It’s been a busy year for the Placentia Volunteer Fire Department, as usual. The department held its annual dinner and dance at the Freshwater Community Centre on Nov. 17 to celebrate its work over the year and to thank all the volunteers who help make it possible.
Fire Chief Wayne Power Sr. was honoured by the department for the 40 years he’s already put into serving the Placentia area through his role as fire chief and firefighter.
Placentia town councilor Kevin Power presented Fire Chief Power with a gift of appreciation from the town, and Deputy Chief Lorne Collins presented a plaque to the long-serving chief acknowledging and thanking him for his years of service but also ribbing him a bit about the length of time he’s served, noting a new disabled parking spot at the fire hall will ensure he gets to stay another 40 years or so. Fire Chief Power began working at the department in 1972 and by 1979 was promoted to Fire Chief.
Other presentations were made to firefighters Danny Walsh, who received a five-year service award, and to Val Careen for serving 30 years as a volunteer firefighter.
The Fire Chief presented his report from 2012 and noted there were nine structural fires to which they were called, four chimney fires, only one vehicle fire, eight brush fires, four flooding calls, 17 wind-related calls connected to Tropical Storm Leslie, one call for medical assistance, eight security system calls, seven false alarms and two motor vehicle accidents for a total of 68 calls throughout the year.
As well, he noted, they participated in the Santa Claus parade, Remembrance Day events, Canada Day events, the Pumpkin Patrol, 350th celebration events, the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in the town square and many more activities that take place in the town of Placentia.
Chief Power thanked everyone in attendance for the fuss they made over him that night noting how nice it was to be appreciated. He commented on how he got into the line of work, through working in Argentia at the base years ago, and said he was probably born to do the job.
“It’s been a good run,” he said, “but I’ve worked with a lot of good people over the years and you’re only as successful as those under your command.”
He’s worked hard to get the department the things he felt they deserved to have to fight fires because, as he said, be “believes fire fighters should have the very best” to do the work they are trained to do.
He noted they are working on getting a new fire truck that’s been in the works for three years, and he said he’s not giving up, especially when other communities got trucks when their oldest truck was still younger than the newest with the Placentia department.
He also noted a story in the news recently about how new homes burn faster because of the materials they are built with, which he said is a good reason why he wants better equipment to better deal with the new circumstances firefighters face.
He also noted the increase in hurricanes and tropical storms in the area with Chantal, Igor, Bill, and this year, Leslie, and noted a lot of what they are facing now may come from storm surges and what he called “the wrath of mother nature.”
But, he said the firefighters were doing something right since there was not one fatality this year and no personal injury issues.
He thanked his family and the families of all the firefighters for their patience dealing with loved ones who get called away at a moments notice, all the staff and firefighters, the town councilors staff of the town, the ladies auxiliary and the residents of Placentia and area.
Senator Fabian Manning was a late attendee of the dinner and dance, but a very welcome one, as he brought the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal to present to Fire Chief Power.
He said he spent 15 years on the fire department in his St. Bride’s home, and fully understands the dedication and commitment needed to volunteer for a fire department, and so he was pleased to present the medal to the Fire Chief, and also to Sandra Power, the wife of the Fire Chief for her volunteerism and support to the department.