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N’Bford welcomes new Engine-22 with tradition-steeped ceremony

The March 10 ceremony welcoming their newest truck onto the fleet included a pushing-in ceremony, a wet-down ceremony, and First Nations smudging and blessing to protect the firefighters and truck.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - The North Battleford Fire Department welcomed its newest pumper truck into service n March 10, with a traditional pushing-in and wet-down ceremony and a blessing from Elder Alvin Baptiste.

Lindsay Holm, North Battleford’s fire chief, said the new ceremony for incoming firetrucks is deeply rooted in the traditions of fire service and is expected to continue for future additions to the fleet.

“It’s one that we have actually adopted for the fire department, and I thought it was the right thing to do today,” Holm said.

The ceremonies featured the act of spraying water from the outgoing old Engine 22 onto the newly incoming Engine 22 and pushing the new $761,000 engine into the fire hall, which reflects a time when firefighting used horse-drawn wagons.

 “This is kinda a proud moment for us and the department because we have a beautiful fire engine that has arrived here, and we are about to put it into service,” Holm said. 

And although new engines are typically assigned new numbers, the new fire truck will be called Engine 22, like its 23-year-old predecessor. 

“I’ve done that for selfish reasons. It’s because that truck is the first apparatus I rode,” Holm said, getting emotional as he described the first structure fire that he rode to on Nov. 17, 2000.

“It’s kind of like the end of an era for me … it’s the last remaining fire engine in this hall since I started on the job … that truck is near and dear to my heart, it served our community so well, it’s been one of the most reliable trucks in our fleet. It’s never broken down ever,” Holm said. 

“It’s kind of a bittersweet day,” Holm said, thanking the dignitaries present, including the McAngus, Hawtin, Ironstand and Taylor, for their work helping the fire department to obtain the updated equipment. 

“If it wasn’t for your hard work every day as councillors and committing to the community safety aspect, it’s something that we wouldn’t have.”

According to the city, in August 2021, council approved the purchase of the new pumper truck at a cost of $761,000, with the expectation that it will remain in the city’s firefighting fleet for the next two decades of service.

The truck was manufactured at Rocky Mountain Phoenix, and the city says it will increase the reliability of the department’s fleet vehicles, lower maintenance costs and improve overall firefighting capabilities.

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