Firefighters from far and wide have been rallying hard for one of their own after a serious injury in Chilliwack’s back country.
Retired Fire Chief Reg Dyck of the Chilliwack River Valley Fire Department was unloading his quad on the Bench Service Road area, off Slesse Road.
He’s an experienced rider who loved quadding. But something went terribly wrong on that Sunday morning in late July.
Suddenly the ATV started rolling back toward him, knocking him to the ground. It careened off the ramp of the trailer, and landed heavily on top of him.
Broken ribs, fractured vertebrae, and a ruptured lumbar were the result.
“It’s so surreal and crazy how fast life can change in a split second,” said Deputy Fire Chief Mike Danyluk of the CRV Fire Department.
The deputy fire chief had been paged out to the call initially to assist BC Ambulance Service personnel, but then he was dispatched to set up a landing zone for the helicopter at Thompson Park.
The CRVFD responds to about 80 emergencies a year, he estimated.
Of that total, about 10 are ATV or dirt bike related, which is about 10 to 15 per cent of their calls.
This time, the ATV call to assist medical personnel was one for of their own.
They didn’t know who the injured party was from the outset. It came through from dispatch that the victim was an off-duty firefighter.
Dyck had actually retired from the CRVFD a couple years before due to a back injury, but his former colleagues still didn’t know who’d been hurt.
The former fire chief had served the volunteer fire department since 1990, with 21 years of service as a firefighter and six as fire chief.
People despaired to hear the news of the accident.
“Reg is so well-known and respected in the fire service, and not only just in the FVRD but throughout the firefighting community across B.C.,” said Danyluk.
In the wake of his injuries, Dyck spent a week in the spinal unit at Vancouver General. He underwent surgery to remove bone fragments and insert pins and then was released to recuperate at home.
He will only start physiotherapy in three months. The former fire chief is recovering slowly and taking short walks. The pins won’t be removed for another 10 months.
“Once everyone found out what happened, there was a huge outpouring of support for Reg and his family,” he said. “It’s been something that really touches the heart.”
Firefighters from CRVFD donated funds for gas and food cards for the family, so his wife Cindy and daughters Amanda and Jessica could shuttle back and forth daily from the hospital.
The local firefighters also took over the landscaping maintenance and lawns at his home. An air conditioner was keeping him cool in recent weeks during the hot weather thanks to the Hemlock Valley FD.
Other fire departments, such as halls located in: Columbia Valley, Cultus Lake, Popkum and North Fraser all chipped in to help however they could.
“We were overwhelmed with condolences about the accident, and offers to help out the family throughout this ongoing ordeal, which shows just what kind of man Reg is.”