Beausejour Brokenhead Fire Department .. 1946 – 2011 (current)

The Development Of The Fire Service

By Dean Mineault (CAPTAIN)

This all started back in 1946 when the citizens of Beausejour were concerned with the
safety and welfare of their people. This article will be a continuation of Fire Chief Don
Longmuir’s Firefighting and Firefighters column from the book “ They Stopped At A Good
Place”.
The Beausejour Brokenhead Fire Department will provide to the community an efficient,
well trained fire department to safely protect lives and property through fire prevention and
education, fire suppression, rescue services and emergency management. This is our mission; it
provides both meaning and direction to all members involved in the organization.
We will begin our journey in the mid 70’s. The volunteer roster consisted of a group of
16-20 members and services they provided were both fire and emergency medical services. These
men and women were called into duty via the town siren as well as conference phones which
were placed in most of the member’s homes. Fundraising for equipment and some apparatus
were just a way of doing business back then. Support from family, community and businesses
played a large role in the fire service. In the latter part of the 80’s the town siren and conference
phones were replaced with individual pagers that each member carried and all emergency calls
were dispatched through the Beausejour Hospital. Today, we still carry the pagers but since 2000
we are dispatched via the 911 communications centre in Brandon, Manitoba. The 26 members
today are no longer volunteer, but paid on call and are ready for service twenty four hours a day,
seven days a week.
The fire apparatus used during this time was a 1965 pumper truck, 1967 pumper truck,
1974 Fargo water tanker, 1974 Suburban secondary ambulance, 1976 rescue cube van and a 1977
Dodge step van which was the primary ambulance. In 1987, the EMS services were taken over by
NEHA and the ambulance service ceased through the fire department and the 1974 suburban was
then converted to a tactical truck for the fire service. In the early 90’s, the chief and officers
worked with councils to purchase a new 1992 Spartan pumper, which is still in use today. This
truck has a 1000 gallon tank and the capacity of pumping 1050 gallons of water per minute. This
was a major step forward for the community and the service. In 1994, the RM of Brokenhead
purchased a 1994 GMC Top Kick Chassis along with a second hand fuel tank which converted
this truck into a 1800 gallon water tanker to replace the older Fargo water tanker to support the
efforts in fire suppression in the municipality. To meet the needs of the community and provide
it’s citizens a greater level of protection, the Fire Chief and officers, along with councils have
worked hard in the last ten years upgrading fire apparatus. Currently this fleet consists of one
2000 Freightliner pumper truck, 2007 Freightliner rescue truck, 2008 six wheel drive all terrain
vehicle, 2010 Freightliner 2000 gallon tanker, and last a 2007 GMC quad cab tactical truck to
replace the 74 suburban.
The personal protective clothing and equipment used in the early to mid 70’s were hip
waders and long coats. Oxygen regeneration masks and two-way VHF radios were in use on the
fire ground as means of communication. In the late 70’s to early 80’s the department received the
first generation of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Over the years, we have upgraded
and expanded the use of the SCBA and traded the long coats for structural fire fighting gear in
use today. We use both VHF and Fleet net radios to enhance communications on the fire ground.
As technologies evolve so does the equipment we use in the fire service, from specialized
stabilization equipment to thermal imaging cameras. Today’s techniques involve constant
training and instruction.
In the early 80’s, amongst some hesitation from council, the Fire Chief had recognized
that in order for the department to maintain protection and safety for its community, it must
further its education and training. The first member was sent to Brandon Fire College and he
became the first certified training instructor for the service. This new training enabled the
Beausejour Brokenhead Fire Department to be more professional in its duties that it supplied to
the community. Prior to the Brandon Fire College, fire fighters received training in various
places such as Pinawa. In 1985 the first group of seven firefighters gained their first responder
certified status. Three of these members are still with the service today. The Beausejour
Brokenhead Fire Department trains to standards set out by the National Fire Protection
Association in which the Fire Chief and our jurisdiction determines what training and
certification are necessary to maintain a position as a firefighter in our community. The lines of
communication between the fire service and both town and RM councils have been streamlined
through the formation of the Fire Committee. This committee educates both sides and enables the
Fire Chief and councils to manage this essential service.
The progression of the Beausejour Brokenhead Fire Department is based on the trials
and lessons learned at many incidents over the decades. We are looked upon, to provide a
necessary and valuable service to our community. No one should attempt to predict the future
without giving credit to the past. We will continue to learn and develop our skills.
These are some of the events which have altered the history of our service;
1. Tyndall Hotel Fire major loss to the community
2. Beausejour Curling Club Fire major loss to the community
3. Beausejour Tire Fire personal loss for owners
4. B.J. Packers Fire personal loss for owners
5. Ambulance Collision 95 loss of two ambulance attendants, one which served on
fire department
6. Oh Susanna Fire landmark and major loss to the community
7. Bergie’s Fire personal loss for owners
Thanks to the following contributors of this article for their integral part of history; the
dedication, contributions, commitments and hard work: apologies to those that were not
consulted due to shortage of time.
Names Position Status Years of Service
Walter Best (Deputy Chief) retired 1969 – 2002
Alvin Klapprat (Fire Chief) retired 1974 – 1992
Cas Szajewski (Fire Chief) retired 1977 – 1998
Jamie Kines (Fire Chief) active 1983 – Present
Special thanks to all men and women who bravely serve your community.

