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

Cathy Browne is very proud of her new front door. All the new doors are lovely and create an individual look for each room. Photo submitted
Courtenay’s Glacier View Lodge dressing up its doorways for residents

Glacier View Lodge’s vision of ‘feels like home’ has been enhanced this… Continue reading

Ginette Matthews shows off some of the wares at The Local Refillery. Photo by Femke Overmaat
Pandemic meant going digital quickly for Courtenay’s Local Refillery

Owner Ginette Matthews says system keep business open in its early months

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
Comox Valley RCMP asking public to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Tom Lennox finds peace when he runs in the Cumberland Forest. He hasn’t missed a day in nearly a year. Photo supplied
Cumberland runner nears 366 consecutive days on the trails

Cumberland resident Tom Lennox has been running a minimum of five kilometres… Continue reading

Courtenay’s Ace Brewing Company’s Jet Fuel IPA was chosen for second place in the annual Canadian Brewing Awards. Photo submitted
Courtenay brewery takes silver medal at Canadian Brewing Awards

“It’s huge - they are the biggest awards in Canada that you can get (in the brewing industry).”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read