Spaniard's Bay restaffs fire department

Just under 30 applicants selected

Nicholas Mercer nmercer@cbncompass.ca
Published on February 19, 2016
Spaniard's Bay fire department

For the past couple of weeks it’s been a strange sight to see a Spaniard’s Bay fire truck moving through the streets.

If there’s been an emergency call, it’s been either departments in Bay Roberts or Upper Island Cove who have attended the scene.

However on Feb. 17, that changed. For the first time since a mass resignation of the Spaniard’s Bay fire brigade in late January, a pumper truck made its way around town.

It was moments after the council had selected some 28 people to re-staff the beleaguered department.

The 28 new members of the department is a solid mixture of the new and the old. It is comprised of upwards to 20 former firefighters as well as just under a dozen new faces, including three women.

They will join newly minted Fire Chief Kurt Roberts on the brigade. Roberts previously served as assistant fire chief and was appointed on Feb. 8.

The move to rebuild the department is one of the few positives that have come out of the controversy that’s engulfed the town since Jan. 19. That’s when the majority of the town’s firefighters stepped away from their duties in support of former councillor Sherri Collins, who tendered her resignation after accusing Coun. Brenda Seymour of harassing her. Collins was council's liaison with the department.

Seymour, the lone female firefighter in the brigade, levelled allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment against members of the department. She has also denied harassing Collins.

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Earlier this month, town manager Tony Ryan resigned from his post.

What’s left now is to get the new faces adequately trained and up to speed with their more experienced colleagues.

“We’re taking slow steps in the right direction,” said Mayor Tony Menchions.

As everything gets put in place the neighbouring departments remain on call for any emergency that could arise.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca