New fire chief in Car­bon­ear

Time was ‘just right’ for Brent Sweeney to take the reigns


When Brent Sweeney gets up each day, climbs into his cov­er­alls and heads to the Town of Car­bon­ear work de­pot to begin his shift, he knows there’s a chance he will get a call for a fire.

The 45-year-old hus­band and fa­ther of two young daugh­ters has been a vol­un­teer fire­fighter with the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment for the past two decades.

On Wed­nes­day, Feb. 11, Sweeney was named the depart­ment’s new­est chief. He suc­ceeds Ed Ka­vanagh, who has opted to takeover the trea­surer’s po­si­tion.

Prior to be­ing named chief, Sweeney was the first as­sis­tant. Adam Earle now fills that role. Re­spect for for­mer chief For the past five years, the depart­ment has been for­tu­nate enough to re­ceive fund­ing and sup­port from dif­fer­ent lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

Ka­vanagh was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind get­ting a new aerial truck for the depart­ment in 2011, an equip­ment van in 2013 and fund­ing for up­grades to the aging fire hall.

Sweeney ad­mits he could never fully fill Ka­vanagh’s shoes.

“We’re never go­ing to be able to re­place Ed,” Sweeney ex­plained. “He was an ex­cel­lent chief.”

With the change in lead­er­ship, Sweeney noted things have been run­ning smoothly and he will con­tinue on the same path as his pre­de­ces­sor.

“I’m not go­ing to fix any­thing that isn’t bro­ken,” he said. “In my opin­ion, the hall is the best it has ever been.”

Although Ka­vanagh is not the chief any­more, he joins a long list of for­mer chiefs still serv­ing with the depart­ment, and Sweeney is happy he will be around if he needs any guid­ance.

“I have a lot of re­spect for Ed and what he has done for this depart­ment,” he said. “And we are very lucky he has de­cided to stay on in the ca­pac­ity of trea­surer.”

Un­der Ka­vanagh’s reign, the depart­ment se­cured pur­chases in ex­cess of $1.5 mil­lion with as­sis­tance from the town, fundrais­ers and a cost-shar­ing agree­ment with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment. Car­bon­ear coun­cil is also the main source of in­come for the depart­ment.

Although Sweeney doesn’t want to make many changes to the depart­ment, there are a few things he is in­sis­tent to keep front and cen­tre. Com­mu­nity in­volve­ment is at the top of that list.

When he signed up for the depart­ment 20 years ago, it was for just that rea­son.

“I saw it as a way to help in my com­mu­nity,” he ex­plained. “And I knew a lot of the guys who were al­ready vol­un­teer­ing. I just felt like it was some­thing I was ca­pa­ble of do­ing.”

On the night of the ex­ec­u­tive elec­tions, that feel­ing was re­it­er­ated by all in at­ten­dance.

For the first time in a long time, ev­ery mem­ber was on hand for the meet­ing. Each one wanted their say in who would take them into the next two years. One of the im­por­tant things Sweeney con­tin­ued to ad­dress was the morale in the depart­ment.

“The morale here is spot on, the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment here is spot on,” he said. “We hope to con­tinue with both, and keep the depart­ment strong with our 175th an­niver­sary next year.”

I’m not go­ing to fix any­thing that isn’t bro­ken. In my opin­ion, the hall is the best it has ever been.

Fire Chief Brent Sweeney

Mem­bers of the new ex­ec­u­tive in­clude chief Brent Sweeney, first as­sis­tant Adam Earle, Keith Keough sec­ond as­sis­tant, cap­tains Jeff Squibb and Ed­die Wrice, Lt. Steve Bar­rett and Scott Mullins, trea­surer and past chief Ed Ka­vanagh and Sec­re­tary Ken Burke.

To read more about the new chief ’s ex­pec­ta­tions, his fam­ily, and fire depart­ment cel­e­bra­tions planned for later this year, check out an ex­tended ver­sion of this story at www.cb­n­com­


Brent Sweeney is Car­bon­ear’s new­est fire chief.

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