Out with the old in with the new is what the Wawa Fire Department shared with the local media to advertise today’s open house. The purpose of the Open House was to share the arrival of its new truck with the community. During the open house there were treats and drinks for young and old who came to tour the Fire House and see the equipment and trucks.
Tanker Four was delivered on October 6th, and now officially begins its service to the town of Wawa and surrounding area. Tanker 4 is a 2021 Freightliner with a metal fab fire apparatus. This new truck can now carry 5 crew members, 1,400 gallons of water and also has a custom built compartment to house the new electric extrication tools.
This truck will respond to all highway collision calls to provide suppression and support to the Rescue Truck. Tanker 4 has all the conventional features of the modern day pumpers; but its main function is of a tanker and highway response truck.
Since being established in 1952, as the Michipicoten Volunteer Fire Department, fire department has seen several trucks go through its doors. It started off its community service with a 1952 GMC Oumper which was sold to the Shriners in 1970. Some of us old enough can remember it being in the local parades down Broadway Avenue until the late 80’s.
In 1960, a GMC truck was added which saw service until 1975. In 1970, when the fire department expanded its fleet with the addition of a 1970 Ford Lafrance pumper that remained in service until 2005, 35 years. In 1975 there was the addition of the famous yellow Ford King- Seagraves pumper and a Grumman van. Some might remember this it was a big square truck kind of looked like the modern day Purolator trucks. It was bright yellow and had the writing SALVAGE UNIT on its exterior.
In 1976, the first tanker was added to the department. This allowed the firefighters to bring water to a fire and to incidents on the highway. It was a de-icing truck converted to a water tanker. Purchased from the Sault Ste. Marie airport it was bulky, looking like a fuel tanker. It remained in service for 18 years, until 1994 when it was replaced by the 1993 Ford Tanker that was just replaced.
The 1993 Ford Tanker carried 1400 gallons of water and a 440 gallon per minute pump. Although this truck is retired today as a tanker it will continue its service with the Municipal Public Works Department cleaning streets and flushing storm drains, etc. In 1999, the 1975 King Seagrave pumper was replaced by current Pumper One. Pumper One is a 1998 International Fort Gary pumper with a 1050 GPM pump capacity and 800 gallons of water.
In 2002, that bright yellow Salvage Unit was replaced by the current rescue truck, a 2002 Ford fF550 with a walk around chassis. In 2005, the 1970 LaFrance pumper was replaced by current Pumper Two, a 2005 Freightliner with a 1050 pump and 800 gallons of water.
From 1952 to 2021, our modest volunteer fire department has seen many important improvements, safer trucks and equipment (Thankfully, the days of firefighters riding on the back of the truck is long gone.). With the support of the community and the Rotary Club of Wawa – the fire department has many pieces of fire detection and crucial rescue equipment to serve the community. When asked about his future wish list, Chief Kevin Sabourin stated “I have many. Two of them is an expansion of the Fire Hall or a new hall altogether and the purchase of a new pumper to replace the 33-year old 1998 Pumper. The addition of Tanker Four also meant that one truck has to be relocated to the Infrastructure Services Garage for storage as the current hall does not accommodate all the modern day truck.”
Wawa residents are reminded to pull over and allow volunteer firefighters responding to a page. Their vehicles are equipped with green flashing lights. Always pull over to the fire trucks to pass by as they respond to a call for service.