Lieutenant Ron Suits was a firefighter with Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department for four and a half years until he died while working a fire on July 16, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY SPROAT LAKE VFD)

Lieutenant Ron Suits was a firefighter with Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department for four and a half years until he died while working a fire on July 16, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY SPROAT LAKE VFD)

Vancouver Island fire departments to hold service for fallen firefighter

Sproat Lake volunteer firefighter Lt. Ron Suits died at the scene of a barn fire on July 16

Fire departments from all over Vancouver Island will be taking part in a service for former Sproat Lake volunteer firefighter Lt. Ron Suits.

Suits died on July 16, 2020 after going into cardiac arrest while responding to a barn fire on the rural McCoy Lake Road in the Alberni Valley.

READ MORE: Fire destroys barn at hobby farm west of Port Alberni

READ MORE: Vancouver Island firefighters mourn one of their own

On Wednesday, July 29, members of the Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department (SLVFD) will be travelling to Courtenay to bring Suits’ remains back to the Alberni Valley.

“Six of us are going down to Courtenay to pick up Ron’s ashes and bring them back,” said SLVFD Chief Mike Cann. “It’s planned to be a fairly big procession, with a number of fire departments involved.”

Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Mike Owens has done most of the organizing for the procession, which will involve at least 15 fire departments, from Langford to Campbell River. Suits’ wife and daughter will also take part in the procession.

The procession will be leaving Comox at 3:15 p.m. and will travel through Oceanside before arriving back at the Sproat Lake fire department on Highway 4.

“We’re planning on rolling through [Port Alberni] at about 5:30 p.m.,” said Cann.

Suits’ death was the second line of duty death that the Sproat Lake VFD has experienced in 18 months. Firefighter Carla Kulczycki died in January 2019 from glioblastoma—a work-related cancer. After Kulczycki’s death, firefighters and other first responders held an honour guard, parading up Roger Street to the Alberni Valley Mutliplex.

READ MORE: Sproat Lake first responder ‘was a firefighter right until her passing’

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the same sort of service is not possible for Lt. Ron Suits.

“You can’t have a full line of duty death service,” said Cann. “That involves large crowds. That’s why we’re doing the drive from Courtenay into town.”

Suits served with the SLVFD for four and a half years, after almost four decades as a career firefighter. Cann said the service is going to feel “very sad, and very real” on Wednesday.

“On a construction job, if there’s a fatality, they shut the site down, they send everybody home,” he said. “They do an investigation, they’ll have a safety meeting, and then they’ll resume work. On a fire, you can’t shut down.

“You’ve got to keep going.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtfirefighters

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

Just Posted

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up a camera at the beach in Parksville, in the same spot every day in February, to capture the changing days and weather. (Randy Hall photo)
WATCH: Scenes from 28 days in February in Parksville

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up camera in same location each day

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(PQB News file photo)
Some frustrated Parksville Qualicum Beach residents now tossing recyclables in garbage

Option is driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay

Mike Garland, fundraising member of the Oceanside Community Track committee, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Mike Garland’s group wants an updated running track in Parksville

Podcast: Talk includes fundraising, plans to upgrade aging facility and more

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Most Read