Buck Flats residents are organizing a fire department for their road.
Houston Canfor recently donated a 1970 fire truck to Buck Flats residents, and residents formed a 13-member Buck Flats Fire Department Committee early last week, said Rob Newell, the facilitator for a Buck Flats meeting.
Fifty-two people from Buck Flats, Houston and Smithers attended a barbecue meeting last week Sunday to discuss a variety of topics, including the possibility of a Buck Flats fire department.
“There was a lot of interest in it, and a lot of interest from the kids,” said Newell.
Newell says the committee was formed at the barbecue and likely won’t meet until late August, because of different vacation schedules.
He says the fire department will be volunteer and will service Buck Flats Road roughly from Buck Bridge One to the last house on the road at approximately 14 kilometres.
Asked why they are forming their own fire department, Newell said it’s because there are roughly 52 homes and 150 to 200 people living up Buck Flats where there is no fire protection.
The Houston Fire Department services one kilometre up the road, but anything south of Teer Road is not covered.
Newell says that when the Buck Flats fire department is established, it will not have a service area based on taxes, because of the small population.
“It’s just not viable,” he said, adding that it will cost anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 to start up – money that will have to come through grants and fund raising.
Newell says the donated fire truck was never used and was continually maintained by Canfor employees, so it is in good condition. It carries 500 gallons of water and cannot be left outside in the winter, so they will need to build a fire department to house it.
The group has a piece of donated property for the fire department, but it needs to be surveyed, which costs about $5,000, Newell said.
He says they may be able to provide service next summer, but until a building is established, they will not be able to give fire protection in the winters.
“It will probably be a few years before everything is in place, but we’re just going to gradually move through the things that we can.
“Hopefully we’ll have enough money together to start construction in the spring of next year,” he said.