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.cbncompass.ca.
Brent Sweeney is Carbonear’s newest fire chief.