Not only did Bienfait celebrate Canada Day on July 1, but the community also feted the arrival of its fire truck.
The community had its first glimpse of the modern white and red vehicle during the Canada Day parade. Fire Chief Richard Smyth said the truck was previously used in Port Neches, Texas.
“We found it on the Internet,” said Smyth. “It was still in service at the time. It just came out of service about three weeks ago.”
Bienfait’s fire department thought they were purchasing a 1998 model, but it’s actually a 1999 American Lafrentz fire truck.
“It has very low hours and very low mileage,” said Lafrentz. “You can tell by looking at it that it’s in very good shape.”
After it was taken out of service, the fire truck was sent in for some minor repairs. Then it was shipped to Lignite, N.D., unloaded on June 29 and taken to Estevan. The decals were applied, and the truck was ready to be showcased in the parade less than 48 hours later.
The parade was a great opportunity to show the fire truck off to the public, Smyth said.
The fire truck will represent a significant upgrade in technology for the fire department. The last truck that they purchased was in 1976. The fire department constructed a fire truck more than 20 years ago.
Smyth said he expects the new truck will make a big difference in terms of response times, and their ability to respond to fires. And it will allow Bienfait’s firefighters to have modern technology.
Fundraising is ongoing for the vehicle. Smyth said they have brought in between $85,000 and $90,000. The truck cost about $105,000, so they need another $15,000 and $20,000.
Individuals and businesses contributed towards purchasing the truck. There were raffles, and other efforts by the fire department to raise money.
Smyth expects the truck will be in service in early-to-mid July. Some items still need to be added so that the truck can respond to calls. Fire department members also need an orientation session to use the truck.