PETROLIA, ONT. -- It’s not every day that you call on the local fire department to help preserve a piece of local heritage.

But that’s what happened in the Town of Petrolia Wednesday when firefighters put their new ladder truck to work to help restore the much cherished stained glass rose windows in the Victoria Hall tower.

The custom-made windows were installed in the national historic site three decades ago after fire destroyed the original windows in the structure, which was 100 years old at the time.

But recently the replica windows have started cracking and showing signs of age.

Replacing the windows was ruled out as an option, so town officials decided to protect them with a coating.

A template was made of each window section, which was transferred to 3M shatterproof adhesives, and applied to each panel.

“What we call the rose windows were custom-made by a local gentleman and installed,” says Petrolia’s facilities manager, Dave Menzies.

“Cost-effectiveness would be to repair these windows instead of trying to actually get them re-designed and installed. So it's the best opportunity to preserve the windows on this national historic site.”

Menzies says the cost of the operation was less than $5,000 because they were able to employ the recently acquired ladder truck.

Firefighters went up in the bucket of the ladder truck and carefully applied the protective film to the windows.

Fire Chief Jay Arns said they were happy to take part, given the historical significance of the restoration. He added that they saw it as a great training opportunity.

“We get to help out with the maintenance of the building and in turn we get to put our truck in practice. We get to do some stick-work on the truck itself. And we get to put our high-angle rescue team to do some work as well, some additional training.”

They also repelled down one side of the tower to reach one window and part of another that were not accessible with the ladder.“It's very rare to be able to repel out of something as historic as this building,” says Arns.