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The team hard at work on the fire hall project. Left to right: truck operators from Hunts Concrete, volunteers Embry Oxford and Jamie Oxford, Fire Department member Morris Reid and volunteers Curtis Andrews and Brian Welshman
The team hard at work on the fire hall project. Left to right: truck operators from Hunts Concrete, volunteers Embry Oxford and Jamie Oxford, Fire Department member Morris Reid and volunteers Curtis Andrews and Brian Welshman - Contributed

Volunteers pitch in to complete fire hall extension

LITTLE BAY, N.L. — The positive stereotype of people in small towns coming together to accomplish big things is certainly true for the people of Little Bay, Beachside, St. Patrick’s and Coffee Cove.

Last year, the local Fire Department applied for funding to get a pumper truck. However, their application was turned down, partly because they didn’t have a fire hall that would accommodate a pumper truck.

That’s when Fire Chief Steve Walker and his team decided to forge ahead and build a fire hall, without government funding. 

Volunteers played a big role in the addition of the extension to the fire department building. Left to right are: chief Steve Walker, fire department members Andrew Walker and George Evans, and volunteer Gilbert Simms operating the excavator. - Contributed
Volunteers played a big role in the addition of the extension to the fire department building. Left to right are: chief Steve Walker, fire department members Andrew Walker and George Evans, and volunteer Gilbert Simms operating the excavator. - Contributed

“The men and women in our department have always tried their best to get what we needed,” Walker said. “It just took a stubborn guy like myself to go in and say, ‘We’re doing it’.”

The group started fundraising and calling in favours from people in the towns they serve.

With donations of time, money, equipment, materials and machinery, the communities rallied to help build an addition to their fire hall that would be suitable for a pumper truck

“We started the addition last July 7, and by the 5th of July this year the garage was complete,” Walker said. “There was no government funding as such for the building, we just did a whole lot of fundraising and got deals from local businesses.”

Nancy Bowers, Deputy Mayor of Beachside, is extremely impressed with the work the group has done.

“It’s amazing. It’s not every day that a group of small towns can come together and build a fire hall just like that,” Bowers said. “They did it all with donations and fundraising.”

She cited examples of where the help came from.

“In the spring, the church in Beachside had a fundraiser, and from the small population, mostly seniors, they raised $1200,” Bowers said, adding, “The Town of Beachside gave them $1,000.

“It’s unbelievable what they have done.” Bowers said.

Fire Chief Walker says the effort to build the addition to the fire hall helped to generate more interest and support for the volunteer Fire Department.

“In small communities, we struggle to get equipment and funding for equipment,” Walker said. “It seems like with the addition of the garage, there is more interest/support from the surrounding community.”

He noted over the last eight months the department has gained about a half dozen new members.

“I think it is because people see stuff getting done,” Walker said.

Deputy Chief Annette Colbourne is grateful for the hard work of the people in the department and in the communities they serve.

“It’s wonderful to see the amount of growth in our department over the last few years,” Colbourne said. “The amount of dedication, support and enthusiasm shown by not only the members of our department, but the surrounding communities as well, has been amazing.”

She said the department will continue to look for opportunities to further enhance the services they deliver to the communities they serve.

It turns out that the new addition to the fire hall has already opened the door to one opportunity to improve their fire fighting service.

The Little Bay and Area Fire Department got a pumper truck on July 24.

“Robert’s Arm got a new truck a couple of weeks ago, so we got their old pumper truck.” Walker said.

While the Department has accomplished great things in the past year, Walker says they are just getting started

“This is just the start of our big changes because now we have the space to get more equipment and do more training. It’s just like a domino effect.

“All our members are phenomenal,” Walker added. “We are all on the same page, we all want this for our community, with better equipment we can serve our community better.”

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