Top News

Windsor firefighters feted for 16-plus years of service


WINDSOR — An early morning house fire. A long weekend car crash. An innocuous false alarm. Whatever – and whenever – the emergency call comes in, firefighters respond.

Due to this dedication, the Town of Windsor and the local fire department's veterans association recently teamed up to create 16-year fire service medals.

The awards were presented earlier this month to nearly 80 active firefighters, veterans, and family members of deceased firefighters.

“Over my 27 years as an active firefighter, and however many years as a veteran, there have been many proud moments in my history of this fraternity of firefighters. This ranks right up there with those proud moments,” said Bob DeMont, the president of the Windsor Fire Department Veterans Association, in a speech prior to the awards being handed out.

The Windsor Fire Department formed in 1881, but the veterans association didn't begin until 1988, with the understanding that firefighters could only join once they served 16 years.

Chief Scott Burgess told the crowd gathered at the Oct. 4 ceremony that when he joined the force in July of 1988, he couldn't fathom serving 10 years, let alone a few decades.

“Ten years: I questioned if I would make it that long. Sixteen years to become a veteran seemed unreachable – 20, 30, 40 years unimaginable, and we had several at that time with 50 years service,” said Burgess. “(It was) totally off of my scale of comprehension at that time.”

Burgess, who has been the fire chief since 2009, now has 26 years serving Hants County under his belt.

Burgess said he fully supported the veterans association when they pitched their desire to honour long-serving firefighters to town council. The fire chief helped plan the afternoon event, and said it was important that it be the best it could be. He said it marked another important milestone in the department's 133-year history.

To see a slideshow featuring 26 photos from the event, click here.

The following active firefighters received 16-year medals: Albert Bahri, Steve Benjamin, Mike Bonn, Barry Boyd (lieutenant), Burgess (fire chief), Tim Clarke, Ed Fleet, Darrell Fletcher (captain), Rev. Bill Gibson (chaplain), Rick Johnson, Ron Johnson, Jamie Juteau (deputy fire chief), Kristopher Lake, Mike Levy, Don MacAskill, Doug Matheson (captain), George Paddock, Bev Payzant (captain), Richard Smith (captain), and Chris Sullivan.

The following active veteran firefighters also received the commemorative medal: David Allen, Wayne Benedict, Norman Benedict, Daniel Boyd, Brian Burrell, Gary Burrell, Jeff Burrell, Scott Caldwell, Mike Campbell, Robert Campbell, Victor Chandler, Ted Crocker, DeMont (WFD Veterans Association president), Doug Fredericks, Leonard Frenette, James Frenette, Eric Johnson, Greg Lake (WFD Veterans Association secretary/treasurer), Brian Lavers, Graham Murphy, Garnet Porter, Timothy Porter, Glenn Robinson (WFD Veterans Association vice president), Fred Rodgers, Gerald Sanford, Roscoe Schofield, Frank Shiers, Bradley Skelhorn, Bill Spurr, John Sweet, Gerald Theriault, Cyril Woodman, Walter Woodman, and Larry Zwicker.

Awards were presented posthumously to the following members: Grant Boyd, Henry Burrell, Frank Carmichael, Gilbert Church, Jack Crocker, George DeMont, Harold (Pete) DeMont, Earle Davis, Frederick A. Fox, Gordon Graham, William Graham, Roland Hanson, Harold Hines, Murray Hines, Edward Lewis, Charles Murdoch, Daniel McLeod, Ralph Parsons, John Robertson, Walter Stephens, C. Ted Smith, Michael Smith, Bill Underwood and James Wilcox.

 

Remember when...

 

The Windsor Fire Department has witnessed and responded to thousands of calls in its 133 year history, each one presenting its own set of challenges.

Capt. Richard Smith, who is often referred to as the Windsor Fire Department's resident historian, provided a list of some of the most memorable fires in the area's history during the ceremony that honoured the past service of WFD members.

The following are some of the moments in time that were highlighted.

— The Great Windsor Fire happened on Oct. 17, 1897 shortly after midnight. It resulted in half the town being razed.

— In 1905, Windsor firefighters attempted to combat a blaze in the four-storey, 50-room, Dufferin Hotel.

— The King Street fire of 1924, which happened on Nov. 9 shortly after 1 a.m., resulted in several homes and businesses being destroyed.

— The Avon Crest Nursing Home fire happened on Sept. 12, 1959. This early morning fire saw the three-storey Falmouth nursing home destroyed within 15 minutes. Two residents and one staff member lost their lives in the blaze. Firefighter Ted Smith was credited with rescuing a staff member, who jumped from the burning building, and local resident Bill Baird helped a resident down from the veranda roof.

— A house fire in Newport Station on Oct. 17, 1973 saw two firefighters make a heroic gesture. Fred Rodgers and Bill Spurr rescued an unconscious woman from the burning home. Spurr performed CPR for 10 minutes before she was taken to the hospital, where she made a full recovery.

— Many people vividly recall the O'Brien Street apartment fire on Remembrance Day in 1992. As the WFD were marching in the parade, smoke could be seen bellowing from an apartment. While the firefighters broke ranks and rushed to the station, then fire chief Fred Fox and deputy chiefs Greg Lake and John Sweet proceeded to the building. A woman and baby were inside the burning structure, and the woman was convinced to drop the baby into the waiting arms and coat of Lake. The fire was quickly extinguished and everyone was safe.

— On Sept. 25, 2007, firefighters responded to the Windsor Curling Rink as fire quickly ravaged the century-old structure. Three teenagers were initially charged with arson in relation to the blaze. Two pleaded guilty, while the youngest, a 16-year-old girl, pleaded guilty to mischief.

