

Most recently, the truck was deployed to a bush fire in the power lines off of South Watts Road on Weds., Sept. 5 at about 7 a.m. A pile of garbage and debris had been set on fire and grew to approximately 100 feet by 200 feet, Delcourt said. Fire personnel were able to quickly get the fire under control and were relieved by BC Forestry four hours after arriving on scene.

The rapid intervention vehicle also went to work after a cigarette butt carelessly tossed away caused a brush fire on Sun., Sept. 2 at the end of Bayview Road.

“It burnt up the bank almost to a house at the top of the hill,” Delcourt said.

The department is also looking into what caused a house fire in the 300 block of Davis Road that took place Fri., Aug. 31.

“It’s under investigation, but at this time, we do not suspect it is suspicious,” Delcourt said.

The top floor of the house, which was unoccupied at the time of the fire, was fully involved when firefighters arrived. Damages are expected to be significant but have not been assessed at this time.

“We had to do an exterior attack of the fire because it was too hot to risk sending personnel in there,” said Delcourt.

The Ladysmith Fire Department is currently recruiting volunteer firefighters. To learn more, contact the fire hall at 250-245-6436.