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View Royal Fire celebrates 70th anniversary

Annual open house includes demos, junior firefighter challenge
Olivier Chiasson tries his hand at extinguishing a small barbecue fire, with the help of a View Royal firefighter during the department’s open house last year. This year’s open house takes place on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Gazette file photo)

Like many emergency responders across Greater Victoria, Rob Marshall became a firefighter for one reason – to help people.

Having worked at the B.C. Fire Commissioners Office previously, Marshall’s passion was public education around fire safety. Since then, he’s morphed from the public education side, which included code inspections and fire investigations, to become a firefighter with View Royal Fire Rescue. As part of his current position as assistant chief, Marshall gets the best of both worlds, education and keeping the public safe.

“What drew me to that [becoming a firefighter] was that you can have an effect on both sides. You can have an effect during the fire as well as after the fire and before the fire,” said Marshall, who has been with the department for the past 16 years.

Now, Marshall is one of 38 firefighters with the View Royal Fire Rescue, that are celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The department originally started in 1948, when 18 men came together on the ideals of protecting citizens of View Royal and providing a safer community for all. Since then, the department has grown by leaps and bounds.

RELATED: New View Royal fire hall adds spark to community

The department ordered a new truck in 2012 and will be ordering another one this year. Most recently, the department moved from its previous facility at 283 Island Hwy. into its new fire hall at 333 Island Hwy. in 2015, which also houses the offices of bylaw enforcement, emergency management and building services.

“There’s firefighters who never experience a new truck or a new fire hall … It’s quite incredible to be here for such a moment. We’ve had a whole bunch of milestones happen in the last five years. You couldn’t ask for more,” Marshall said. “It’s special not just for us, but for our municipality as well. Seventy-years of volunteer service is pretty good.”

As part of its 70th anniversary, the department is also hosting its 12th annual open house on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The open house includes a car fire simulator (the only one of its kind on the Island), grease fire explosions, sprinkler protection, and a platoon firefighter combat challenge.

Kids can also participate in a junior firefighters challenge with nine tasks to complete, including learning how to use a fire extinguisher and dress up in firefighter’s gear. At the end, they’ll receive a certificate as a junior firefighter. There will also be display trucks, hot dogs and cake.

Parking is limited, as a result the department is encouraging residents to use alternative methods of transportation, and are offering a safe place to store bikes. For more information visit

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