Fire Station Tour

Sunday, January 22

Our first Sunday Drive of 2017 saw us revisit the Central Saanich Volunteer Fire Department. Since our previous visit, many years ago, big changes have occurred in the organization, most notably, a new Number 1 Fire Hall. The afternoon began at the Hamsterley Beach parking lot and damp weather did not deter several owners from bringing out their English vehicles and after route directions had been distributed, it was off to the first stop, the Central Saanich Volunteer Firefighters Historical Museum in Saanichton.

Here we were greeted by Forrest Owens, Mike Crocker and John Lynch. The various vehicles in the museum were described, starting with the oldest, a 1949 Maple Leaf pumper truck. The International Harvester fire engine was the first new vehicle purchased by the department, and served for many years. The final vehicle in the museum is also an International, a Travelall, from the 1960s, which served as an ambulance. Of particular interest to many was the Coventry Climax portable fire pump (on our previous visit this had been made to run). Nowadays, Honda powered pumps are used; no doubt some firefighters miss the sound of the Coventry Climax engine.
We then crossed the yard to Firehall Number 2 (changed to that designation when the new Hall was built). Three fire engines are kept at the ready here. And a fully equipped fitness area keeps the volunteers fit too.
The final stop was a tour of the “new” Number 1 fire station. Built to withstand the “big one”, as in earthquake, the building features state of the art design in firehalls. More trucks are stationed here, including the CRD Haz Mat outfit. Also available is the ladder truck, well able to deal with the multi-story buildings found in the municipality.
The final attraction was of course the traditional brass pole, which one club member decided to try out.
Robin and Sue presented the tour guides with OECC mugs as a token of our thanks for a very interesting afternoon. Local residents are fortunate indeed to have the services of the Central Saanich Volunteer Fire Department and its extensive array of equipment to call upon when needed