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Lytton and Loon Lake fire departments get generous donation from Port Moody

Surplus fire engine goes to Loon Lake and rescue truck goes to Lytton thanks to City of Port Moody

When it comes to fire departments helping each other out, there is no rural/urban divide.

This was demonstrated on April 24, when City of Port Moody Acting Mayor Amy Lubik and Fire Chief Darcey O’Riordan presented a surplus 1999 American LaFrance fire engine to the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and a surplus 1997 Freightliner rescue truck to Lytton Fire & Rescue.

“The City of Port Moody is pleased to be able to donate fire trucks to these two volunteer-driven fire departments so they can better protect their communities,” said Lubik.

“As B.C.’s climate keeps changing, we’re seeing longer, hotter summers, more droughts, and a longer wildfire season. It’s important for communities around the province to work together as we adapt to climate change, and that includes making sure smaller communities have the right fire rescue equipment so they can save lives and protect property and infrastructure. We’re happy to be able to assist the Loon Lake and Lytton fire rescue services and the communities they serve.”

The fire engine for Loon Lake will be a back-up to their main engine, and an addition to a fleet that also includes a bush truck, a trailer for sprinkler suppression, and a water tender. Loon Lake Fire Department Captain Franko Borri says the additional engine gives the department a better chance to cover the 32 kilometres of road along the lake.

Borri notes that receiving the American LaFrance fire engine will have an enormous, positive impact will result in financial savings for Loon Lake residents. “It’s very important to us and to the taxpayers in our community. I hope they all appreciate it, and what we’re doing.”

It will also significantly improve the safety and efficiency of the Loon Lake firefighters, and allow them to support neighbouring communities with mutual aid and respond to multiple incidents, both of which are critical during extreme fire hazard season.

The new engine arrives on the eve of the official June opening of the new Loon Lake fire hall, which replaces the hall that was destroyed during the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire. Borri says he hopes that the new engine will last the department for five to seven years, and says that the department is very appreciative of the generous donation from Port Moody.

Firefighters in Lytton are already training with the new rescue truck. Last week they did specialized extrication drills using lift bags on the truck, including removal of a “patient” from underneath a vehicle.

“The addition of this new-to-us rescue truck will make a huge impact on the Village of Lytton and surrounding First Nations communities served by Lytton Fire & Rescue,” says Lytton mayor Denise O’Connor. “We would like to thank the City of Port Moody, mayor and council, and Port Moody Fire Rescue for their generous donation of this apparatus to our community.”

“We’ll now be able to carry our specialty tools and medical aid supplies, along with a contingent of fire suppression equipment,” says Lytton Fire & Rescue Captain Kyle Parker.

“This will allow us to keep both our frontline and reserve pumpers in the municipality ready for fire response. This will provide more resiliency, particularly as we have seen an increase in wildfires in the Fraser Canyon and across the province.”

The 1999 American LaFrance fire engine was in service as a front-line engine for Port Moody Fire Rescue for 15 years, then served as a back-up apparatus until late 2023, while the 1997 Freightliner rescue truck was in service for more than 25 years. Both vehicles no longer meet municipal insurance requirements; however, volunteer fire departments are not as stringently affected by insurance underwriters’ criteria.

Given the reduced demand and low market price for older apparatus, City of Port Moody council decided to donate these vehicles to communities in need.