Corey Kortmeyer, Elkford's Fire Chief is moving to Osoyoos to take up a posting there. (Contributed by Corey Kortmeyer)

Elkford fire chief moves to Osoyoos

Corey Kortmeyer is wrapping up eight years with the Elkford Fire Department

Elkford’s fire chief is headed to the sunny lakeshore town of Osoyoos next month, wrapping up eight years in Elkford.

Starting as deputy chief in 2013, Corey Kortmeyer has been the District of Elkford’s top firefighter since 2015, and said the decision to move on hadn’t been an easy one.

“I loved all my firefighters here, and it was really hard to say goodbye to the family,” he said.

Kortmeyer said that he was moving for the professional opportunity presented by Osoyoos, which is a popular tourism town in the south Okanagan, and a place he said would be very different to Elkford.

“From mountains to desert, from snow to tumbleweeds and rattlesnakes,” he joked.

Osoyoos is a larger community than Elkford with a whole rash of difference challenges for firefighters to overcome than Elkford, but Kortmeyer said he was going to miss the community in the Elk Valley sorely.

“The people in Elkford were very warm and welcoming – it was a wonderful place to spend eight years of my life.

“I’m very honored and humbled to have been able to serve the residents of Elkford. We’ve been able to do some really good saves – we’ve definitely been able to impact many lives, which without our intervention probably wouldn’t have had positive or successful outcomes, so its those moments I’m the proudest of.”

Kortmeyer said that being a fire chief in a small town meant a lot of responsibility, and a lot of returns.

“Just recently I had a gentleman reach out. I was first on scene with a cardiac arrest and was able to bring him back four or five times, and he’s still with us. He came to thank me personally and its one of those moments where I think that’s the reason why we’re in the game.”

Kortmeyer will be wrapping up in Elkford in coming weeks, with a start date in Osoyoos on June 7. Deputy chief Curtis Nyuli will be stepping up as interim chief until a decision is made on who leads the Elkford fire department going forward.

“I wish Curtis all the best, and anyone else that steps into that role,” said Kortmeyer, who said Elkford was”never a slow place” to be a fire chief.

“You’re less admin and sometimes hands on. With all the calls you get dispatched on, sometimes you find yourself on the hose end, sometimes you’re on the cellphone, sometimes you’re hands on with CPR. It was a brilliant time to be able to be a part of Elkford.”

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scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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