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The Township of Severn Fire Chief Tim Cranney was just six years old when the Township of Orillia built a second station. It wasn’t long before his father and two uncles joined the company, creating some fond early memories for Cranney of hanging out at the station, watching the firefighters do nonemergency activities. These recollections were so indelible that he later joined up with the department. Thirty-seven years later, Cranney has never looked back.

In 1994, the name of the Township of Orillia station was changed to the Township of Severn, where Cranney has served as Chief for the past seven years. What Cranney appreciates most about his work is meeting new people and creating lifelong friendships with members of the community he serves. He says he has many favorite memories during his successful career, but one that stands out is his joining the Simcoe County Fire Chiefs Association where he has had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conferences and seminars. Cranney oversees seventy-nine department members, of which most are volunteer firefighters. The fire halls consist of four stations—one six-bay, one four-bay, one three-bay, and a two-bay station. This month, we are pleased to spotlight Cranney and the Township of Severn Fire Department.

Tell me a little about your community.

Located in the northern corner of Simcoe County, the Township of Severn is 90 minutes north of Toronto and is considered the gateway to the Canadian Shield. It is a municipality with several small communities within its boundaries and covers 550 square kilometers. The population is currently about 13,400. There are three major highways that run through the Township of Severn: Highway 400, Highway 11, and Highway 12. There are two major railroads that cross the township, CN and CP. Part of the Trent-Severn Waterway borders the northern part of Severn.

Does the population increase in the summer?

There is a slight increase in population in the summer, although over the last two years, we have seen an increase in residents staying year-round in their cottages.

What percentage of the region is rural/industrial/commercial?

Severn is mostly rural with approximately 13,700 hectares of Crown Land at the northern end of the community. There is a large area of farmland in the center and then there are the residential areas. There are three large limestone quarries within the rural area. The residential areas have smaller commercial buildings within their boundaries, and there is one large mall in the community with several stores. The industrial businesses consist of one large factory that produces kitchen sinks and several smaller light-industrial companies throughout the municipality.

Are there any unique qualities of Severn that present challenges in fighting fires?

The large amount of Crown Land, the Provincial highways, the rail lines, and Trent-Severn Waterway all present unique challenges. There are agreements in place to assist Severn when dealing with incidents in these areas.

What is the greatest challenge you face currently in your department?

Recruitment and retention of volunteer staff is the greatest challenge for Severn. That has been even more difficult with Covid-19. In spite of the pandemic, there is a recruit class every year.

How many fire trucks does your department run?

We currently have eleven pieces of apparatus in Severn with four pumpers—three on a custom cab and chassis and one on a commercial cab and chassis. There are three 2500 tankers on custom cab and chassis, plus two small rescues and a third small rescue on order. Finally, there are two pick-ups, a UTV, and an enclosed trailer to transport the UTV.

What is the main challenge you face regarding your firetrucks?

The main challenge for Severn regarding the apparatus is the cost of maintenance. Severn does not have a mechanic on staff, so all repairs and service are done by outside agencies. This adds extra hours to staff time to arrange repairs and service.

Tell us about your experience with Metalfab.

To date, the experience with Metalfab has been good, and they have been easy to work with. We have had some specific requirements with the apparatus we have purchased, and they always work with us to accommodate those specifications.

When was your first truck purchased?

We purchased the first Metalfab pumper in 1997. It was a five-seat commercial pumper/tanker.

How many Metalfab trucks have you purchased?

The Township of Severn has purchased seven trucks from Metalfab.

What do you like about working with Metalfab?

We have a good relationship with the staff. From working with the salespeople to speaking to the technical advisors, they are always just a phone call away to answer any questions. Metalfab has reasonable prices and quality workmanship. We look forward to an ongoing relationship.


Bring Your Vision to Life with Metalfab

Thank you to Tim Cranney of the Township of Severn Fire Department for interviewing with Metalfab’s Business Development Manager, Ryan Stacey. If your department is looking to bring your own visions for a custom fire truck to life, our Metalfab team would love to hear from you. Give us a call at 1-800-561-0012 or contact Ryan directly at to get started.