Quesnel meet your new fire chief. Ron Richert was the assistant fire chief and fire inspector until the March 2 city council meeting where councillors unanimously approved appointing him fire chief.
Richert will be working closely with outgoing fire chief Sylvain Gauthier over the next few months as the city works to fill the now-vacant fire inspector position.
“I’m very happy to reach this stage of my career, and to do it in my hometown is overwhelming,” Richert said during the council meeting which made the move official.
“On behalf of council, we are excited. I know the reputation you’ve garnered in our community is very strong in the capacity that you’ve had to date,” Mayor Bob Simpson said. “We look forward to your leadership over our crew.”
Richert has been a member of the Quesnel Fire Department since 1998. Along with becoming chief, Richert will also be the director of emergency services for Quesnel.
“You oversee everything, and there’s a lot to oversee,” Richert said a few days after his appointment. “You oversee training, you oversee maintenance, you oversee inspections, fire prevention. There’s the administration side too, being the director of emergency services. Now I’ll be involved with natural disasters like flooding and wildfire season.”
The fire chief also works to take care of and help out the volunteer firefighters, who Richert was quick to praise. There are 45 volunteers who work in Quesnel.
“We have an amazing group of volunteers,” Richert said. “A good percentage of them have been around for as long as I have, so I’ve developed some pretty good friendships outside of the hall.”
Just because Richert has more stripes on his patches, doesn’t mean you won’t see him out responding to calls.
“Even as a chief I’m classified as a firefighter,” he said. “If I’m not on call I’m still classified as a volunteer… That’s part of the job that you do.”
The chance to realize his career goals in his hometown is special for Richert.
“I love Quesnel, it’s a great place, it’s home, I raised my children here, I still love it,” he said.
Quesnel’s next council meeting is set for Tuesday, March 23.
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