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Community recognizes Burin Fire Department


Up to 1961 the Town of Burin and its neighbours relied on “a couple of portable pumps and a few links of hoses” for fire protection. Today the volunteer fire department boasts some of the most modern fire trucks and emergency response vehicle, as well as firefighting equipment with its 29-member force.

BY GEORGE MACVICAR

The Southern Gazette

Up to 1961 the Town of Burin and its neighbours relied on “a couple of portable pumps and a few links of  hoses” for fire protection.

Today the volunteer fire department boasts some of the most modern fire trucks and emergency response vehicle, as well as firefighting equipment with its 29-member force.

The Burin department celebrated its 50th anniversary Oct. 29 with a number of Fire Chiefs, including the first Chief Ephraim Matthews. Two other founding members joined the celebrations – long time Assistant Fire Chief Jim Reddy and Firefighter Clayton Moulton.

The longest serving Burin Fire Chief Clarence Mitchell (18 years) outlined the history of the department from its origins in the spring of 1961 when the council of the day organized a committee to assess the community’s firefighting needs.

“Once organized the department held monthly meetings and served as the only fire department for Burin, Port au Bras and from Epworth to Fox Cove-Mortier.”

The fire department was housed in the Seahorse Dive Club building in Old Burin at the outset and is now situated in the Burin Town Hall in Salmonier.

Mr. Mitchell said the department relied first on telephone operators to relay fire calls from residents and then a system was established where fire calls were routed to members’ homes. Now a paging system is used to respond to fire alerts.

“The Burin department was runner-up for the province’s ‘Department of the Year’ in 1983, and second runner-up in 1980 and 1989, before being awarded the ‘Arthur Johnson Memorial Citation’ in 1990 as the winning department.

“The department has also been the recipient of a number provincial Fire Prevention awards.”

He noted the department had come full circle in its coverage area after fire departments in Lewin’s Cove and Fox Cove-Mortier were no longer operating.

“On October 14, 2011, a new emergency measures plan was adopted which means the Burin Volunteer Fire Department is now responsible for fire protection services not only in Burin but also Fox Cove-Mortier, Lewin’s Cove, Big Salmonier and Epworth.”

Port au Bras, which amalgamated with the Town of Burin about 10 years ago is also included in the coverage as it was when the Burin department was organized half a century ago.

Former Mayors Don Hollett and Jerry Appleby joined current Mayor Kevin Lundrigan and Random-Burin-St. George’s MP Judy Foote for the celebration. Fox Cove-Mortier Wanda Antle and Lewin’ Cove Mayor Bill Wakeley attended the banquet as well.

Present Chief Jody Hayse, in his annual report, noted fire related calls in the past year had fallen to just eight compared to 19 the previous year. Among the callouts were two residence fires, three chimney fires, one vehicle fire and one pole fire.

And added to the department’s recent duties, there was one water rescue.

Mr. Hayse said “It’s gratifying to know we helped somebody, although  we don’t want to use our equipment only for training.”

Besides fire responses, the department involved itself in numerous community activities throughout the year and prided itself in the annual Fire Prevention Week program in which members visited Donald C. Jamieson Academy and hosted an Open House to display its firefighting equipment.

For the second year in a row the department selection a youth to be ‘Fire Chief for a Day’ as part of Fire Prevention Week. This year selection was Kelsey Ross.

Mayor Lundrigan called the 50th anniversary celebrations “a remarkable achievement. I want to thank the founding members for their foresight and dedication.

“Our current members are well trained. But what is remarkable, you do it as volunteers.”

He reiterated council’s long time support of the fire department and presented a $2,000 defibrillator to Chief Hayse.

MP Foote acknowledged the department had reached “an incredible milestone” and noted it was fire department invitations she always tried to respond “to come and say thank you.

“More often than not you put your lives at risk or on the line” for your communities.

The Burin firefighters made a $1,000 donation to Muscular Dystrophy, as the department had done since 1970 bringing its total contribution to $33,208.

The Burin Sparkettes made another of their ongoing contributions, $1,000, to the department to assist in equipment purchases.