Due to this dedication, the Town of Windsor and the local fire department's veterans association recently teamed up to create 16-year fire service medals.

The awards were presented earlier this month to nearly 80 active firefighters, veterans, and family members of deceased firefighters.

“Over my 27 years as an active firefighter, and however many years as a veteran, there have been many proud moments in my history of this fraternity of firefighters. This ranks right up there with those proud moments,” said Bob DeMont, the president of the Windsor Fire Department Veterans Association, in a speech prior to the awards being handed out.

The Windsor Fire Department formed in 1881, but the veterans association didn't begin until 1988, with the understanding that firefighters could only join once they served 16 years.

Chief Scott Burgess told the crowd gathered at the Oct. 4 ceremony that when he joined the force in July of 1988, he couldn't fathom serving 10 years, let alone a few decades.

“Ten years: I questioned if I would make it that long. Sixteen years to become a veteran seemed unreachable – 20, 30, 40 years unimaginable, and we had several at that time with 50 years service,” said Burgess. “(It was) totally off of my scale of comprehension at that time.”

Burgess, who has been the fire chief since 2009, now has 26 years serving Hants County under his belt.

Burgess said he fully supported the veterans association when they pitched their desire to honour long-serving firefighters to town council. The fire chief helped plan the afternoon event, and said it was important that it be the best it could be. He said it marked another important milestone in the department's 133-year history.

To see a slideshow featuring 26 photos from the event, click here.

The following active firefighters received 16-year medals: Albert Bahri, Steve Benjamin, Mike Bonn, Barry Boyd (lieutenant), Burgess (fire chief), Tim Clarke, Ed Fleet, Darrell Fletcher (captain), Rev. Bill Gibson (chaplain), Rick Johnson, Ron Johnson, Jamie Juteau (deputy fire chief), Kristopher Lake, Mike Levy, Don MacAskill, Doug Matheson (captain), George Paddock, Bev Payzant (captain), Richard Smith (captain), and Chris Sullivan.

The following active veteran firefighters also received the commemorative medal: David Allen, Wayne Benedict, Norman Benedict, Daniel Boyd, Brian Burrell, Gary Burrell, Jeff Burrell, Scott Caldwell, Mike Campbell, Robert Campbell, Victor Chandler, Ted Crocker, DeMont (WFD Veterans Association president), Doug Fredericks, Leonard Frenette, James Frenette, Eric Johnson, Greg Lake (WFD Veterans Association secretary/treasurer), Brian Lavers, Graham Murphy, Garnet Porter, Timothy Porter, Glenn Robinson (WFD Veterans Association vice president), Fred Rodgers, Gerald Sanford, Roscoe Schofield, Frank Shiers, Bradley Skelhorn, Bill Spurr, John Sweet, Gerald Theriault, Cyril Woodman, Walter Woodman, and Larry Zwicker.

Awards were presented posthumously to the following members: Grant Boyd, Henry Burrell, Frank Carmichael, Gilbert Church, Jack Crocker, George DeMont, Harold (Pete) DeMont, Earle Davis, Frederick A. Fox, Gordon Graham, William Graham, Roland Hanson, Harold Hines, Murray Hines, Edward Lewis, Charles Murdoch, Daniel McLeod, Ralph Parsons, John Robertson, Walter Stephens, C. Ted Smith, Michael Smith, Bill Underwood and James Wilcox.

 

Remember when...

 

The Windsor Fire Department has witnessed and responded to thousands of calls in its 133 year history, each one presenting its own set of challenges.

Capt. Richard Smith, who is often referred to as the Windsor Fire Department's resident historian, provided a list of some of the most memorable fires in the area's history during the ceremony that honoured the past service of WFD members.

The following are some of the moments in time that were highlighted.

— The Great Windsor Fire happened on Oct. 17, 1897 shortly after midnight. It resulted in half the town being razed.

— In 1905, Windsor firefighters attempted to combat a blaze in the four-storey, 50-room, Dufferin Hotel.

— The King Street fire of 1924, which happened on Nov. 9 shortly after 1 a.m., resulted in several homes and businesses being destroyed.

— The Avon Crest Nursing Home fire happened on Sept. 12, 1959. This early morning fire saw the three-storey Falmouth nursing home destroyed within 15 minutes. Two residents and one staff member lost their lives in the blaze. Firefighter Ted Smith was credited with rescuing a staff member, who jumped from the burning building, and local resident Bill Baird helped a resident down from the veranda roof.

— A house fire in Newport Station on Oct. 17, 1973 saw two firefighters make a heroic gesture. Fred Rodgers and Bill Spurr rescued an unconscious woman from the burning home. Spurr performed CPR for 10 minutes before she was taken to the hospital, where she made a full recovery.

— Many people vividly recall the O'Brien Street apartment fire on Remembrance Day in 1992. As the WFD were marching in the parade, smoke could be seen bellowing from an apartment. While the firefighters broke ranks and rushed to the station, then fire chief Fred Fox and deputy chiefs Greg Lake and John Sweet proceeded to the building. A woman and baby were inside the burning structure, and the woman was convinced to drop the baby into the waiting arms and coat of Lake. The fire was quickly extinguished and everyone was safe.

— On Sept. 25, 2007, firefighters responded to the Windsor Curling Rink as fire quickly ravaged the century-old structure. Three teenagers were initially charged with arson in relation to the blaze. Two pleaded guilty, while the youngest, a 16-year-old girl, pleaded guilty to mischief.

Recent Stories