December 2006

A special thank-you goes out to Andrea Hourie, Kyle McKoluff, Andrew Orr, Jody Rueckert, Dooley Breitfeld, Vince DePaulo  for their years of dedication to the fire department. Good luck in your future endeavors.

October 2006

Derek Holigroski
Derek Holigroski
Jason Schmidt
Jason Schmidt
Patrick Mazur
Patrick Mazur
Kris Keefe
Kris Keefe

Congratulations goes out Derek Holigroski, Jason Schimidt, Patrick Mazur and Kris Keefe on passing there NFPA Level 1 Firefighter Practical Exam in Niverville on Saturday October 21st. All the years of dedication have paid off. Good luck on the written test coming up soon.

September 2006

Beausejour-Brokenhead Fire Department says farewell to Lt. Vince DePaulo

Lieutenant DePaulo 2006The Beausejour-Brokenhead Fire Department wishes all the best to Lieutenant Vince DePaulo. Vince started with the fire department in 1998. From there he received his level 1 firefighter certification in 2000. Vince then participated in the Manitoba Emergency Services College’s Public Fire Paramedic Program receiving his certification as a Fire Medic in 2002. Later that year Vince got hired on with the City of Winnipeg’s Fire Paramedic Service. Vince continued to play an active roll throughout the years in firefighting and instruction of new firefighters in the service. He recieved his Emergency Service Instructor Status in 2004. And recently became a lieutenant in 2005. We as a department thank-you for your years of dedication and service.. We hope you enjoy your new life in the Anola area.

June 2005

Fire Department
BEAUSEJOUR-BROKENHEAD FIREFIGHTERS: Back Row (L to R) Capt. Randy Melnick, Lieu. Vince DePaulo, Derek Holigroski, Capt. Barry Frank, Andrew Orr, Jason Schmidt, Dooley Breitfeld, Fire Chief Jamie Kines, Patrick Mazur, Lieut. Dean Mineault, Jody Rueckert, Todd Cutting, Ryan Park, FRONT ROW (L to R): Deputy Chief Bob Rittwage, Kyle McKoluff, Kyle Schimidt, Brett Schewe, Don Adam, Brad Honke, MISSING: Deputy Chief Ryan Keefe, Exec Asst. Art Burden, Kris Keefe, Chad Schick, Pat Mazur Sr, Kory Adam, Brad Minnis, Andrea Hourie, Radio Operators Joan Plaetinck, and Alice Trombo.

April 2004

Emergency Service Awards a Huge Success!!

On April 3rd, 2004 the Fire Department celebrated its Emergency Service Awards to recognize the dedication of its members. There were many awards given out to firefighters with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years service. Also two of our members received the Governor General’s Award for Exemplary Service. We also said good bye to one of our former Captain’s Lawrence Germain.

Capt. Lawrence Germain
Former Capt. Lawrence Germain Excepting the Exemplary, from Deputy Fire Commissioner Ron Bridges
Chief Jamie Kines
Fire Chief Jamie Kines excepting the Exemplary Service Service Award, Award From Deputy Fire Commissioner Ron Bridges

Former and Present Members

Left to Right 1ST ROW: Bob Rittwage, Alys Burden, Jamie Kines, Joan Plaetinck, Wally Best, 2ND ROW: Randy Melnick, Mark Plaetinck, Barry Frank, Brad Honke, Lawrence Germain, Kyle Schmidt, Vince DePaulo, Todd Cutting, Rob Kewley, Chad Schick, Ryan Keefe, Alice Trombo, 3RD ROW: Pat Mazur, Alex Rountree, Cas Szajewski, Rick Reis, Kelly Noonen, Melissa Saunders, Jason Schmidt, and Derek Holigroski.

Members Receiving Awards:

Barry Frank, 25 Years Service; Pat Mazur, 25 Years Service; Lawrence Germain, 20 Years Service; Jamie; Kines, 20 Years Service; Joan Plaetinck, 20 Years Service; Bob Rittwage, 15 Years Service; Don Adam, 15 Years Service; Art Burden, 10 Years Service; Ryan Keefe, 10 Years Service; Alys Burden, 10 Years Service; Randy Melnick, 5 Years Service; Kris Keefe, 5 Years Service; Brad Honke, 5 Years Service; Dean Mineault, 5 Years Service

January 2004

Good luck to Captain Lawrence Germain & Joe Beasley two firefighters that have recently left our fire department.

Lawrence has been on the fire department since 1983. Through years of hard work and dedication he has contributed a great deal to the fire department. For the past years he has been the lead training instructor on the department. He currently holds the certification of NFPA’s Emergency Service Instructor Level 2, Fire Fighter Level 2, Driver Operator, Vehicle Extrication, and Emergency Medical Responder. For over a decade Lawrence has been a commanding officer in charge of many fire scenes. His experience have been an extreme asset in many situations. For all these years you have dropped everything in your life to come to a fire call. We thank-you greatly for all of the sacrifices you have had to make. You will be greatly missed. We the department wish you all of the best with your future in Winnipeg.

Joe has been on the fire department for the past 3 years. His recent accomplishments include becoming a certified NFPA Level 1 Firefighter. You as well have dedicated all of your extra time to the fire department. Being a volunteer firefighter isn’t an easy task with training and being on call basically 24 hour 7. We thank-you for all of your dedication and your time. Good luck to you and your future in Selkirk.