New Victoria fire chief gets official welcome

Victoria emergency services reach out to community

Victoria’s new fire chief will be given an official welcome tomorrow at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The change of command ceremony is a formality – Bruce has been in the job for the past month – but his appointment represents the latest in a string of new faces in top city roles including city manager Jason Johnson, Victoria Police Department Chief Frank Elsner and several pending replacements for retiring department directors.

Bruce said he wants to be a part of a “change of attitude” at city hall, where collaboration between departments is a growing priority.

“Given the right opportunities, people are more inclined to add a little bit extra, and we’re working closely with other city departments to knock down the silos a little bit to get things done efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Bruce becomes the 33rd fire chief of the 123-member Victoria Fire Department after Jeff Lambert stepped down in May following an extended medical leave.

The new chief said modern firefighting has been complicated by the number of high-rise buildings constructed in downtown Victoria over the past two decades.

“We have just about every kind of building construction that exists in the downtown core,” he said. “It provides for a bit of a different strategy to firstly conduct any rescues that are needed. By the time we get up there, the delay can change the risks.”

Another concern is the increasingly fortified structure of modern buildings.

“In the past, those exits would have allowed you to just walk out. Now they could find a locked gate or gated window,” Bruce said.

Firefighters make a point of walking through larger buildings to see “the bones” of a building in a non-emergency situation, where fire inspectors highlight abnormal emergency access routes, he added.

A Victoria resident since 1978, Bruce has been with Victoria Fire Department since 1993 and progressively worked his way up the ranks, most recently holding the position of deputy fire chief.

He previously served as a marine engineer with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Greater Victoria donates 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags and more for those in need

Items placed in 72-hour quarantine before being distributed to help homeless self-isolate

UVic closes Finnerty Gardens and popular dog park Cedar Corner

Regular dog walkers to Cedar Corner sent elsewhere during pandemic

Victoria to consider new appeals process for rejected short-term rental applications

There is not an established process in place for people seeking to reapply

No one injured in Saanich townhouse fire

Blaze may have been connected to fireplace use

COVID-19: B.C. reports 4 deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read