Chilliwack firefighters praised their work

But Chilliwack reader concerned with the false alarms and vandalism that waste the effort of such a devoted team

Almost two weeks ago now we experienced what one never wishes to; a house fire broke out in the second storey of our home, in a room usually occupied by children. Now, due to some circumstances that could best be described as unusual, those normally in those rooms were absent, and we are extremely grateful for that, and for the fact that no one was hurt. That is not why I write to you, though.

I am writing because I am in awe of the demonstration of care and concern, professionalism and sensitivity displayed by the firefighters who responded to the call we placed to 911. Even though we live out on Fairfield Island, the first truck arrived quickly, and was followed shortly by others who were able to get the fire under control. This was impressive, but the impression made on our children and us was something entirely different.

Once the fire was out, we had a nasty job ahead of us to remove a large amount of perishable items from the first floor. These men, who so willingly risk their lives and are worthy of much respect (more than they get, I’d wager) stayed and helped us fill boxes with canning, move items out of the now dripping first floor, sweep up broken glass, wash fire suppressant of the driveway with our garden hoses, and more…

If you have ever experienced the devastation a fire causes then you know the state of shock and the incredible processing that goes on in your own soul; and so to receive this kind of help and compassion from the firefighters was so incredibly affecting that there are barely words to describe it.

It was troubling to me, however, as I had a conversation with one of the firefighters by the tanker when he explained to me that most of the calls they receive are due to foolishness and vandalism – dumpster fires, brush fires, cars set ablaze etc., and it made me hurt for the noble hearts of these men who are not looking for praise or glory, but to do what they know to be good and right. For many to disregard that and take advantage, or even waste the efforts of such devoted men and women seems irreverent and unjust.

I take hope and courage in the fact that Chilliwack is home to brave and good people, and that we need to rally behind these when we recognize them, and not just passively assume that they are ‘just doing their job’, because a community does not exist when people ‘do their job’ – it is created by people who care enough to go above and beyond the ‘job description’ to respond from the heart.

As such I wish to thank and appreciate not just those who responded to the fire that night, but to all of their comrades and fellow professionals like them who do what they do because there is still character and dignity in them. It brought care and comfort to us, and that is of incredible value. Chilliwack ought to be proud to have such ones watching out for our safety!

To all of you involved that night, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We greatly appreciate and respect your lives put at risk for our safety.

Jason Shinduke