The department presented certificates of appreciations to councils, businesses and service groups for their support over the years. In turn, a number of cheques were turned over to the department by those recognized, including $2,560 from Christmas Island Productions.

editor@southerngazette.ca

BY GEORGE MACVICAR

The Southern Gazette

Up to 1961 the Town of Burin and its neighbours relied on “a couple of portable pumps and a few links of  hoses” for fire protection.

Today the volunteer fire department boasts some of the most modern fire trucks and emergency response vehicle, as well as firefighting equipment with its 29-member force.

The Burin department celebrated its 50th anniversary Oct. 29 with a number of Fire Chiefs, including the first Chief Ephraim Matthews. Two other founding members joined the celebrations – long time Assistant Fire Chief Jim Reddy and Firefighter Clayton Moulton.

The longest serving Burin Fire Chief Clarence Mitchell (18 years) outlined the history of the department from its origins in the spring of 1961 when the council of the day organized a committee to assess the community’s firefighting needs.

“Once organized the department held monthly meetings and served as the only fire department for Burin, Port au Bras and from Epworth to Fox Cove-Mortier.”

The fire department was housed in the Seahorse Dive Club building in Old Burin at the outset and is now situated in the Burin Town Hall in Salmonier.

Mr. Mitchell said the department relied first on telephone operators to relay fire calls from residents and then a system was established where fire calls were routed to members’ homes. Now a paging system is used to respond to fire alerts.

“The Burin department was runner-up for the province’s ‘Department of the Year’ in 1983, and second runner-up in 1980 and 1989, before being awarded the ‘Arthur Johnson Memorial Citation’ in 1990 as the winning department.

“The department has also been the recipient of a number provincial Fire Prevention awards.”

He noted the department had come full circle in its coverage area after fire departments in Lewin’s Cove and Fox Cove-Mortier were no longer operating.

“On October 14, 2011, a new emergency measures plan was adopted which means the Burin Volunteer Fire Department is now responsible for fire protection services not only in Burin but also Fox Cove-Mortier, Lewin’s Cove, Big Salmonier and Epworth.”

Port au Bras, which amalgamated with the Town of Burin about 10 years ago is also included in the coverage as it was when the Burin department was organized half a century ago.

Former Mayors Don Hollett and Jerry Appleby joined current Mayor Kevin Lundrigan and Random-Burin-St. George’s MP Judy Foote for the celebration. Fox Cove-Mortier Wanda Antle and Lewin’ Cove Mayor Bill Wakeley attended the banquet as well.

Present Chief Jody Hayse, in his annual report, noted fire related calls in the past year had fallen to just eight compared to 19 the previous year. Among the callouts were two residence fires, three chimney fires, one vehicle fire and one pole fire.

And added to the department’s recent duties, there was one water rescue.

Mr. Hayse said “It’s gratifying to know we helped somebody, although  we don’t want to use our equipment only for training.”

Besides fire responses, the department involved itself in numerous community activities throughout the year and prided itself in the annual Fire Prevention Week program in which members visited Donald C. Jamieson Academy and hosted an Open House to display its firefighting equipment.

For the second year in a row the department selection a youth to be ‘Fire Chief for a Day’ as part of Fire Prevention Week. This year selection was Kelsey Ross.

Mayor Lundrigan called the 50th anniversary celebrations “a remarkable achievement. I want to thank the founding members for their foresight and dedication.

“Our current members are well trained. But what is remarkable, you do it as volunteers.”

He reiterated council’s long time support of the fire department and presented a $2,000 defibrillator to Chief Hayse.

MP Foote acknowledged the department had reached “an incredible milestone” and noted it was fire department invitations she always tried to respond “to come and say thank you.

“More often than not you put your lives at risk or on the line” for your communities.

The Burin firefighters made a $1,000 donation to Muscular Dystrophy, as the department had done since 1970 bringing its total contribution to $33,208.

The Burin Sparkettes made another of their ongoing contributions, $1,000, to the department to assist in equipment purchases.

The department presented certificates of appreciations to councils, businesses and service groups for their support over the years. In turn, a number of cheques were turned over to the department by those recognized, including $2,560 from Christmas Island Productions.

editor@southerngazette.ca

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