Deputy Fire Chief in Bow Island retires after 46 years

By Charles Lefebvre
November 30, 2018 - 3:47pm

BOW ISLAND, AB — One of the longest serving members of the Bow Island Fire Department is calling it a career.

Dave Smith, who is the current deputy chief, is retiring after 46 years as a firefighter. His last day was Friday.

“It’s time for the younger fellows to take over,” he said on Thursday from his new home in Medicine Hat.

Smith joined the volunteer service in 1972, and learned every facet of firefighting.

“At the time, it was a 12 man department, and they needed some volunteer help, just to protect the town and surrounding area,” he said. “I thought that was something I could probably help them with.”

Smith has been serving as deputy chief with the service for the past 28 years, helping command the team during calls ranging from structure fires to vehicle extractions. He notes the ways of fighting fires has changed drastically during his career.

Smith has nothing but praise for the current firefighters serving in the Bow Island Fire Department. There are currently 18 firefighters (Smith says they try to have 25 volunteers), and they meet every Monday evening to practise fire drills and conduct training to ensure they’re ready for anything.

“All of our members work relentlessly,” he said. “They give up a lot of their time, their free time.”

Smith adds he’s proud to have spent his entire career in one community.

“The top officials in the fire department are doing a fantastic job, and we have a good group of individuals,” he said. “We’re up to around 18 (members). In a rural area, it’s hard to keep volunteers, because people move away and that type of thing. But, I was fortunate to stay there my full career.”

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