New year, new fire chief

Liberated Leslie becomes Vanderhoof fire chief, with plans to make changes already in the work.

Ian Leslie (middle) was officially named Vanderhoof fire chief at the December council meeting

Ian Leslie (middle) was officially named Vanderhoof fire chief at the December council meeting

Liberated Leslie has official been sworn in as Vanderhoof’s new fire chief.

Ian Lesley, Vanderhoof’s fire chief effective Jan. 5 2015, was exalted during the District of Vanderhoof’s December council meeting. Two rows of fire fighter volunteers filled the back of council chambers, including former fire chief, Joe Pacheco, who proudly shook Mr. Lesley’s hand in congratulations. As did the rest of council and all fire crew members.

“It’s an incredibly good decision,” Gerry Thiessen said, mayor of Vanderhoof. “The security the fire department brings to the community is so important. The relationship of fire chief to the community attracts people with an interesting combination of responsibilities and Ian is so well accepted by the community, council and fire department volunteers. It’s an exciting time for council to see him make the decision to carry on with it.”

Starting out as a volunteer, Mr. Lesley has served the Vanderhoof fire department for over 36 years. He worked to fill the role of deputy chief for the last 20 years and progressed to serve as acting fire chief for the last seven months. With the confirmation of his new official title, he looks forward to getting the fire department back to a consistent strength with new procedures and training, Mr. Lesley said.

“The team we have is great, a real strong group of officers. The camaraderie is commendable, we all accept a challenge and it will be a great working relationship moving forward,” Mr. Lesley said. “I’ve held every position over the years and now I’ve made my way up the ranks.”

Moving forward, volunteers can expect changes such as increased training standards taken from the new training ‘playbook’.  A new bush truck is also on it’s way in the new year and Mr. Lesley hopes to start working on the training site at the Vanderhoof airport. A six-year-plan is in the works to bring new buildings and a concrete pad for expatiation training of a burning vehicle.

“In 2015 we hope to get power in the classroom at the airport and we’re looking forward to a new bush truck,” Mr. Lesley said. “The whole fire department will also be doing more community events.”

The Vanderhoof Fire Department has 30 volunteers but Mr. Lesley wants to get the number back up to 35. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer, please call Ian Lesley at 250-567-7418 or drop by the fire hall.