Minden fire chief hangs up helmet
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | September 21, 2017
Minden Hills fire Chief Doug Schell says he’s getting older “and the phone calls in the middle of the night are just starting to take their toll” on him.
Schell confirmed he’s resigned his job with the township. He finishes Oct. 6. He’ll then begin a new job with the Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) Oct. 10.
Schell, who’s been with the municipality for 28 years, told The Highlander this week it had been a tough decision, and he’s going to miss the team at the fire hall, but he’s happy about the career change.
“First of all, this wasn’t any kind of political decision,” he said. “This was a job that just came up. I saw it. I felt it represented everything I’ve trained for over the years. I applied for it and now I have it.”
He is pleased he is remaining in the community and still serving it. The new job entails emergency planning and fire safety.
He believes he’s leaving the municipality in good shape.
“There’s a lot of things that are all coming together with the new fire hall. I’ll never work out of it but I was part of the team that designed it. After working on it for nine years, it’s happening. Maybe this works out for a reason, a new person coming in and taking over the reins, starting in a new facility. The service isn’t going to drop because I’m not there … it’s in good hands.”
Reeve Brent Devolin admitted he was initially “shocked” by the resignation, but upon reflections sees it is a good step for Schell and his family.
“I want to thank him for 28 years of commitment to this community. Obviously he’s still staying in the county and from a community point of view that’s great.
“In municipalities, there are some very, very stressful jobs, certainly fire chiefs are one … does anybody want to sit in that hot seat for that long in life? Most of us don’t realize the 24-hour nature of the job … even when you’re doing it … you’re kind of always at the ready … and those phone calls in the middle of the night.”
Devolin added the township’s emergency planning and its fire hall project are both “in great shape moving forward.”
As for a replacement, he said it will be discussed at council. He noted the province is talking about policy changes to EMS as well.
“We’ll talk in the short and medium term about what we may or may not do. We’ll consider the state of where we’re at with all of our personnel and what’s going on around us. [Fire chiefs] are always big shoes to fill but we live in a pretty nice area. So, you never know with an open call who’ll want to come to Minden.” He added that having a new fire hall “won’t hurt.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.