Campbell River Fire Department were among the 30 Vancouver Island departments that paid tribute to a fallen Sproat Lake firefighter on Wednesday.
Nine members from the local crew went down to Courtenay on Wednesday to stand in salute to Lt. Ron Suits as his ashes were carried from Courtenay to Sproat Lake. Suits suffered a fatal heart attack as he was responding with the Sproat Lake Fire Department to a barn fire on July 16.
“We brought one of our engines down, and our FPO (Fire Prevention Officer) vehicle as well as two of our chief vehicles,” said fire administration manager Stephanie Bremer. “We posted at salute on Highway 19A in front of Walmart when the Sproat lake fire department engine went past us with Lt. Suits’ ashes.”
The Campbell River crew had a close relationship with Suits and the Sproat Lake department. Campbell River hosts the fire dispatch centre for the region, and regularly communicates with 61 departments including Sproat Lake.
“As the dispatch centre, we do have a very close relationship with these volunteer fire departments and we do get to know the firefighters, lieutenants, captains and chiefs,” Bremer explained. “It was really important for us to show our support because of the close working relationship we have with them.”
Bremer described Suits as a “very nice gentleman,” adding that “He had extensive fire service experience. He had 27 years with Calgary, volunteered with Dashwood Fire Department and then went over to Sproat Lake. The knowledge that he had was invaluable to that volunteer fire department.”
The Sproat Lake department transported Suits’ ashes in one of their engines, passing by 30 different departments along the way. Suits’ wife and daughter were also part of the procession.
“It was quite nice,” Bremer said.