Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Fire Hall Bulletin Online

Elena De Luigi   

Headlines News Employment and hiring deputy fire chief fire chief

March 4, 2024, Canada – Here is a digital round-up of the latest fire chief promotions, appointments, retirements, and last alarms across Canada.

Promotions, appointments and retirements

The City of Melfort, Sask. hired Leonard Whitney as its new fire chief. He has nearly 20 years of experience with the department, having worked his way up from firefighter to driver, master driver, lieutenant, captain and now chief. The city said in a press release that throughout his years in the fire department, Whitney has exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, a deep understanding of fire fighting strategies, and a relentless dedication to training and professional development. Whitney assumes his new role April 1.

In British Columbia, Peachland Fire Chief Dennis Craig is heading to the Kelowna Fire Department after spending a decade at the helm in Peachland. He will be specializing in wildfire prevention and protection.

North Vancouver Fire Chief Brian Hutchinson moved to the BC Wildfire Service to be the organization’s superintendent of provincial operations. He has spent the past six years at the helm of District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue Services. Hutchinson was also the chief officer for eight years. Before coming to North Vancouver, he spent more than 15 years with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services. He began his new role on Monday.


After 35 years with the department, Fire Chief Trevor Pike has retired from the fire service. The second-generation firefighter joined the Sechelt Fire Department in B.C. in 1989 and spent 15 years as a volunteer firefighter before becoming a career firefighter and moving up the ranks. He spent the past eight years at the helm of the department. Pike replaced the department’s front-line fire apparatus over the last six years, and he oversaw the completion of the department’s training grounds.

Dwight Davison is replacing Pike as fire chief of the Sechelt Fire Department. He began his career with the department in 2005 when he joined as a volunteer firefighter. In 2011 he became a training officer and in 2016 he was promoted to assistant chief. His first day in the new role was March 4.

Over on the east coast, Mark Bettens has been promoted to the role of fire chief for Cape Breton, N.S. He has more than 35 years of experience in emergency services and public service leadership. His emergency services career began as a paramedic while still in high school, and over the years, he has served in various capacities including as a volunteer firefighter for almost a decade in Glace Bay before moving to CBRM Fire & Emergency Services. Bettens rose through the ranks and most recently served as the department’s platoon chief. He also began his new role on March 4.


In Ontario, Jeff Bradley will join Huron-Kinloss Fire & Emergency Services as the town’s fire chief. He has more than 19 years of experience in fire safety and suppression with a history of continuing education and skills and positive leadership development. He has demonstrated proficiency in emergency response, incident command, NFPA curriculum delivery, fire ground training, and project management. His expertise extends to budgeting, fire suppression and alarm systems, code compliance, active participation in emergency management, and as a leader on the Bruce County Critical Incident Stress Support Team. Bradley will assume his new role on March 25.

Dan Parent is Chatham-Kent Fire and Rescue’s new assistant fire chief of operations. He is replacing Assistant Chief John Praill, who is retiring. Parent is a 30-year EMS and fire fighting veteran, starting his career in 1991 as a paramedic with Chatham & District Ambulance Service in Wallaceburg, Ont. He began as a volunteer firefighter with the Wallaceburg Fire Department in 1993 before becoming a career firefighter with the department, which later became Chatham-Kent Fire and Rescue. Parent was promoted to captain in January 2020, and became a senior captain several months later. Praill joined the department in 1987 and spent 37 years serving his community.

The Town of Essex appointed Jacey Brockman as its new deputy fire chief. He is a third-generation firefighter who began his fire service career when he joined the department as a volunteer in 2001. He rose through the ranks to captain and assistant deputy fire chief of prevention and public education, a position he held since 2021. Brockman also served as a paramedic with Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services. His appointment took effect Feb. 6.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Warren is leaving Callander Fire and Emergency Services. He began his career with the department as a volunteer firefighter in 2005 and he rose through the ranks to deputy chief of operations, a position he has held since 2010.

Fire Chief Deanna Kirwin is moving to the Ontario fire marshal’s office to be the academic manager for the Ontario Fire College. She joined the Zorra Fire and Emergency Services team as a firefighter in 2015 and moved through the ranks to training officer in 2016 and then to fire chief and community emergency management coordinator in 2021.

Last Alarm

Ret. Fire Chief Bill O’Neill died at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Orillia, Ont., on Feb. 14 at the age of 71. He spent more than 32 years in the fire service, joining the Georgina Fire Department in 1980 and becoming a career firefighter in 1987. He was promoted to fire prevention officer in 1990 and became the department’s deputy chief in 1998. O’Neill was appointed fire chief in 2001 and remained at the helm of Georgina Fire until his retirement in 2012. He also spent time as the assistant to the Ontario fire marshal in 2001. Under his leadership, the department was recognized for exemplary service and community initiatives several times, including the Bernard A. Moyle Public Education Award. He was known as a kind and gentle man who cared deeply for his family, his fire service colleagues and his friends. He enjoyed curling, golf and hunting and spent many hours with friends and family around the pool, on his deck with a cold beer.

Ret. Fire Chief Ted McCullough has died at the age of 73 on Feb. 14 at Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. He began his career in the fire service in Cambridge, Ont., where he was the chief training officer. He then moved to the Town of Dundas to be the fire chief. In 1990, McCullough moved to North Bay where he was at the helm of the city’s fire department for 18 years. He retired in 2008 and pursued consulting for municipal fire services and was appointed as the fire chief in West Perth where he reorganized the department. McCullough’s obituary says he loved his family, and he was dedicated to serving the community by volunteering in many groups and organizations. He enjoyed woodworking, cycling, fishing, and red wine.


Print this page


Stories continue below