An Alberta firefighter who collects donated equipment for third-world countries is desperate for new space after the City of St. Albert took back its warehouse. 


Victor Fernandez collects used firefighting gear for fire services in Central and South America. (CBC)

Victor Fernandez received attention from across Canada — including home-reno celebrity Mike Holmes.

Fernandez was a finalist on CBC's Champions of Change last year for collecting and donating more than $3.5 million of firefighting equipment.

St. Albert has told Fernandez he can no longer store his used equipment in the old jail cells Fernandez has used for no charge up until now. 

"We all in this together," he said. "This is clear to me that, it's obvious, they don't get the message."

The city has a serious shortage of space and needs the room to store documents and artifacts, said spokesperson Maya Pungur-Buick.

"He's a very passionate about his cause and we applaud him for it," said Pungur-Buick. "Unfortunately, we can't continue to support him through free lease."

Fernandez says he needs new space urgently, otherwise equipment destined for needy departments will have to be thrown out.

Fernandez immigrated to Canada from Chile in the 1980s.

In 2000, he founded Canadian Aid for Fire Services Abroad (CAFSA), a non-profit group that gathers used firefighting gear and equipment to send to countries in need, mostly in Central and South America.

With files from CBC's Niall McKenna