QUADEVILLE – Corwin Quade has seen it all during his 26 years as a firefighter for Brudenell-Lyndoch-Raglan Township.
To recognize National Volunteer Week from April 12 to 18, the Gazette sat down with this long time volunteer to find out why he risks his life for his community.
From house fires to vehicle accidents and carbon monoxide poisonings, Quade has responded to hundreds of calls over the years. Quade joined the Quadeville fire department in 1989, when the hall was just being established.
“We never had a fire department back then,” Quade said. “We were just starting out and they were looking for people. I thought it would be interesting.”
He and the other men at the time had no formal training, and began learning the basics through a 40-hour course with the fire marshal at the time. Throughout the years, the volunteers took wildfire firefighting courses, mutual aid training and extrication courses, amongst many others.
The BLR fire department looked a lot different in its early years. Firefighters dressed in long, black trench coats and hip waders when they responded to a call, for example.
There were four pump shacks located around the area and firefighters were dispatched by telephone.
“Someone would call the general store here during the daytime and they would take the time to phone everyone in the fire department to respond with their own personal vehicles,” he said.
A volunteer would show up with a half-ton truck, load up the equipment and respond to the fire.
Eventually, the department acquired a 1960 GMC truck.
“We would respond to a fire and it would break the time you got it there,” Quade laughed.
Following the township’s amalgamation in 1999, the department received its first diesel engine truck with air breaks.
Get your April 22, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.