Big happy fam­ily

Re­fur­bished pumper truck wel­comed back as part of the Deer Lake Fire Res­cue fam­ily

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW ROGERS SPE­CIAL TO THE WESTERN STAR Lt. An­drew Rogers is the pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer for Deer Lake Fire Res­cue.

Meet some of the proud mem­bers of Deer Lake Fire Res­cue.

DEER LAKE, N.L. — Don Rowsell serves along­side two of his sons with Deer Lake Fire Res­cue, but it was an­other old ac­quain­tance that re­cently lit up his face.

The 47-year vet­eran of the de­part­ment was the clear choice to get to be the first per­son to drive Pumper 1, the 1952 GMC Maple Leaf firetruck that had served the de­part­ment well for 47 years un­til it was re­tired in 1999.

The old truck had been taken off the road in 2000 with the goal of re­fur­bish­ing it. The project fell to the way­side un­til a cou­ple of years ago when Deer Lake town coun­cil de­cided to get it back on track.

The re­con­di­tioned rig was fi­nally de­liv­ered back to its orig­i­nal users in Oc­to­ber.

Rowsell, who joined the de­part­ment in May 1972, has held the rank of lieu­tenant, cap­tain and deputy chief and has served on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee as the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer and sec­re­tary.

Still quite ac­tive in the de­part­ment, he shows up for ev­ery train­ing sce­nario and re­sponds to calls with as much pas­sion as ever. He’s op­er­ated ev­ery truck the fire de­part­ment has ever used and is the go-to guy for op­er­at­ing the pumpers and wa­ter flows, keep­ing up with the chang­ing tech­nol­ogy he’s seen.

The look on his face when he got to see and drive Pumper 1 again was price­less. Ev­ery fire­fighter in at­ten­dance gave the mo­ment the re­spect it was due.

Rowsell’s two sons, Ja­son and Stephen, are also mem­bers of Deer Lake Fire Res­cue, with 23 and 18 years of ser­vice, re­spec­tively.

Ja­son re­sponded to calls on Pumper 1 be­fore it was de­com­mis­sioned. He was just as ex­cited as his fa­ther to see it fi­nally run­ning again.

Stephen may not have re­sponded to calls on the old pumper, but he re­mem­bers get­ting to ride in it as a kid. It had al­ready been taken out of ser­vice and was slated to be re­built when he joined in 2001.

“I can re­mem­ber be­ing prob­a­bly four years old and, at the time, the fire­fight­ers had to do truck checks on their own,” said Stephen. “Ev­ery­one took a turn. Dad and an­other fire­fighter took me out on a ride to give her a run and I couldn’t even see over the dash. I had to move over to one side ev­ery time he had to change a gear.”

The fire­fight­ing tra­di­tion in the Rowsell fam­ily is likely to con­tinue for some time to come. Stephen’s 15-year-old son Colin joined the de­part­ment’s Ju­nior Fire­fighter Pro­gram this year af­ter spend­ing plenty of time at the fire hall with his dad, un­cle and grand­fa­ther.


The 1952 GMC Maple Leaf truck known to Deer Lake Fire Res­cue as Pumper 1 has been fully re­stored and re­turned to the fire de­part­ment.


Fire­fight­ing is a fam­ily tra­di­tion for the Rowsells of Deer Lake. Fire­fighter Don Rowsell, mid­dle, is flanked by his two fire­fight­ing sons, from left, Deputy Chief Stephen Rowsell and Cap­tain Ja­son Rowsell.


Vet­eran fire­fighter Don Rowsell was the first mem­ber of Deer Lake Fire Res­cue to sit be­hind the wheel of the re­fur­bished Pumper 1.

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