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

Ladysmith life coach wins international award two years in a row

Bestka K-Burr has been named among the Top 100 Management Consultants in the World

Businesses mixed on downtown temporary washroom

Ladysmith Health Food Stores launches petition against the temporary washroom

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read