Cowichan Bay Fire Rescue celebrates 75 years in service this year and the milestone was marked over the Canada Day long weekend with an alumni night on July 1 and a dinner the following night.
Members past and present gathered to reminisce for the anniversary, including, one of the original members, Curtis Peck.
According to the department’s website, “The Cowichan Bay Fire Department (as it was known then) was started in 1947 with an old ARP (Air Raid Protection) unit pump and some lengths of 1½” hose and was stationed out of a local gas station at Cowichan Bay and Wilmot Road, the departments first piece of apparatus was a 3-ton Dodge truck purchased from Shell Oil inc. Converted in to the departments first tanker, it carried a 500 gallon water tank and a McCulloch fire pump. The departments first pumper truck was a 1938 Bickles Seagrave purchased from the Oak Bay Fire Department for $2,500, the truck was equipped with a 200 gallon tank and a 625 gpm pump and carried 300 feet of 2 1/2” hose and 1,000 feet of 2” hose.”
Boy have things changed.
“The Cowichan Bay volunteer fire rescue responds to an average of 200 emergency calls per year, in an area that covers about 170 square kilometers and includes approximately 10,000 residents,” the website continues. “Not only do these volunteers fight fires, but they also often respond to medical emergencies.
“The BC Ambulance service frequently dispatches volunteers to act as first responders in medical situations because they are trained in First Aid and CPR and carry specialized medical equipment, such as an AED.”
The department is currently in need of a new home as their existing hall, constructed in 1977, has a long list of problems and is in dire need of replacement.
Just how that new hall is financed will be decided via the Alternative Approval Process in the days to come.