Sommers Generator Arrives Just in Time for Storm-Stricken Community

Timing is everything. Just ask Brent Goodwin, Fire chief and director of public works for the rural village of Rexton, New Brunswick.

For years, acquiring a generator for the fire hall was part of the disaster plan for Goodwin’s community, which like so many in the Canadian Maritimes is hit almost each year with power outages due to severe storms. But, as with most small municipalities, the generator represented a notable expense that could fall out of the budget each year. In 30-plus years in the fire department, Mr. Goodwin had experienced many power outages of a day or even parts of 2 days, so getting by without a generator had become a fact of life.

Not this year. With funding support in place from community organizations, the Rexton Fire Department acquired a 30 kW generator by Sommers Generator Systems located in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Then, just 2 weeks after the new generator was delivered, installed and tested, the biggest power outage in Goodwin’s life hit Rexton and much of the province.

“This ice storm was quite a different ball of wax. A lot of places were without power for almost 2 weeks. In the area surrounding the fire hall, we were probably the only ones who had power for 2 days,” says Brent Goodwin, whose department not only covers the village of about 1,000 residents, but a total of 120 km2.

The Rexton fire hall also serves as an emergency operations centre… and became the hub for residents from both within the fire department’s catchment area and beyond.

“This is not really a warming center,” explains Mr. Goodwin, “but it ended up being one because there were just so many places without power. Usually, these events are a little more isolated than the entire province practically being out of power, so this ended up being quite a big event for us. It was really busy for a few days. The fire hall went around the clock for days straight.”

Marc LeBlanc of Sommers Generator Systems had recommended that, instead of adding to the existing building, the Rexton Fire Department house the generator in an outside enclosure for a quieter operation.

While purchased to power the Fire Department specifically, it turns out the generator would be more than capable of servicing the entire building, which also houses a small ambulance detachment. Although powering all functions of the 700 m2 fire hall including in-floor heating, the mid-sized unit never went above 67% capacity, even when firefighters were filling their trucks with water via an in-house pump.

“Although not a huge generator, it is the right size for this very active building,” says Mr. LeBlanc.

In 3 days of continuous service, the Sommers generator only burned about 400 l of fuel.

Source: Sommers Generator Systems

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