Firefighters and volunteers with Cache Creek’s Engine 3 in July 2017. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Online auction raises funds for new Cache Creek fire engine

Close to $40,000 raised, thanks to local businesses, residents, and Fraserway RV

If all goes according to plan, the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department (CCVFD) will be taking delivery of a new primary fire engine later this year, and an online auction that took place over Christmas helped raise close to $40,000 towards its purchase.

In August 2018 The Journal reported that CCVFD chief Tom Moe and 2nd assistant fire chief Damian Couture were at the Cache Creek council meeting on Aug. 20 to start the ball rolling on the purchase of a new primary engine.

The current primary engine, Engine 3, was built in 1994 and will come to the end of its life as a primary engine in 2019.

Insurance underwriter regulations stipulate that for a community of Cache Creek’s size, the primary engine must be no more than 20 years old, although a five-year extension can be applied for (and was, in Cache Creek’s case). The current secondary engine was built in 1969, and a recent mechanic’s report showed that it was not in good shape. Both engines are underpowered and have issues on the hills around Cache Creek.

The CCVFD had $100,000 set aside towards the purchase of a new primary engine (estimated cost $450,000), plus another $41,000 coming from the office of the fire commissioner for the department’s work fighting the 2017 wildfires. Then, in September 2018, the Village of Cache Creek received an email from Fraserway RV, saying that the company had raised some funds from special RV sales they had done, and were looking for community groups involved in reconstruction after the devastation caused by the 2017 wildfires.

“We have the Adventurer Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Fraserway RV Ownership and Family,” says Jay Shokar, HR Coordinator for Fraserway RV, Country RV, Travelhome RV, and The Adventurer Group. “We did some research [regarding organizations that had been impacted by the fires] and came up with the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department.”

The funds were raised during a B.C. Fire Relief initiative from a group of RV dealers that form The Adventurer Group. A total of $670,000 was raised to help relief efforts, and the CCVFD was told that any funds they raised for a new fire engine between Oct. 1 and Dec. 30, 2018 would be matched by Fraserway RV to a maximum of $100,000.

Lindsay Armitage—payroll and finance administration clerk for the Village of Cache Creek—says that when the Fraserway offer came in she discussed the matter with then-mayor John Ranta and asked what the money could be used for. The answer was a new fire truck, and at the council meeting on Oct. 9 Cache Creek council voted to purchase a new primary fire engine.

“In December we got an email from Fraserway asking if we’d done any fundraising,” says Alana Peters, finance administration clerk for the Village of Cache Creek and a member of the CCVFD.

“Lindsay thought of the idea of an auction, and we went around to businesses to explain what we were doing and look for donations. We thought we’d have to check back in a few days, but the response was fantastic, and immediate. People said ‘Here are some items’ or ‘I’ll make up a gift basket.’ Individual people donated items, and we had people calling to donate items up to the last day.”

While most of the items were only on offer for a few days, one thing remained up for bids for the entire auction: a 2008 three-quarter ton Ford F-250 crew cab. It had been donated to the CCVFD by Spectra Energy in Savona, which had heard that the department needed a new command unit after the old one failed during the 2017 wildfires.

Moe said that he had had to tell Spectra that the department had just had just purchased a new command unit with funds that had been donated by area businesses. “I asked if it was okay for us to sell the truck they’d donated and put the money towards a new engine. They were fine with that.”

The truck was only one of dozens of items that were donated, with every item that was posted receiving multiple bids; some winning bidders immediately donated their prizes back to be re-auctioned. Peters and Armitage spent Christmas keeping track of the auctions, posting new items almost daily, and arranging for the pick-up and delivery of items as the bids closed.

When the auction ended on Dec. 30, a total of just under $20,000 had been raised. With the Fraserway RV matching funds, it means that almost $40,000 was raised for the purchase of the new engine. “It was awesome how much support we had,” says Peters. “Everyone supported us. The fire department and the Village of Cache Creek really appreciate it.”

“It was heartwarming to see the response,” says Armitage. “It was incredible. I’d like to say a big thank you to the community, the businesses, and everyone who supported us.”

Moe is now looking forward to the delivery of the new primary engine. “I’d just like to thank Alana and Lindsay for taking this on. They did an amazing job. Also thanks to everyone who bid, and all of the donors. I was amazed by the generosity!

“Huge thanks to Spectra Energy, and to Fraserway. I’m not sure why they picked us, but we’re very thankful and appreciative. I was very happy with the results. As for the truck, it has been ordered, and the expected delivery date will be late summer, early fall 2019, hopefully.”

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