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Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 50th anniversary

Many past and current NVFD members, dignitaries and residents took in festivities
Firefighters perform a Jaws of Life demonstration at the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department’s 50th anniversary celebration on May 25. (Contributed photo)

The Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department and the Regional District of Nanaimo celebrated more than 50 years of dedication and the service of the department and its members to the Nanoose Bay area on Saturday (May 25).

Many past and current NVFD members, other area fire departments members, RDN elected officials, Snaw-Naw-As First Nation representatives and members of the Nanoose Bay community joined to recognize and acknowledge the firefighters’ rich history and commitment to the community’s safety, according to a new release, as well as learn about fire and emergency services in their community.

The NVFD was formed on Oct. 12, 1972, and George Holme was elected as the first chief. A 1952 ladder-pump fire truck was purchased for $1,000, becoming fire truck No.1 at NVFD.

In 1973, the NVFD started to build their first official fire hall. It took roughly two years to build the hall with the help of the firefighters, the board of directors and many businesses and residents of the community.

The fire hall went through a major remodel in 2011. The new state-of-the-art hall is more efficient and up to modern building code and also safer and more functional for the firefighters, stated the release.

The redesign included:

Four back-in truck bays, a commercial kitchen, a gym area and large training room;

An area for firefighters’ gear that has been contaminated by smoke or other materials;

A water-based heat pump system that greatly boosts the station’s heating and cooling efficiency;

And large water collection basins that collect rainwater.

“I am proud and honoured to be the fifth fire chief at the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department,” said current Chief Leo Groenewegen.

“I am humbled and want to sincerely thank all past and current NVFD firefighters. Most of our firefighters work 40-plus hours at their day jobs and sacrifice their personal and family time to serve. NVFD would not exist without them — especially wouldn’t exist without the support of their spouses and families.”

For almost 50 years, the NVFD was operated, and services provided by, the Nanoose Bay Fire Protection Society. The RDN has operated the NVFD since August 2021.

2022 marked the official 50th anniversary of the NVFD, however the celebration was delayed due to COVID-19.

During the past 50 years, there have been five fire chiefs and more than 300 men and women that have proudly served the community and residents of Nanoose Bay as firefighters.

The NVFD currently has 30 members whose service ranges from a few months to 40 years of service. Like most fire departments in the region, the NVFD is actively recruiting new members to join to help protect their community. No experience required and all training is provided. For information, call 250-468-7141, email or drop by the firehall.

“Congratulations to the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department and its 300 members for over 50 years of serving and protecting our beautiful community, said Bob Rogers, RDN director, Electoral Area E. “My deepest gratitude to each member for their dedication and service.”

NVFD works closely with its neighbouring departments when the need arises; this includes mutual aid agreements with Lantzville, Parksville, Errington, Coombs and Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Ranges Fire Department.

To learn more about the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department, visit To learn more about fire services in the Regional District of Nanaimo, including the 16 fire departments that operate 24 fire halls in the region, visit

— NEWS Staff

An NVFD fire truck. (Photo contributed)