Indigenous firefighter in Comox aims to fight B.C. wildfires with custom fire truck


An Indigenous firefighter in Comox has a fire truck and is ready for hire.

He’s recently purchased a new, custom-built fire truck and he’s hoping to be among those protecting British Columbians from wildfires in the coming months.

“I thought that this was a great way that I can give back to the community and society in general and see if we can protect people’s property and other infrastructure in the province,” said Frank Assu, Owner of Lak’Was Wildfire Water Service Ltd.

Assu is a proud We Wai Kai First Nation member and with help from an Indigenous grant, has just recently received his firetruck that Fort Garry Fire Trucks custom-built in Manitoba.

One of its special features is that it can spread water while it drives.

“The truck they built is one-of-a-kind. They haven’t built one before and it’s rare in the fire service as well – as fire departments typically have water tenders but not tactical tenders,” said Assu.

The Comox resident says the fire truck can carry up to 9,000 litres of water.

Assu says he’s starting his business venture in wildfire fighting in part because of what he’s been noticing with weather patterns.

“Noticing the trends that our summers are starting earlier, going longer, and it’s getting warmer, whether or not we have heat domes,” he said. “It just seems we’re trending on a hot direction that’s not going to stop.”

Assu paid $500,000 for the truck two years ago and picked it up in Manitoba in June, before driving it back to Vancouver Island.

He would like to get a contract with the BC Wildfire Service and is also open to working for other First Nations wanting to protect their territories.

With international firefighters already in BC fighting fires and more on the way, Assu is optimistic he’ll be out on the front lines soon.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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