Penticton and South Okanagan
New fire chief achieves his dream
Sep 18, 2013 / 5:00 am
As a boy Tony Trovao always loved seeing the big red fire truck go by with its lights and sirens.
So in 1998 he walked from his home, near the Naramata Fire Hall, and applied to be a firefighter.
Now Trovao has taken his career goals a step further. After years of battling fires in the area, he was recently named fire chief for the community.
A role, he says, he is thrilled to take on.
"At the end of the day if you can help somebody, make somebody's bad day a better day, then you have done your job," he said. "And I believe very much in paying it forward."
Trovao is replacing Wil McCutcheon, who after two years as chief moved on to pursue his education. Prior to McCutcheon, Grahame Baker was the chief for 15 years.
During his years working with both chiefs, Trovao gained experience fighting fires big and small and was involved with countless rescues.
Among the biggest blazes he battled was his first fire on the corner of North Naramata Road and Robinson Avenue, in which two dogs were lost in a house fully involved.
"It was overwhelming," he recalled. "When it is 11 p.m. at night and you see more fire than structure, you know it's no longer practice, it's the real deal."
He was on scene during the long days and nights, Naramata Fire Rescue dealt with the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire and was there when a when a big log home on Patterson Road pretty much burned to the ground.
Just this year alone, he and fellow firefighters dealt with two fatalities, a woman who died when she fell out of the back of a pickup truck on Robinson Road, and the presumed drowning of a 25-year-old man last week in Okanagan Lake.
"We get used to going 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "Emergencies don't wear watches, they just happen."
As the new chief, he has set many goals for the months ahead.
First and foremost ensuring that everyone in the department feels they are part of a family.
"My belief is it's our family here, we hold tight and it's our family looking after your family," he said.
There will be a focus on being more community minded, working with seniors and juniors in the community, and Trovao will look at offering a junior firefighter program in 2014.
In keeping with his philosophy of paying it forward, he hopes to provide support to some local charities, including the Okanagan-Similkameen Neurological Society.
There are currently 24 firefighters, with five applicants going through the interview process, with Naramata Fire Rescue. That will bring the department up to 29, and Trovao's goal is to make that 30.
He hopes to do recruitment every year.
"If there's a good candidate out there, we want you," he said. "And I expect it will be quite a busy fall, training new applicants as well as new officers."
Trovao can be reached at [email protected]
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