West Kelowna  

Fire station forced to close

A West Kelowna fire station was forced to temporarily close for one day.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund says the closure of Lakeview Heights Fire Station was a rare occurrence and is concerning for him.

“Our staff does everything they can to make sure that our stations are fully staffed and in this case, we have had a shortage of available staff,” he tells Castanet.

The Lakeview Heights Station 32, located on Olalla Road, was fully staffed on Sunday, but was empty all day Saturday due to a shortage in staff. 

The difficult decision came after firefighters had already worked overtime and extended tours of 38 hours straight. 

“At that point, it just becomes a balancing act for me, the health and safety of the community balanced with the health and safety of our firefighters who have been working particularly long hours recently,” he said. 

His number one priority is the safety of the community and his firefighters.

Relief will come in September as 10 new firefighters will join the crew.

“Eight are newly created positions and two that are back filing vacant positions that we’ve had,” he said. “Those 10 firefighters will help to ensure this won’t become a regular occurrence.”

Come September, the new positions will allow for four people to be at the station around the clock. 

Brolund notes that he doesn’t want the community to panic over the station having to be closed and says they will do their best to get a truck to people who need assistance. 

“I don’t want to create panic in the community. As concerning as this was for me, people in need of a fire truck ... we will do our best to get one for them,” he said. 

A contingency plan was put in place with staff at other halls and paid-on-call staff. 

“Our local fire departments are always helping each other out,” he says.

Over the next summer months, Brolund hopes a closure won’t happen again, but it very well could. 

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