South Algonquin gets new fire chief


South Algonquin- On Feb. 2, a new fire chief was appointed in South Algonquin. In a recent email exchange with the Valley Gazette, Ian Collins explained that the new job he took on was not something he previously had been considering. He said, “It was not something I had planned or desired but when our township was faced with an unexpected vacancy at the chief level, I did what all local volunteer members of fire departments everywhere do – I stepped up.”

Before becoming chief, Collins was a captain at the Madawaska Fire Hall and was also one of two qualified trainers. He explained that the other qualified trainer was the departing chief.

When asked to fill in a few more details about himself, Chief Collins said, “I am originally from London, England and prior to immigrating to Canada I was a police officer in London with the Metropolitan Police Service for 30 years. Over my 30-year career, I was fortunate to serve in many different roles including riot control, surveillance, marine unit, mass disaster body recovery and identification, counter terrorist search and finally as the equivalent of a Staff Sergeant (UK does not have that rank) in charge of a large K9 unit responsible for providing officers on the ground with K9 support for the north east side of
London 24/7.”

Collins explained that prior to his retirement, he and his wife had been looking to embark on a new chapter. He explained, “I wanted to do something very different from my police career. Whilst visiting relatives in Whitney we started to think over the idea of owning a resort and eventually after a little searching in 2005 we became the new owners of All Star Resort in Madawaska. My family and I immigrated to Canada in 2007 and haven’t looked back becoming proud Canadian citizens in 2013.” In offering a few words of encouragement to others he said, “Anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.  After 12 years of owning and running the resort we sold up and retired in 2017.”

As strange turn of events inspired, Collins to learn more about the local fire department. He said, “I had no idea about the local fire department until six weeks after I arrived in Canada when we suffered the loss of one of our cottages due to the careless use of a BBQ by the renters.”

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