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REPORTING · 6th May 2015
Walter McFarlane
At the Kitimat City Council Meeting on Monday, April 15th, Council was talking about the budget and one item came up was the plans for the Fire Department’s Burn Building. On February 4th of this year, the topic came before Council.

Fire Chief Trent Bossence had told Council in February, the Burn Building was aging and needed to be replaced. He was planning to start collecting containers so he could replace it, and asked for $50,000 to begin this process.

Due to the amount of time which had passed between February and April, Feldhoff asked for a debriefing on why they needed to invest money into the training grounds. He suggested the training grounds were an ideal location for a recycling centre.

“The training grounds is a vital piece of property and equipment for the Fire Department itself,” said Bossence. “They require us to train at a certain level to maintain our skills at that level. Whatever level that you, Mayor and Council, and citizens of Kitimat decide they want to have as a fire department, that’s the type of level that we need to train too.”

He stated they are a Full Operational Department which means if a house is on fire, they are going inside the house to extinguish it or rescue people.

“To maintain that skill, we need to show competencies not only to the fire commissioner now, which is new, they call it the playbook, and it’s new regulations that come out that we maintain. We maintain that skill not only for the office of the fire commissioner but for work safe BC,” said Bossence.

They also practice vehicle extrication and confined space training in the training grounds. It teaches them how to deal with car fires and gas fires.

“There are a number of different training facilities used in that area that is really vital to the organization. It isn’t as easy as packing up and moving to another location to do this training. It’s really a part of the whole organization,” said Bossence.

Councillor Mary Murphy stated the Eurocan Fire Department trained with the fire department and even then, the burn building had to be replaced. She agreed it was vital for the fire department to maintain their training.

Bossence told Council Burn Buildings do not last long. The current building is 20 years old and has been heated up and cooled down repeatedly over the years. This deteriorates the building.

Councillor Claire Rattee agreed. She wanted to know how the money was going to be spent. The reply was it would replace the building within the next four years. They are planning to build the facility high enough so they could use it for high angle rescue as well as other purposes. They will need 8 to 10 containers. Most of the cost is for bringing the containers to Kitimat.

Feldhoff stated he was now in support of the expenditure. The motion was called and carried.