Lieutenant Ron Suits was a firefighter with Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department for four and a half years until he died while working a fire on July 16, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY SPROAT LAKE VFD)

Vancouver Island fire departments to hold service for fallen firefighter

Sproat Lake volunteer firefighter Lt. Ron Suits died at the scene of a barn fire on July 16

Fire departments from all over Vancouver Island will be taking part in a service for former Sproat Lake volunteer firefighter Lt. Ron Suits.

Suits died on July 16, 2020 after going into cardiac arrest while responding to a barn fire on the rural McCoy Lake Road in the Alberni Valley.

READ MORE: Fire destroys barn at hobby farm west of Port Alberni

READ MORE: Vancouver Island firefighters mourn one of their own

On Wednesday, July 29, members of the Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department (SLVFD) will be travelling to Courtenay to bring Suits’ remains back to the Alberni Valley.

“Six of us are going down to Courtenay to pick up Ron’s ashes and bring them back,” said SLVFD Chief Mike Cann. “It’s planned to be a fairly big procession, with a number of fire departments involved.”

Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Mike Owens has done most of the organizing for the procession, which will involve at least 15 fire departments, from Langford to Campbell River. Suits’ wife and daughter will also take part in the procession.

The procession will be leaving Comox at 3:15 p.m. and will travel through Oceanside before arriving back at the Sproat Lake fire department on Highway 4.

“We’re planning on rolling through [Port Alberni] at about 5:30 p.m.,” said Cann.

Suits’ death was the second line of duty death that the Sproat Lake VFD has experienced in 18 months. Firefighter Carla Kulczycki died in January 2019 from glioblastoma—a work-related cancer. After Kulczycki’s death, firefighters and other first responders held an honour guard, parading up Roger Street to the Alberni Valley Mutliplex.

READ MORE: Sproat Lake first responder ‘was a firefighter right until her passing’

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the same sort of service is not possible for Lt. Ron Suits.

“You can’t have a full line of duty death service,” said Cann. “That involves large crowds. That’s why we’re doing the drive from Courtenay into town.”

Suits served with the SLVFD for four and a half years, after almost four decades as a career firefighter. Cann said the service is going to feel “very sad, and very real” on Wednesday.

“On a construction job, if there’s a fatality, they shut the site down, they send everybody home,” he said. “They do an investigation, they’ll have a safety meeting, and then they’ll resume work. On a fire, you can’t shut down.

“You’ve got to keep going.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtfirefighters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sarah Simpson Column: Creativity, and smoke, yields two new ‘computers’

My son opted to empty the recycling bin of all its boxes and create stuff.

Arts & Entertainment column: A new book, an art prize, and an AGM

Here are a few of the things happening in Cowichan’s arts and culture scene.

Cowichan golf pro Jackson up for provincial honour

Cowichan Golf Club mainstay is already the only two-time winner

Tube Shack’s annual clean-up shows how far river has come

Less garbage than previous years, owing to years of clean-ups and weekly patrols

BCHL approves back-up plan for 2020-21 season

Without gate revenue, league will rely on player fees, government and business support

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read