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Our Department
Our History
Welcome to the North Oyster Fire Rescue

The department operates under establishing by-law with the Cowichan Valley Regional District. We are para-military in nature, with a Chief, Deputy Chief, Traning Officer, 2 Captains, 3 Lieutenants and Firefighters.


Emergency dispatching is through North Island 911.  Fire department members carry radio pagers that will alert them to the location and type of emergency. The total land area within the boundaries is estimated at approximately 38 square miles.


Regular members attend regular weekly practices on Tuesdays at 7pm. There are also additional special practices, at various days and times, for larger practical training.


Recruits have a six month training period, held at special Monday night practice, to become proficient in the skills they will need as a firefighter. Training standards are set under IFSTA and NFPA guidelines.


The North Oyster Fire Rescue places a high emphasis on training members. A large percentage of the annual budget is allocated exclusively to training. Only well trained individuals can carry out their duties without undue risk to themselves or others.


Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please do look around the rest of the site and find us on Facebook and Twitter.


Chief Florian Schulz

North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department est. 1957
The North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated under the Society Act on September 18, 1957, after five months of discussion by the North Oyster Rate payers Association.

A 1936 International fire truck was purchased for $500 from Mr. Sydney Pickles of Saanich, which he had repossessed from the Saanich Fire Department. This price included an 800-gallon tank mounted on the truck. Mr. Pickels then donated half the sale price to the North Oyster Fire Department and the remaining $250 to the Handicapped Children's Hospital in Victoria, of which Mr. Pickles was president.

Community involvement was very evident from the beginning and is still an integral part of the success of the department today. As an example, the first fire truck was housed in a garage on the Jack Cairns property until the fire hall was completed in 1967. During this time, Mr. Cairns' own vehicles were exposed to the elements. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cairns donated the land on which the fire hall was built. They also provided water from their well for use in the hall. Sandy Trudell donated the cost of having the original lot cleared.

The first officers were: Honorary Chief, A.B. (Barney) Wilson; Fire Chief Tom Hawthornthwaite (who served a total of thirteen years); Deputy Chief Jack Cairns; Fire Captain Harold Adshead (who also designed the fire hall and ultimately officially opened the building on December 9, 1967); First Lieutenant Norman Trudell; Second Lieutenant Fred Bell; Third Lieutenant Don Wilson; Alternatives Cliff Williams and Dave Fisher; and Secretary Alex Smith (who served as Secretary-Treasurer for nine years). Jack Cairns and Jim Morgan served as Chief for two years each, and Doug Lambert for four.

A Ladies Auxiliary was formed September18, 1958 with Irene Hawthornthwaite as president; Vice-president Jackie Dick; secretary-treasurer Charlotte Williams; and Dorothy Scofield. A membership fee of 50 cents per member a year was charged to the twenty-one members. The sale of 200 cookbooks compiled by the Auxiliary members was a source of revenue along with cabaret dances at the Cedar Community Hall.                 
continued below...
History continued...

From 1959, funds were raised for the materials for the hall, and volunteer work parties were organized under the Building Committee. The committee consisted of Harold Adshead, Jack Bell and Bill Doskotch. The hall was completed in 1967 as North Oyster's centennial project, at a cost of $9,800. A The British Columbia government donated $4,000 of the cost and$5,800 was contributed by the community. The area serviced included Takala Road to the Nanaimo River at Cassidy, over to the Dogwood Store in Cedar, and across to Yellow Point. In 1959 ,there were 214 parcels of property in the fire district, not including Waterloo. In January 1964, discussions took place regarding purchase of a later model fire truck, and Keith Wyndlow was appointed to spear-head plans and draw up specifications suitable for our rural needs.


In March1967, North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department came under the jurisdiction of the regional District of Cowichan Valley. We were the first fire department to be organized by a Regional District. The first Board of Directors selected were: Tom Hawthornthwaite, Bob Scofield, Herb Randall, Jim Williams, Max deJong, and Alex Smith as secretary-treasurer.


After considerable investigation of efficient equipment used by other fire departments in a similar rural situation to ours, specifications were drawn up and tenders requested. Silverline Fire Equipment’s bid of $24,143.70 was accepted for a 1969 Ford 750, 625gpm triple combination pumper. The truck was officially received September 6, 1969 and designated Engine 2.


In 1972, a used 1960 Ford 750 cab and chassis was purchased for $1,577. Using the facilities of  Howie Davis and later Alex Wickham, work-parties were organized under Keith Wyndlow to enlarge the tank formerly used on the original truck and install an extra large valve to ensure a quick "turn-around time" when hauling and dropping water in our rural situation. The truck was put into service in 1973. An adjacent piece of property, 100'X100' was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cairns in 1972, for a bargain price of $500, creating a parking area and space for expansion at a future date if necessary.


Ron Lambert was elected Chief from 1979-81


A referendum for $60,000 was passed November 17, 1979 for a new cab-over tanker of 1,000 gallons and equipment, including a power take-off mounted pump. An addition was put on the fire hall, partly by volunteers under the direction of Barry Patterson.


In 1981 Keith Wyndlow was elected Chief.


In 1982 we acquired T5 -a 1300 gallon cab-over tanker


Bill Davis served as Chief from1982-83


Vern Warnock served as Chief from 1983-84


Tyler Jansen served as Chief from 1985-1990


Between 1988 and 1990 Hall 2 was built,  we received a new front-line pumper (E1), and we acquired Truck 6, our first rescue vehicle.


Doug Lambert served as Chief from 1990-1992


Keith Wyndlow served as Chief from 1992-1996


In 1996 we acquired another front-line pumper, Engine 3


Bill Pottruff served as Chief from 1996-1998


Jason deJong served as Chief from 1998-2015


In 2001 we acquired Rescue 1 and retired Truck 6


In 2005 we acquired Tender 2 and retired Truck 4


In 2012 we acquired Engine 1-1 and retired Truck 5, Engine 3


In 2015 we acquired a new utility truck and retired the old utility truck


Jason Layman served as Chief from 2015-2018

April 30th, 2018 Marked the official groundbreaking for the new firehall project.

December 22, 2018 The department moved into the new 4 bay hall, leaving the old structure to renovations beginning January 2019. This will re-purpose the previous structure to training space, offices and better facilities for the members.

January 1, 2019 Florian Schulz took over as Chief

June 2019, the renovations were complete and the firehall was fully open and functional

2022, we acquired Rescue 1-1 with hydraulic tools on both sides of the apparatus and sold Rescue 1

2023 we acquired our first ladder truck, L1-1

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