BARRY’S BAY – “Put the wet stuff on the red stuff,” that’s an expression that former Fire Chief for Sherwood, Burns and Jones and the first Fire Chief of Madawaska Valley was known for. It was an expression David Afelskie often used in his 35-year career as a volunteer firefighter.
Afelskie retired last week from the fire department after suffering a stroke in May 2019.
Asked why he joined the Sherwood, Burns and Jones Fire Department in 1985, Afelskie said, “First of all, I was available. I owned my own store, Afelskie Shoes, and I could come and go as I pleased. When the pager went off, I went. I had staff working for me, so I was all set. That’s how it all got going.”
In 1993 Afelskie became the deputy fire chief at Sherwood, Burns and Jones, then acting fire chief in 1996, and then chief after Fire Chief Lornie Bloskie died from cancer.
Afelskie became the first fire chief of the newly amalgamated Madawaska Valley Fire Department in 2000.
His first year in the chief’s role was a difficult one for the fire department.
First, there was a car fire in which a man and his three children died near the ski hill on the Combermere Road.
“Phew,” Alfeskie said recounting the memory. “It was a kind of nasty, nasty, nasty.”
Corwin Quade, current Fire Chief of Madawaska Valley said that, of the thousands of fires Afelskie has attended, that accident involving four deaths was probably the worst.
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