Fernie’s long-time fire chief hasn’t quite ridden off into the sunset, but he has moved on to a new position as fire chief in Sooke, on Vancouver Island, as of Mid-November.
Ted Ruiter was with Fernie Fire and Rescue for over eight years, and he said Fernie wasn’t done with him yet.
“I do have mixed emotions about leaving as Fernie is a very special place. I will be back as I am keeping a home there,” he said.
Ruiter said that in his eight years here, he considered his greatest achievement to be the work in enhancing the relationship between career and auxiliary staff, “while instilling professionalism and pride in the service we provide within the community.”
Notably, Ruiter was at the helm of Fernie Fire and Rescue when the Fernie Memorial Arena ammonia incident took place in 2017, where three workers were killed by an ammonia leak caused by aging equipment and saw blocks of Fernie evacuated.
“The Fernie Memorial Arena incident was one of the most difficult responses I have ever been in command of,” he said.
“The impact it had on our department and community was enormous.”
For Ruiter, Sooke is a lifestyle change he was looking forward to, but he said he’d enjoyed the sense of community and the endless playground available at his doorstep in Fernie.
“I would like to thank the entire team at Fernie Fire and Emergency Services, it was a privilege leading such a dedicated, professional group of men and women.”
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