Topley’s new fire hall is now close to completion, with its finishing touches expected to be completed by the end of summer.
The $300,000 project is the culmination of years of hard work, according to Topley fire chief Byron Sketchley.
“The process to get us to where we are now was long and required many hours of research, applications and building permit requirements,” he explained.
“The Topley Volunteer Fire Department (TVFD) has 20 dedicated members, all volunteers, putting in many hours of training and attending callouts,” continued Sketchley. “Without this dedication, TVFD would not be possible.”
“The TVDF has always had good support from the community,” he added. “Our slogan is ‘neighbours helping neighbours,’ and that is exactly what we do.”
The new fire hall has a 4000-square-feet main area, where all the firefighting apparatus is stored, and another 1000 square feet of space in a downstairs area, which has been divided into a training centre, washroom, laundry room and fire chief’s office.
Upstairs is an exercise area complete with weightlifting, treadmills, and other various physical fitness equipment, along with a washroom and shower.
“This fire hall gives us the space to store all of our apparatus in one building, and have extra room for a proper training centre and exercise area,” said Sketchley. “Thus enabling the members to be properly trained and able to respond in a timely manner to all community emergencies.”
The fire hall is situated centrally in the TVFD’s service area, on the corner of Hwy. 16 and Hwy. 118.
Although some items still need to be completed - such as two entry doors and three large windows - they are expected to be installed by mid-June.
“After that is some interior painting and flooring for the exercise area, which we will complete ourselves as time permits; that along with some ground work on our property,” added Sketchley.
“Hopefully we will be done before the end of summer.”
The building’s purchase price of $140,000 was mortgaged through the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. A further $140,000 was granted through the Federal Gas Tax Fund, and another $20,000 grant was provided by Dungate Community Forest.
The fire department is funded through taxation of all properties within their response area. The regional district collects this taxation on an annual basis and issues a monthly amount to the fire department for operational expenses.
Other purchases such as turnout gear, road rescue equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus and compressors are purchased with provincial Community Gaming Grants.
Operated by the Topley Fire Protection Society, the Topley Volunteer Fire Department provides services such as structural firefighting, medical first response, road rescue, volunteer firefighting training, and public fire safety education.