Chester Basin FD Celebrates 30 Years of Emergency Service

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The Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department (CBVFD) proudly celebrates 30 years of protecting the citizens and visitors of Chester Basin (District 4) and its neighboring communities. With over 30 professional volunteers, they provide emergency services for fire, medical first response, motor vehicle collisions, ice and water rescue, and many other calls for assistance. They have a very broad responsibility for the overall safety of the community.

In the 1960's and 1970's, fire and emergency response in Chester Basin was originally provided by trucks and equipment on loan from the Department of Civil Defense and contracted response services from other neighboring fire departments. 

In 1981 the need to improve these services was realized and following a local community election to raise a fire tax, on June 1, 1982, the Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department was formed. 

There were 27 original charter members of the Department. These dedicated volunteers were; Dean Fitch, Chris Mader, Bill Falkenham, Richard Eldridge, Len Stevens, Peter Fitch, Jim Eisnor, Garnet Rafuse, Don Rafuse, Craig Rafuse, Vaughn Russell, Art Backman, Cliff McKinnon, Bill Morrow, Mervin Webber, Art Stevens, Russell Walker, Richard Countway, R. David Stevens, Gordon DeLong, Carl Clinton, Roy Zwicker, John Hatt Sr., Randy Hatt, Gib Russell, Tom Hatt and Robert Hatt

The Department purchased their first tanker in 1982 from Nictaux Fire Department for the grand sum of $10,000. The same year, the CBVFD also purchased an emergency response van to assist the firefighters in their response to local emergencies. Their first fire call was on June 9th, 1982 . The  first station attached to the Legion, soon ran out of operating space and the Department started construction in 1984 on a new hall located on Highway 3 where, in fact, they are still situated today.    

The Department’s first major response was in 1983 when there was a major fire at the Petro Canada Service Station. In the 1990's the volunteer firefighters worked to control major fires at Corkum's Bucket Factory and Robert Hatt's mill. Later in the early 2000’s, the Department fought a large fire at the Wayne Millett log mill. The volunteer crews worked very hard, with the aid of the neighboring departments via mutual aid, to control these emergency incidents.

Over the next years as the community and its needs continued to grow, the CBVFD needed to replace their equipment and add updated technology to address new community risks. Today it has a very capable fleet of modern fire fighting apparatus consisting of 3 Pumper/Tankers and a fully equipped Rescue unit.CB_Fleet

Volunteers work very hard to provide these services to District 4. They are proud of the community, its citizens and the important role they play in protecting and preserving a safe way of life. The department membership in liaison with the Fire Protection Commission for District 4 is fully dedicated to protecting and preserving the quality of life, property and environment through education, leadership, and effective emergency response. This volunteer service is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the community.

Currently, the Department has 33 active members including 5 of the original charter members. They are Gordon DeLong, Jim Eisnor, Richard Eldridge, Bill Falkenham and Craig Rafuse. As well, Wendy Rafuse was a charter member of the Firettes, the department auxiliary, which held its first meeting in May 1982. She started responding to medical calls and MVA’s with the department in 1988 and became a regular member in January 1995 at which time she became the department secretary and remains so today.

Safety comes first to the membership and ongoing training helps the Department ensure that its firefighters are well prepared and in a constant state of readiness to deal with any emergency in the community.

Over the next few years, the Department and Commission recognize they will face new and challenging issues. The technology for responding to these new risks continues to advance and through active training programs they are committed to upholding the most recent standards in emergency response. 

The Department members would be proud to show you the apparatus and equipment required to respond to these emergencies. Perhaps you may even be interested in providing some of your valuable time in helping out these dedicated volunteers. They always welcome the assistance. More information on the Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department can be found on the fire services web site at www.chesterfire.ca

It is with great pleasure that the Municipality of the District of Chester recognizes and extends congratulations to all members of the Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department.  Your commitment and long standing service to the community is commendable and much appreciated.