Twenty years united, 200 years of history
Placentia fire department honours members for dedication and service
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.
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.
Fire Chief Wayne Power Sr. receives $1,000 from the ladies auxiliary president Jennifer Power.