Several North Fork residents joined Fire Chief George Seigler (front left) and Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché (front centre) at the George Evans fire hall Wednesday evening, May 26. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Several North Fork residents joined Fire Chief George Seigler (front left) and Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché (front centre) at the George Evans fire hall Wednesday evening, May 26. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

North Fork fire hall bounces back from the brink after successful recruitment drive

At least 12 people showed up to Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s open house Wednesday, May 26

The North Fork fire hall (George Evans) is no longer in imminent danger of closing, according to Grand Forks Fire/Rescue.

The department put out an urgent call to area residents in mid-May, warning that the hall at 11331 Granby Rd might not be able to protect their homes due to a lack of volunteer firefighters. A loss of “fire protection status” would have triggered a significant bump in local home insurance costs, according to the Fire Underwriters Survey, which provides statistical data used by Canadian insurance companies.

READ MORE: Grand Forks Fire/Rescue says rural fire hall at risk of closing

READ MORE: Grand Forks Fire Rescue hosts open house for potential recruits

Local farmer Matt Sagal was the only one to show up when the hall hosted a recruitment drive on May 11.

At least 11 more potential recruits joined Sagal when he came to George Evans’ next recruitment drive Wednesday evening, May 26.

“I was born and raised on (my parents’) farm, and we didn’t want to lose the fire hall,” he told The Gazette. Sagal said he hoped his volunteer service would set a good example for his children.

North Fork farmer Matt Sagal was the only one who showed up for Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s recruitment drive at the George Evans fire hall earlier this month. Sagal is pictured here at the department’s second, much more successful drive, Wednesday, May 26. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

North Fork farmer Matt Sagal was the only one who showed up for Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s recruitment drive at the George Evans fire hall earlier this month. Sagal is pictured here at the department’s second, much more successful drive, Wednesday, May 26. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Wednesday’s event also drew recent arrivals Megan and Josie Lee and their partners Dustin Schieck and Andrew Nelson, the oldest of whom was in their early 30’s.

(From the left) New North Forks residents Megan Lee, Dustin Schieck, Andrew Nelson and Josie Lee said they were interested in volunteering at the George Evans fire hall. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

(From the left) New North Forks residents Megan Lee, Dustin Schieck, Andrew Nelson and Josie Lee said they were interested in volunteering at the George Evans fire hall. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

“We all live on the same property,” Megan said, adding that she and Dustin moved to the area two years ago.

“We’re farmers on Brown Creek East and we didn’t want to see the hall close.”

Kathy and Keith Trayler said it was “lovely” to see the young couples’ interest in serving their community.

“We thought we might need to put in some work, ourselves,” Kathy said.

Kathy Trayler and husband Keith said they’d been thinking about joining George Evans fire hall for months. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Kathy Trayler and husband Keith said they’d been thinking about joining George Evans fire hall for months. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Wednesday’s turnout strongly suggests that the fire hall won’t have to close its doors any time soon.

“I think it speaks volumes, very positively, for the future of our North Fork hall,” Fire Chief George Seigler said before the night was out.

Fire Chief George Seigler said Wednesday’s turnout “speaks volumes, very positively, for the future of our North Fork hall.” Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Fire Chief George Seigler said Wednesday’s turnout “speaks volumes, very positively, for the future of our North Fork hall.” Photo: Laurie Tritschler

“Looking at the potential that we have for recruits — it’s awesome. This is a significant increase over our last open house, so I’m very, very pleased.”

Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché said he’d recently interviewed four strong candidates who wanted to join the hall. Asked if the fire hall was firmly out of jeopardy, Piché answered, “I’m less concerned. Ask me that question once we get the recruit class going and I see that people are actually into it and doing it; that they haven’t changed their mind.”

Piché said interested recruits showed a “very strong work ethic.”

“That’s promising. I’m really optimistic, given the interest we saw at the fire hall.”

Piché said the department will start training recruits in early June.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to either to call Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s non-emergency line at 250-442-3612 or to visit the department’s new website at grandforksfirerescue.com.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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laurie.tritschler@boundarycreektimes.com

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