Twenty years united, 200 years of his­tory

Pla­cen­tia fire depart­ment hon­ours mem­bers for ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

For over 200 years, vol­un­teers have been pro­tect­ing the res­i­dents of the Pla­cen­tia Bay re­gion from fires.

To­day, that group —Pla­cen­tia Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment — is 30 men strong.

On Satur­day, Nov. 29, spouses, mu­nic­i­pal, provin­cial and fed­eral lead­ers and res­i­dents of the re­gion gath­ered to hon­our those fire­fight­ers who put their lives on the line ev­ery time an emer­gency calls comes in.

Fire chief Wayne Power Sr. gave his an­nual re­port to the crowd of some 150, with each per­son hang­ing on ev­ery word.

“It gives me great plea­sure tonight to stand here with such a great or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he said. “We have a lot to be proud of.”

Re­gion­al­iza­tion alive and well

This year, the depart­ment had 42 calls for as­sis­tance, some se­ri­ous. And it didn’t mat­ter if it was lo­cal or the next mu­nic­i­pal­ity over, the mem­bers were al­ways ready to help out when some­one was in need.

Power ex­plained that this year there were five struc­ture fires, with two out­side the vicin­ity — Collinet and Fox Har­bour. There were five car fires this year, with three out­side the town bound­aries. One moo­seve­hi­cle col­li­sion they re­sponded to was near Long Har­bour, which Power re­ferred to as se­ri­ous.

Some depart­ment mem­bers be­gan to nod as Power con­tin­ued to say they would go where they were needed.

“I am happy to re­port there was no per­sonal in­jury, and no loss of life,” he ex­claimed, with a big round of ap­plause com­ing from the crowd.

For lo­cal train­ing ex­er­cises and out-of-prov­ince ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing the depart­ment, some 1,400 man­hours were put into train­ing this past year.

Plenty of support

Up un­til 1994, the depart­ment re­lied on fundrais­ing each year to pay for equip­ment, ve­hi­cles and all other ne­ces­si­ties.

Many of the smaller towns in the re­gion amal­ga­mated at that time — in­clud­ing Dunville, Pla­cen­tia and Fresh­wa­ter — to cre­ate one in­di­vid­ual mu­nic­i­pal­ity. At that time, the depart­ment was awarded a bud­get to help with their ex­penses.

Since then, the town coun­cil has been a big part of keep­ing the depart­ment up­dated with the nec­es­sary equip­ment to do the job.

This past year, with the help of the town, the depart­ment pur­chased 10 new sets of bunker gear, gave the fire hall a few up­grades and pur­chased cold-wa­ter res­cue equip­ment.

Capt. Chris New­man is tak­ing on the role of cold-wa­ter res­cue in­struc­tor. When the equip­ment ar­rives, he’ll be­gin train­ing some mem­bers to do cold-wa­ter res­cues.

Given Pla­cen­tia is on the ocean’s edge and has a large pond used for the re­gatta in the sum­mer, the cold­wa­ter res­cue unit will ben­e­fit the depart­ment, said Power.

A lot of the depart­ment fund­ing for more ex­pen­sive up­grades re­lies on provin­cial fund­ing, so it is un­known at this time what the next new pieces of equip­ment will be.

But, one of the things on the to do list is to get win­dows in the garage doors of the firehall, some­thing chief Power has been an­tic­i­pat­ing for some time.

A con­cept was also done up to see what the new fire train­ing grounds would look like. That is still in the early stages.

Be­sides the as­sis­tance of the coun­cil, the ladies’ aux­il­iary has also been a big part of the depart­ment. It is made up of wives of cur­rent and hon­ourary fire­fight­ers.

Jen­nifer Power, the pres­i­dent of the group, pre­sented the fire chief with a cheque from var­i­ous fundrais­ers the group took part in over the last year.

They held a flea mar­ket — a rent a ta­ble bake sale — and plan to have another one this spring.

Power also ac­knowl­edged the women plant­ing a burn­ing bush in mem­ory of all the de­ceased mem­bers.

Award re­cip­i­ents

Sev­eral fire­fight­ers reached some big mile­stones this year.

Capt. Rod­ney Cooney has spent a quar­ter of a cen­tury vol­un­teer­ing with the depart­ment.

With 15 years each, Capt. David Power and fire­fighter John Barry both re­ceived pins and cer­tifi­cates for their ser­vice.

After a decade of fight­ing fires, Matthew Power was rec­og­nized for his 10 years with a pin and cer­tifi­cate as well, while Tyler Whiffen earned his five-year pin.

Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins, Avalon MP Scott An­drews and Pla­cen­tia Mayor Wayne Power Jr. were on hand for the pre­sen­ta­tions.

The Pla­cen­tia Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment hosted its an­nual fire­fighter’s din­ner and dance Nov. 29. Mem­bers of the depart­ment in­clude, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, Fire Chief Wayne Power Sr., Deputy Fire Chief Lorne Collins, Capt. Rod­ney Cooney, Capt. Paul Ker­rivan, Capt. Richard McGrath, Capt. Chris New­man, Capt. David Power, Mike Bar­nett, Tyler Bar­ron, John Barry, Jamie Bixby, Stephen Budden, Val Ca­reen, An­drew Coombs, Larry Flynn, Jamie Fo­ley, Todd Hat­field, Don Kelly, John King, Todd Led­well, Des Line­han, Bran­don McGrath, Brad Mul­rooney, Ger­ard O’Reilly, Matthew Power, Jeff Richard­son, Jerry Roche, Dan Walsh and Tyler Whiffen.

Cpt. Rod­ney Cooney (right) ac­cepts the 25-year provin­cial award for ded­i­cated fire­fight­ing ser­vice from Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins.

WO David Quilty (left), Sgt. TJ Schu­mann (sec­ond from left), WO Ali McGrath (sec­ond from right) and Master Cpl. Terra Wad­man take part in the flag cer­e­mony dur­ing the Pla­cen­tia Vol­un­teer Depart­ment’s an­nual fire­fighter’s din­ner and dance.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

Fire Chief Wayne Power Sr. re­ceives $1,000 from the ladies aux­il­iary pres­i­dent Jen­nifer Power.

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