The Kimberley Fire Department held their annual open house at the station on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Always a popular event, the street was filled with families and firefighters, who gave numerous fun and engaging demonstrations of things like the Jaws of Life, the hoses and the lifts.
Also on display was a very special piece of local firefighting history, the 1941 Ford Two-Ton engine, freshly repainted, courtesy of Signal Collision.
Originally owned by CM&S Co., renamed Cominco in 1966, the truck was donated to the Kimberley Fire Department Social Club in 1977, when it was fully restored. Members of the Kimberley Fire Department have maintained it, with their own money, since then.
“It’s the Social Club that funds it,” said Noah Wesche of the Kimberley Fire Department. “So we do our Christmas party and our other events and one of things that we look after is this fire truck.”
This year it made it out to two car shows and the JulyFest Parade, which it usually is a fixture at, but it depends on how the old truck is feeling on that particular day, Wesche said.
“Sometimes you get in it and there’s no brakes so someone goes under the bottom and we deal with it as she comes, but the last couple years she’s made the JulyFest Parade and we’ve been to two car shows this year.”
It was without good tires for a while, Wesche added, until Integra Tires gave them a “screaming deal” on a new set. Most recently the truck’s fenders got scuffed up coming in and out of its winter storage. Wesche said they approached Signal Collision for a quote, who told them they’d do the work for free.
In fact, Kelly Watson, owner of Signal Collision, remembers his father working on the truck back in the ’80s.
It’s a labour of love maintaining this beautiful piece of Kimberley history, one that’s often supported by generous local business owners such as Watson. Wesche added as well that while there’s always people to help look after it, the number of people who know how to drive it is dwindling.
“Every two years we vote on who looks after it and it’s getting harder and harder to find somebody that can drive straight-cut old stuff, the list keeps getting smaller and smaller,” he said.
“Somebody might look after it but they’re not moving it very far. It leaves about three or four of us in the department that are willing to drive it. We’ll encourage you to learn but we don’t really encourage you to learn on this. I missed a shift on the way here and I’m sure I’ll hear about it later.”
They’ve also just recently got a new car-cover for it, so it’ll go back to bed in style and safety, until it’s rolled back out again next year.