Alan Pryor in 2015, during the Agassiz Fire Department’s 70th year. (Greg Laychak/The Observer)

Alan Pryor in 2015, during the Agassiz Fire Department’s 70th year. (Greg Laychak/The Observer)

Agassiz fireman celebrates 51 years at the hall

Al Pryor has been a key member in the Agassiz Fire Department since he was 16

If you’ve been impacted by a fire in Agassiz in the last half century, you’ve probably seen Al Pryor.

For the last 51 years, Pryor has been a firefighter with the Agassiz Fire Department, starting in March 1970 at just 16 years old.

“I was in (the Agassiz Restaurant) having a coffee, and the fire chief was in there,” Pryor remembered. “He asked me what I was doing since hockey season was over. I said, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t figured it out yet.’ And he said, ‘Why don’t you come to fire practice tomorrow morning.’”

When Pryor arrived that Sunday morning, he helped sweep the floors and take the fire trucks out for a drive. He was hooked.

SEE ALSO: Agassiz Fire Department: Fighting fires for 70 years

For the next five decades, Pryor was a constant in the hall, answering the call of the siren that sounded whenever firefighters were needed. He was there dousing flames when a barn was burning, and there for the smaller fires with uncertain causes.

“I was a hockey player in the wintertime, so sometimes I was away for a month or so,” Pryor said. “But most of the time I was around.”

Al Pryor in 1990 receiving his 20-year long service medal from the Agassiz Fire Department. (Agassiz Fire Department/Contributed)

In 1978, Pryor was named the Fireman of the Year. In 1987, he took on the position of fire chief after Jim Morrow retired.

“Nobody else wanted the job,” he explained. He teamed up with Harry Basten to do the job for the year, then took on the role of fire captain.

For all of Pryor’s time at the fire hall, he’s been keenly interested in the training, both for himself and others. He’s helped new recruits learn how to operate the fire engines, and still considers Thursday night practice one of his favourite parts of the job.

“The training now at the fire hall is so good now,” Pryor said. “I think Agassiz’s got a more experienced and dedicated fire hall than many full-time fire halls.”

“The guys on the crew are very dedicated to what they do,” he continued. “They’re not there for the glory, they’re there to help the community.”

Current fire chief Gerald Basten, who Pryor used to bring along to calls when he was younger, said those same words are true about Pryor as well.

“He’s always been a great guy to work with, and a mentor and leader,” Basten said. “He’s always given 110 per cent to his community.”

Pryor’s commitment to the hall continues even as he nears his 67th birthday.

RELATED: Firefighters from around B.C. help battle Elephant Hill wildfire

In 2017, Pryor was among the four Agassiz firefighters to travel to 100 Mile House to help fight the wildfires ravaging B.C.’s Interior. Locally, he is always available to drive the trucks or hold the fire hose.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s four in the afternoon or four in the morning,” Basten said. “You see him rolling into the parking lot.”

Pryor has no plans to stop working in the hall anytime soon.

“I’ll just keep going until I can’t do it anymore,” he said.

“There’s always something I can do at the fire hall.”



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Agassiz

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Al Pryor in his early years as a firefighter doing public education with the local boy scouts. (Agassiz Fire Department/Contributed)

Al Pryor in his early years as a firefighter doing public education with the local boy scouts. (Agassiz Fire Department/Contributed)

Al Pryor having a bath in the storage bin on top of the 1972 Ford fire engine as he rides through the Fall Fair Parade. (Agassiz Fire Department/Contributed)

Al Pryor having a bath in the storage bin on top of the 1972 Ford fire engine as he rides through the Fall Fair Parade. (Agassiz Fire Department/Contributed)

Just Posted

Workers were on scene to clean up the oil spill in Abbotsford at Trans Mountain Pipeline’s Sumas pump station in June 2020. (File photo by Shane MacKichan)
TSB releases final report on June 2020 oil spill in Abbotsford

Transportation Safety Board says pipeline fitting to blame for spill of up to 190K litres

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: One of three puppies stolen from South Surrey recovered

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

About 80 demonstrators walked through Hope with signs in support of saving the Station House on March 23, 2021. (Photo/Christian Ward)
Public hearing now planned for Hope’s Station House decision

Council has now taken steps to remove heritage status from historic building

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack General Hospital gets all-clear from Fraser Health as outbreak ends

The latest outbreak was 20 days from the start, on March 25, to being declared over on April 13

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Shannon Claypool, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association, stands outside the Cloverdale Rec. Centre. The rec. centre has been set up as a mass vaccination site by Fraser Health and the Association has decided to cancel the rodeo in order to offer the fairgrounds for public parking. (Submitted)
Cloverdale Rodeo cancelled

Fairgrounds to be used as public parking for mass vaccination site at Cloverdale Rec. Centre

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Most Read