Two North Island Fire Chiefs will be stepping down from their positions.
Cam Brady has resigned as the Chief of Hyde Creek Volunteer Fire Department effective Aug. 10, 2017, and after more than a decade of service, Brad Galeazzi will also be stepping down from his position as Fire Chief for Woss Volunteer Fire Department.
“It’s been a really tough year for fire departments,” said Operations Manager Patrick Donaghy at the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s Aug. 15 board meeting. “We have had four chief changes between the regional district and the municipal fire departments.”
Donaghy said both Brady and Galeazzi have provided “outstanding service for the North Island and are highly respected among their peers.”
He made the request that the district write a letter to thank them for their years of service which has been “extraordinary.”
Port Hardy Coun. John Tilbury made the motion, which was quickly seconded by Chair Andrew Hory.
“Right now I am attending one practice a month with Woss – that department, especially with the train accident, was hit very hard,” said Donaghy.
In April of 2017, a train derailed on the Englewood Railway, which is a 90-kilometre logging line that runs from Vernon Lake, through Woss, and past Nimpkish Lake Provincial Park to Beaver Cove.
The train was in a reload yard when it suddenly rolled down the tracks colliding with a maintenance car where five men were working.
Woss Fire Chief Brad Galeazzi’s son died at the scene.
“No one is ready to step up to be the chief, so the staff is trying to work very hard upgrading their equipment and helping them with their training,” said Donaghy, continuing “we are setting achievable goals with them now to get the full capacity for structural fire protection of the community of Woss.”
He mentioned Port McNeill Fire Rescue has been “doing great work” supporting the Woss Volunteer Fire Department and filling in the gaps in service.
“In regards to Hyde Creek, it’s a very experienced department, so the deputy chief Doug Von Schilling is stepping forward,” Donaghy said, noting Schilling has been the chief for 20 years prior to Cam.
“It just gives you an idea of the age of some of these departments when someone who has been the chief for 20 years takes 10 years off and is coming back in,” said Donaghy.
He concluded with, “we all are working with our departments and it’s a very trying time.”