Sep 15, 2020

Statement by Mayor Aaron Stone and Fire Chief Chris Geiger on coordinated response to industrial fire

The Town of Ladysmith and surrounding rural communities were alerted last week of a serious industrial fire — suppressed days later as a result firefighters’ efforts and support behind the scenes from local residents. 
The large and coordinated response to contain the serious blaze was efficiently executed by over 70 firefighters from more than eight departments across the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) and  the Regional District of Nanaimo.  
Statement from Mayor Aaron Stone
On behalf of Council and the community,  I’d like to extend thanks and appreciation to Ladysmith Fire/Rescue members and their respective families for the commitment to the role, and the sacrifices they make every day. 
It’s a difficult and stressful job, and our firefighters and their families drop whatever they are doing at a moment’s notice to ensure we all live in safety and security. 
I’d also like to thank, on behalf of Council, all of the community members who reached out, whether it be messages of support or the care packages of food and drinks delivered to the fire hall or on site.  
Also, community members and businesses who came forward with other supports for the firefighting efforts, and in support of the neighbours in the area if they so needed. 
Also, we extend our appreciation to the other fire departments and agencies that supported the efforts in terms of environmental management and risk mitigation and protection of precious water resources in the area. This work is ongoing and so critical to ensuring the most successful incident response possible. 
In the end, this has been a broad community effort from our volunteer firefighters on the front lines, to the critical support from individuals and agencies to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our area. 
We are so humbled and thankful for their efforts and continued support. 
Statement from Fire Chief Chris Geiger
On behalf of Ladysmith Fire/Rescue I would like to sincerely thank the entire community for its support with water management, the food that you supplied, and the encouraging messages on social media or in person from those of you walking past the hall. 
Your collective support and outpouring of gratitude makes a difficult job easier. 
Ladysmith Fire/Rescue records countless hours of training to prepare for emergency incidents but last week’s call was unprecedented in so many ways.   Firefighters responded from all over with one common goal and we achieved it with your help. 
In particular, I’d like to recognize the members who staffed Ladder 1 for 32 consecutive hours – some even leaving work or coming back early from holidays in order to help us get the job done. 
Thank you also to Ladysmith’s Mayor and Council for the encouraging messages and support, and to staff at Infrastructure Services working behind the scenes who made sure we had continual access to water and our truck got fueled when needed. 
The BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and RCMP were also involved and kept us safe in so many ways.  BCAS provided rapid access to emergency medical, if needed, and RCMP protecting us from traffic and ensuring our scenes were secure. 
Lastly, thank you to residents who heard the call to action to conserve water and stepped up to respond.  We appreciate knowing you have our backs in these types of emergencies.