Hyde Creek fire status switched

Hyde Creek's volunteer fire department will continue to offer interior attack services.

The Hyde Creek Volunteer Fire Department will continue to offer interior attack services.

The issue arose in June when Regional District of Mount Waddington Manager of Operations Patrick Donaghy attempted to have a motion approved that would make the Hyde Creek department’s level of service ‘interior’, while the Woss, Sointula and Coal Harbour fire departments would be ‘exterior’.

Area C Director Andrew Hory voted against the motion in June.

“I simply don’t think that they have the membership numbers,” to have the higher designation, Hory said at the time.

Hyde Creek Fire Chief Cam Brady, Port McNeill Fire Chief Tasos Baroutis and Deputy Chief Dean Tait appeared at the Sept. 20 RDMW board meeting to make a case for why Hyde Creek should be interior attack, when, and if, it is safe, and appropriate, to do so.

Brady told the board of directors that Hyde Creek currently has 14 members and two new recruits are coming on board.

Four of the members have more than 20 years’ experience, and five have 10 years or more experience.

Brady, and one other member, also have 15 years’ experience in wild land firefighting including interface fires.

Ten members, said Brady, have been through live fire training for interior attack in Comox or Nanaimo and training is ongoing. Hyde Creek works very closely with the Port McNeill department, said Brady.

“It’s really important that they’re trained to the same level,” said Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland.

“By having Hyde Creek being interior, it completes the Port McNeill level of service if we have a structural fire,” Donaghy said at the June meeting.

The board approved allowing Hyde Creek to be designated interior attack “subject to Port McNeill maintaining that level of service.”

“If communities want their fire departments to provide the highest possible service, we need a lot more dedicated, trained volunteers so that a proper response is possible when 911 is contacted about an emergency,” said Donaghy in an interview.