Colwood residents are mourning the loss of Fire Chief John Cassidy, who died suddenly despite the efforts of his own fire crews. who rushed to save him.
B.C. Ambulance paramedics also responded to the medical emergency call Wednesday and provided care for the chief, who later died in hospital. “This is a tremendous loss for our community. We are so deeply saddened by John’s passing,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.
“We hold John’s family in our thoughts as we come together as a community to support the close-knit team of staff and volunteer firefighters he led and the many, many people who will feel this loss deeply.”
A statement from the city says Cassidy will be remembered as a respected leader, a trusted colleague and a man of great integrity; his commitment to serving his community for 22 years has left an indelible mark on Colwood.
Acting Chief Greg Chow will take over leadership of the department.
The View Royal and Langford fire departments assisted Wednesday to ensure fire rescue services to the community were uninterrupted as Colwood firefighters “supported each other during the shock and grief of Chief Cassidy’s passing,” says the statement, which credited inter-departmental mutual aid agreements “that Chief Cassidy had a strong hand in reinforcing.”
“Chief Cassidy was held in the highest regard by the staff and volunteers of the Colwood Fire Department, the firefighting community throughout the province and all who had the honour of knowing him,” said Chow.
“As we grieve together and support each other through this loss, we know that Chief Cassidy would want us to focus on continuing to provide exceptional fire rescue services to the community he was dedicated to serving. That is how we can best honour his memory at this difficult time.”
Flags are at half mast at the Colwood Fire Hall, Colwood City Hall, West Shore RCMP and fire departments around the region.