Longtime SSRTFD Firefighter Retired | Northern news

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One of the longest serving firefighters of the Sables Spanish River Fire Department (SSRFD) hangs up his helmet on May 30 after 52 years of fire and emergency service to the Sables Spanish River Township.

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Steven Mailloux joined the company as a young man of 20 years old. Mailloux has lived in rural Walford all his life and has held many roles during his more than half a century of service since 1972.

During his tenure in the fire department, Mailloux contributed as a firefighter, trainer and fire chief. Mailloux’s contribution to the community is not limited to the fire brigade. He has served on several committees in the community and surrounding area, including president of the Ag Society, district director of Sudbury Soil and Crop, provincial director representing Sudbury, Algoma and Manitoulin for Ontario Soil and Crop, and a director of the Manitoulin – North Shore Federation of Agriculture.

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His involvement with the SSRFD culminated in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Emergency Management Service (EMS), the Ontario Fire Marshalls office and the Paramedic Group under DSAB. They all recognize the years of experience that Mailloux has gained during his work at the SSRFD. Mailloux has had a profound and positive impact and made valuable contributions to many community organizations during his long career as a firefighter.

A fellow firefighter described Mailloux this way: “Steve is a respectful man and is highly respected, not only for what he has seen, but for what he has done over the years and how he has done it.”

When Mailloux started as a firefighter, he was first stationed in Walford, a small village west of Massey. At the time, he worked on the family farm on what is now Mailloux Road, a long stretch of road that runs north along Highway 17. It is an area of ​​centuries-old family farms and in the last twenty years there has been an influx of Mennonite families. year.

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In 1972 there was no fire station in Walford; the fire truck was in the parking lot of a local restaurant.

“Gordon Wright who was our neighbor and road inspector when the municipality decided to create a fire brigade and asked him to take on the role of fire chief,” Mailloux said recently.

Wright and Mailloux, both farmers at the time, had always harvested together every fall. Looking for volunteers, Wright asked the Mailloux brothers, Jerome and Steve, if they would like to join the new fire department as volunteers. They both signed up. In the many years since the department’s founding, several members of the Mailloux family have volunteered with the department. Like most of his family, Steve spent most of his working life as a dairy farmer and worked in the logging industry for five years.

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Looking back on his many years, Mailloux recalled fighting major house fires when temperatures were around 30 degrees Celsius in mid-winter. There were times when firefighters spent 20 hours battling a fire in sub-zero temperatures to bring it under control. When asked about his most memorable firefighting experience, Mailloux said, “I don’t know if I can pick anything out of it, we’ve been to so many house fires.”

SSRFD currently has 43 firefighters and four stations throughout the Municipality of Sables-Spanish Rivers, providing the municipality with the safety of trained volunteer first responders. Station 2 in Massey, Station 4 in Webbwood and Station 5 in Shakespeare are operated by Assistant Chief Rejean Laronde. Station 1 in Walford is managed by Deputy Chief Jean Wuorinen. Chief Blair Ramsay oversees all four SSRFD stations.

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When the merger into Sables Spanish River Township occurred, all local fire departments became one unit with stations in each of the four townships. After the merger, “it took a lot of time.”

When Rodney Houle took over as fire chief, both he and Mailloux were faced with the task of organizing the four separate stations into one unit to cover the area. After Houle’s death on May 30, 2015, Mailloux took over the role of chef for three years.

“I think we have always tried to respect them (new recruits). I look at the young people who came in and we looked at what they brought, what their background was and we gave them the opportunity to learn.”

Mailloux spent many years as a captain in the force and was involved in recruiting new members. During his service as a firefighter, Mailloux has had a profound and positive impact in instructing and developing firefighters. Fifty-two years of dedicating his life to helping and serving others at risk is an amazing legacy for which the township is grateful.

The SSRFD is always recruiting people. People interested in serving their community as first responders can contact [email protected]. For more information.

Longtime SSRTFD firefighter retired
Photo providedSables Spanish River Township Firefighter Steven Mailloux at the fire hall in Massey.

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