Mar­tel re­flects on 50 years of fire­fight­ing

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY - By Gor­don Lam­bie

Ge­orge Mar­tel says that it was the ex­cite­ment of fight­ing fires that first got him started on what ended up be­ing a 50-year ca­reer as a Len­noxville fire­fighter.

“I had some friends on there,” the re­tired fire­fighter said, re­call­ing that it was his best man who first made the con­nec­tion. “Ar­lie Fearon, he was the one who got me on.”

Mar­tel started with the Len­noxville vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers in 1964 and re­tired in 2014, and said that he saw a wide va­ri­ety of big and lit­tle in­ci­dents along the way. Asked about what in­ter­ven­tions stood out, the re­tired fire­fighter specif­i­cally men­tioned the night in Septem­ber of 2009 when the build­ing hous­ing Len­noxville’s Korvette store burned on Queen Street.

“That was a long night, that one” he said, ex­plain­ing that the depart­ment re­sponded first to an apart­ment fire on Col­lege Street near the cor­ner with Vaudry. Al­though the apart­ment fire was brought under con­trol and the build­ing saved, the two fires back-to back made things harder than usual. “We all got home and then got called again,” he con­tin­ued, adding that the fire that con­sumed the Korvette was a dif­fer­ent beast en­tirely.

Al­though peo­ple tend to think of fires when it comes to fire­fight­ers, Mar­tel pointed out that a lot of calls were ac­tu­ally to re­spond to car ac­ci­dents.

“I can't re­mem­ber them all,” he said. It is clear, how­ever, that what sticks with Mar­tel from his work is the com­mu­nity con­nec­tion that has been de­vel­oped and sup­ported through the work of the Len­noxville Vol­un­teer Fire­men's’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion worked hard, and it still does,” he said, point­ing to years of fundrais­ing that helped to sup­port both the depart­ment and com­mu­nity events like the visit of Santa Claus that still takes place ev­ery year. “We bought the truck, and the jaws of life. Once upon a time we bought a boat. All of that came from the com­mu­nity” he said.

Back row: Ter­rill Painter, Ge­orge Bealieu, Eric Nobes, John Ni­chol, Sam Bauer, Ste­wart Dea­con, Ge­orge Mar­tel, Ur­bain Cryan. Front row: Vel­more La­casse, Leon Fleck, Jim Laramee, Ira Whip­ple

5-b VIC­TO­RIA ST., KNOWL­TON, QUE­BEC, J0E 1V0 TEL: (450) 242-1188 FAX: (450) 243-5155 bc­n­news@qc.aibn.com

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