The Sowchea Fire Hall is expanding to add to the services they can offer the area.

The Sowchea Fire Hall is expanding to add to the services they can offer the area.

Sowchea Fire Hall expansion

The Sowchea Fire Hall is being expanded to hopefully allow first responders in the area to provide better first aid coverage.

The Sowchea Fire Hall is being expanded to hopefully allow first responders in the area to provide better first aid coverage.

An additional parking bay would make it possible for a water tender and a first responder vehicle to be kept at the Sowchea hall.

The hall is located 15 kilometres from town on Sowchea Road at Luck Bay Road and was built in 2006 to improve response times and provide fire protection for the area, which is outside the municipality and in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District.

The fire department has a number of active firefighters who live near the second hall and the close proximity of firefighters means a fire engine can be on site in the Sowchea area within a few minutes, while a truck from town could take much longer.

“We’re able to respond in a fraction of the time,” said John Bennison of the Fort St. James Volunteer Fire Department.

The expansion to include a first responder vehicle, which will carry all necessary first aid supplies for serious emergency care, would provide for critical care such as an automated external defibrillator (AED) for those suffering heart attacks.

So far the project is estimated to cost $50,000, and Conifex and Apollo have already donated lumber for the project, and Russell Transfer and Newlands and Eldon Nordstrom have all helped out as well with the work which has been done up to this point.

Bennison estimates the firefighters will need about another $25,000 to complete the addition for tin for the roof, insulation and with the help of volunteer labour.

“It’s not a complicated structure,” he said.

BC Ambulance said they welcomed additional first responders in the area to help improve outcomes for patients.

Both the Sowchea and downtown fire halls respond to all the calls the fire department receives, and the department as a whole gets around 100 fire call-outs a year.