Nova Scotia

Sydney airport reinstates its own fire service

After close to 20 years without its own fire station, Sydney's J.A. Douglas McCurdy airport has one again. The airport has acquired two shiny, neon-green fire trucks and 11 maintenance staff have been trained as firefighters.

Increased air traffic causes J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport to bring back on-site equipment

Sydney airport CEO Helen MacInnis and firefighter Tom Aucoin are shown with one of two new airport fire trucks. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

After close to 20 years without its own fire station, Sydney's J.A. Douglas McCurdy airport has one again.

The airport has acquired two shiny, neon-green fire trucks and 11 maintenance staff have been trained as firefighters.

The Rosenbauer Panther 4x4 Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Vehicles can be operated by a single person, said Tom Aucoin, firefighter and working foreman 

"These two cannons you see on the front, they are all used by the driver, and they will expel every agent that is on the truck," he said.

Air traffic up 65% in 5 years

The specialized vehicles cost $1.7 million, and $900,000 was spent on a new building to house them.

Airport CEO Helen MacInnis said Transport Canada gave notice last year that an on-site fire service had become necessary again.

Traffic has increased at the Sydney airport. There are more charter flights, commuter traffic to and from Fort McMurray is up and WestJet has also increased its service.

"I think we were up 65 per cent in five years which was really significant," said MacInnis.

"I think, generally, more people are flying from Sydney and we are pleased to see that."

Service was eliminated in 1997

When the airport reached the passenger threshold of 180,000 passengers a year, it was required by regulation to reinstate the fire service.

The service was eliminated in 1997 when Transport Canada divested itself of the airport.

After that, the airport relied on the Reserve Mines volunteer fire department.

Now that department will assist the new fire service.