Brigade cel­e­brates two years

MHA says Bay de Grave depart­ment among best in the prov­ince

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYTERRYROBERTS THE COM­PASS

Deal­ing with tragedy

Mem­bers of the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment had plenty of rea­son to cel­e­brate dur­ing their fire­fight­ers’ ball on April 21.

In the two short years since it was ac­ti­vated, the depart­ment has dou­bled its mem­ber­ship, re­lent­lessly pur­sued train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, re­sponded to many dozens of emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, and ex­panded its in­ven­tory of equip­ment, in­clud­ing the pur­chase of Jaws of Life ex­tri­ca­tion tools.

It has also wel­comed its sec­ond fe­male mem­ber, be­come a strong, uni­fy­ing pres­ence in the re­gion it serves, and earned the con­fi­dence and re­spect of those who have been on the re­ceiv­ing end of their pro­fes­sion­al­ism, ded­i­ca­tion and ex­per­tise.

In fact, Har­bour Main MHA and Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Tom Hed­der­son de­scribed it as “the top notch fire brigade in all of the prov­ince, bar none,” dur­ing a speech at the April 21 ball, which was held at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion in Bri­gus.

But a tragic house fire in Clarke’s Beach a few days ear­lier cast some­what of a cloud over the for­mal­i­ties.

Fresh on ev­ery­one’s minds was the death of an el­derly Clarke’s Beach woman, who per­ished April 18 in a dra­matic house fire that also saw a mem­ber of the depart­ment, Makin­sons res­i­dent Boyd Hur­ley, sus­tain a se­ri­ous leg in­jury.

It was the depart­ment’s sec­ond ma­jor fire call that week, and its first-ever fatal­ity.

The in­ci­dent set the tone for the evening as speak­ers of­fered sym­pa­thies to the fam­ily of the late Dorothy Lor­raine An­thony, who lived at the corner of Shaw’s and Meadow lanes with her hus­band, Clay­ton. Clay­ton es­caped the blaze, but was hos­pi­tal­ized to be treated for com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to smoke in­hala­tion.

Fire broke out at the home at mid-morn­ing, and quickly en­gulfed the two storey dwelling. By the time fire­fight­ers ar­rived, it was too late to at­tempt any life-sav­ing mea­sures.

It was the first fire-re­lated fatal­ity in the area in many years, and re­in­forced the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a highly trained and mo­ti­vated vol­un­teer fire brigade, said Hed­der­son.

Both Hed­der­son and fel­low MHA Glenn Lit­tle­john (Port de Grave) pledged to work closely with the brigade to en­sure the re­sources are avail­able to “de­liver the re­sources you need to carry out this very valu­able work.”

Rec­og­niz­ing Hur­ley at a nearby ta­ble, with crutches by his side and his right foot hid­den un­der a med­i­cal brace, Hed­der­son re­marked: “I came to re­al­ize what you peo­ple have to face ev­ery day, day in an day out. And Boyd, it could have been much worse.”

Ex­cep­tional lead­er­ship

The Bay de Grave brigade is no stranger to ad­ver­sity. A few weeks af­ter it was ac­ti­vated, long­time fire­fighter and Cupids town coun­cil­lor Frank Bishop Jr. died trag­i­cally in a plane crash in Labrador on April 18, 2010. Bishop was in­stru­men­tal in the cre­ation of Bay de Grave, and served many years with the for­mer Cupids brigade.

“If ad­ver­sity builds char­ac­ter, you have to be the strong­est char­ac­ters I know,” Hed­der­son added.

Hed­der­son said Chief Jeremy Hall dis­played such char­ac­ter dur­ing me­dia in­ter­views fol­low­ing the April 18 tragedy in Clarke’s Beach.

“I think all of us should be proud of the lead­er­ship Jeremy shows,” said Hed­der­son.

The brigade is ad­min­is­tered by the Bay de Grave re­gional mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices cor­po­ra­tion, which is led by board chair and Makin­sons res­i­dent Ju­nior Tay­lor.

Tay­lor ac­knowl­edged “there have been prob­lems, maybe more than peo­ple want” along the way, but de­scribed the past year as a suc­cess, and of­fered best wishes to the depart­ment in the fu­ture.

With the re­gion con­tin­u­ing to grow and pros­per, Chief Hall said he ex­pects things to get even busier for the brigade in the com­ing years.

But Hall said he would “go any­where” with his fel­low fire­fight­ers, and ref­er­enced a slo­gan he sported re­cently on a t-shirt, which read: “Send us to hell and we’ll put that out too.”

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ef­forts to ac­quire a new res­cue ve­hi­cle for the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment got off to a unique start April 21. Ju­nior Tay­lor (left), who chairs the board that over­sees the brigade, was pre­sented with a fire truck coin box dur­ing the fire­fight­ers’ ball. Af­ter­wards, Tay­lor and Chief Jeremy Hall stood by as Har­bour Main MHA Tom Hed­der­son (sec­ond from left), Avalon MP Scott An­drews and Port de Grave MHA Glenn Lit­tle­john (sec­ond from right) sym­bol­i­cally dropped coins into the bank. The brigade is lob­by­ing for cost-shared fund­ing from the prov­ince, and is hop­ing for more than sym­bol­ism in the near fu­ture.

Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Mem­bers of the Wild­fires ladies’ group with the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment in­clude: Front (l-r) – Ni­c­hole Whif­fen, Rhonda Ed­munds, De­nielle Bussey, Deb­bie Hall, Re­nee Hur­ley, Win­nie Bishop, Pauline Mur­phy and Tanya Bishop; back – Ash­ley Lynch, Shari Porter, Jes­sica Boyd, Sonya Ped­dle, Rowena Nor­man, Tanya Snow and Va­lerie Butt. Miss­ing were: Ber­nice Bishop, Char­maine Akerman, Tracey Moore, Brit­tany Clarke, Am­ber Samms, Linda Kennedy, Bev Pet­ten, Jen­nie Ed­munds and Crys­tal Web­ber.

Re­ceiv­ing ser­vice awards dur­ing the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment’s an­nual fire­fight­ers’ ball were, from left, Rod­ney Nor­man, An­drew Bishop and Greg Bishop (five years), David Ped­dle (10 years), and Jim Youden (15 years).

Seven new mem­bers of the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment were sworn in dur­ing the an­nual fire­fight­ers’ ball on April 21. They in­clude, from left, Na­dine Bishop, Ger­ald Ben­nett, Bill Dixon, Adam But­ler, Calvin Snow, Lloyd Boyd and Justin Stone.

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