Firefighter Brian Brick of Cherry Creek Fire Department has died of cancer. He is the second firefighter to die of a work-related illness in the Alberni Valley in January. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Cherry Creek firefighters mourn former deputy chief

Brian Brick is the second Alberni Valley firefighter to die of work-related cancer in January

Alberni Valley firefighters are mourning another colleague after learning that former Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department deputy chief Brian Brick has died of a work-related illness.

“It is with great sadness in my heart I have to announce the passing of retired deputy chief Brian Brick,” Cherry Creek Chief Lucas Banton said.

Brick was the longest-serving member of the Cherry Creek VFD, with 33 years of service. “He started as a junior member and retired deputy chief in 2016. During that time he was an integral part of the department and very well respected by everyone.”

Brick is the third firefighter to die this month, and the second to have had a work-related illness. He died of brain cancer related to firefighting duties after being diagnosed nine months ago.

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Port Alberni Fire Dept. members also attended a funeral for retired firefighter Bruce Trenholm last Tuesday (Jan. 15) at Yates Memorial Services in Port Alberni. Trenholm retired as a fire captain after 32 years of service. He also served as administrator for Port Alberni Homeless Shelter and with Literacy Alberni Society as a tutor.

Sproat Lake VFD firefighter Carla Kulczycki died of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in early January. Hers was one of 13 work-related cancers or illnesses that WorkSafeBC recognizes as cancers that arise from employment as a firefighter.

Because Brick’s illness was also related to his firefighting duties, his death is considered to be in the line of duty.

Brick’s family has decided not to hold a public Line of Duty Death service, such as the one that Sproat Lake VFD held for Kulczycki on Jan. 13.

“I’ve been in talks with the family for a couple of months,” Banton said. “They’ve opted not to go through the whole Line of Duty service. We’re going to support them in other ways,” he added.

“Brian…was pretty clear he didn’t want that.”

Banton said a Line of Duty service can be difficult for a family because of everything that is involved with such a service. Kulczycki’s service included an honour guard from Maple Ridge and a road closure for the procession to the Alberni Athletic Hall.

Besides his position with the fire department, Brick was an electrician with his family’s business. He spent his leisure time with family and friends, golfing, fishing down the Alberni Inlet or searching the bush for chanterelle mushrooms.

“His amazing sense of humour will be one of his many legacies that people will miss most and remember about Brian,” his family posted in his obituary.

Brick was pre-deceased by his sister Catherine and father Alfred. He is survived by his wife Jan, daughter Janelle Brick (Brandon) and son Nyles Brick, brother Reg and nephews Eryn and Dave Brick (Sherry), mother Angeline Brick, uncles Emile Nobert, Roger (Eva) Nobert and Wesley Brick.

A celebration of life has been planned for Saturday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m. at Cherry Creek Community Hall (3720 Moore Rd.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Brick’s memory to Ty Watson House Hospice.

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