Two decades of service

Fire station three in Silverdale is celebrating its 20th anniversary this Saturday

Five of the original members of fire station three are still serving Silverdale. Left to right: Kevin O’Beirne

Five of the original members of fire station three are still serving Silverdale. Left to right: Kevin O’Beirne

The essence of firefighting is helping your neighbour, and after 20 years, the members of Mission Fire/Rescue Service’s station three continue to serve in that spirit.

From the original 17 members, five still remain, and on Saturday will be celebrating two decades of putting their lives on the line for Silverdale residents’ safety and property.

Before the Silverhill Avenue station was built, the community fire protection was provided by station one, located on Seventh Avenue, and if there was a house fire or other serious incident, it would take at least 10 minutes for that first truck to arrive.

Now, that time has been cut roughly in half, resulting in far better saves, say the paid on-call volunteers.

Chief Mike Lavallee, Capt. Leonard Pesonen, Lieut. Phil Daigle, Lieut. Joe McElroy, and Firefighter Kevin O’Beirne each shared several stories recently about how the hall’s location and its contingent of firefighters have benefited the close-knit rural community.

In particular, Pesonen recalled a house fire last year just up from the hall that started between the laundry room and garage. The close proximity of the station enabled firefighters to arrive quickly, and quench the fire before it spread to the rest of the house.

Station three came into being from the simple premise that the community wanted it, said O’Beirne. The Southwest Mission Ratepayers — helmed at the time by Kevin’s father, Tom O’Beirne — came together and put on countless fundraisers to match dollar for dollar what the district contributed. The province then matched that total with a grant.

Daigle, who will be retiring this year, remembers coming into the hall for the first time in December 1991 and finding one fire truck next to a large pile of lumber. “It was so big we had to crawl over it to get to the truck,” he said with a laugh.

Each man had different reasons for joining up, and staying for 20 years.

Pesonen said he knew several people at his work in Maple Ridge who were firefighters, so when the call went out that Silverdale was getting its hall, he put his name forward because he didn’t think there would be a large number of younger men able to meet the time or physical demands of the job.

Daigle had lived in several cities growing up and always thought it “would be neat to be a firefighter, but I was too small.” When the community asked for volunteers, he applied.

O’Beirne sat on the fire committee when the project was getting started, and when he began asking people to sign up as firefighters, a friend said they should sign up together.

“I signed up, but he never did,” O’Beirne chuckled. “But it’s been a great experience.

Joe McElroy’s wife pushed him to try it, and since he had lived in the adjacent Silverhill School for seven years, it was an easy commute in the middle of the night.

For Lavallee, he was looking for a way to contribute to a community in which he had lived for only 18 months at that time, and firefighting seemed an “interesting” way.

Aside from Lavallee and Daigle, the other three plan to remain on until it isn’t fun anymore.

“It’s a pseudo-family,” said Pesonen. “It’s good to be here with the guys.”

 

Open house

The public is invited to come out Saturday, March 10 to fire station three for an open house between 1 and 4 p.m.

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

Just Posted

Police seized two fake guns and a knife on Saturday along Gladys Avenue in east Abbotsford.
Man arrested in Abbotsford after having fake gun for second time this year

Officers respond to all firearm calls as if the guns are real, police say

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
UPDATE: Tabor Home records 16 deaths and 124 COVID-19 cases

63 per cent of residents at Abbotsford long-term-care facility have tested positive

Elementary teacher Jo-Ann Lindahl poses with her students following an outdoor ‘closing circle’ in which they discussed what they had learned that day. (Image submitted)
Mission elementary teacher to receive national Indigenous educator award

Jo-Ann Lindahl named a 2020 Guiding the Journey: Educator Award recipient

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:06 a.m.
Early-morning crash on Highway 1 has morning commuters in gridlock

Westbound crash occurred in Langley, west of 264th Street; left lane blocked

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
COVID-19 case reported on Abbotsford-bound flight last week

Affected flight landed in Abbotsford on Nov. 16

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Most Read