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Belated honours for Oak Bay firefighter who died on duty

To honour Assistant Fire Chief Fred Briggs, the department is dedicating an oak tree at the fire hall in his memory
Oak Bay resident Sharon Glowasky holds a photo of her father Fred Briggs

As a part of the Oak Bay fire department’s 75th anniversary event this weekend, a firefighter who died on the job in the late 1960s will be honoured.

Assistant Fire Chief Fred Briggs had just returned from a call when he collapsed at the fire hall from a heart attack. His fellow firefighters attempted to resuscitate him but Briggs died.

“Nowadays that would be classified as a line of duty death, having a cardiac arrest at work. But in those days it wasn’t,” said Fire Chief Gerry Adam.

To honour Briggs, the department is dedicating an oak tree at the fire hall in his memory, to recognize his contributions and his service to the department.

Briggs’ name has also been added to the firefighter memorial at the rear of the B.C. Legislature.

Briggs’ daughter, Sharon Glowasky, still lives in Oak Bay and will be attending the ceremony, possibly along with her sisters Debbi Beardshaw and Diane Gardiner.

“A wonderful guy. Never had a bad word to say about anybody,” said Glowasky of her late father. “He was a really good person.”

Briggs was an avid golfer and fisherman and had a real passion for his career as a firefighter.

“He loved being a firefighter,” Glowasky said, adding how much this honour means to her family.

“It’s kind of awesome. I can’t believe it. We never even thought about it, not at all. It just kind of came out of the blue.”

Medals will also be awarded to a few long-standing members of the fire department during the ceremony.

Family events celebrate 75th anniversary

Saturday, April 13, open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Includes “Combat Challenge” for children hourly on the half hour and a barbecue from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 14, open house from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Includes lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., speeches and ceremonies starting at 1:45 p.m., followed by dedication of plaque in memory of Fred Briggs.