Artworks support burn victims

Deceased firefighter John Carr had a hobby, perhaps an obsession. He collected artwork, a lot of artwork. In fact, his collection, even when stacked on shelves, took up two bedrooms in the home he shared with his wife Betty.

When Langley resident Erik Vogel received the call about Betty wanting to donate the artwork he was uncertain who to call for help. Vogel is a Burnaby firefighter and director of the B.C. Burn Fund with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighter’s Association (BCPFFA). He knew the artwork could help BCPFFA, but he wasn’t sure how to go about it. 

“Johnny was a real character, a long-time firefighter. He died 10 or 15 years ago and Betty kept the collection untouched until recently,” Vogel said. “I didn’t want to turn the opportunity down.”

“She [Betty] signed off on [donating] the collection,” he added. “She saved some for her home and Maynards came in for the ones they thought had big value. We were asked to come get the rest.”

Vogel approached the Langley Arts Council for help and then executive director, Don Shilton, arranged a five-tonne truck. With the abilities of a few firefighters, the paintings were transported to the Langley Arts Council’s location on the one-way section of Fraser Hwy.

“I grabbed some firefighters and we moved all the paintings,” Vogel said of the 1,200 or so pieces of the collection. 

Tyler Bruce, John and Betty Carr’s nephew, was one of the helpers to transport the paintings.

“Betty called Tyler wanting to donate the art to the Burn Camp,” Vogel said. “And Tyler called me.”

“Burn camp is for any child aged six to 18 who’s been in a burn unit,” he said.

It’s a week for kids with burns to forget about their scars and concerns, and be with other kids with the same experiences. 

“You’ll hear them asking how each other got burned,” Vogel noted. “Then you’ll see them having fun. We play hard up there. They love it.”

Bruce’s desire to help with the paintings is two-fold, according to Vogel.

“Tyler was a young firefighter, a rookie, on a crew to a call where he ended up doing CPR on a burned child. He asked to be the kid’s counsellor [at Burn Camp],” Vogel explained. “He came on as a councillor, but had to wait a couple years for that kid to come out.”

Many children scarred from burns feel too embarrassed to go to a camp, but according to Vogel, once they see how fun it is, they can’t get enough. 

Vogel is hoping there is a hidden treasure in the donated paintings to help with funding Burn Camp. 

Peter Tulumello, cultural services manager with the Langley Centennial Museum, has been helping to catalogue and price the artwork. 

The Langley Arts Council is credited by Vogel for its help in building shelves, storing, displaying, marketing, and selling the artwork. He hopes people will come in and buy one or two pieces. 

“They [the Langley Arts Council] were excited because it’s paintings and it’s [the proceeds] for charity, so it’s kind of a win-win,” Vogel noted.

Fort Langley bed and breakfast operators Mike and Marilyn Masterton bought several pieces to decorate their property.

Another aspect the BCPFFA would like to see funded is the new Burn Fund Centre in Vancouver which provides accommodations for burn and trauma patients and their family caregivers. The project is currently in a funding shortfall.

“It’s so frustrating,” Vogel noted. “We’re $2 million short. Burns are the worst injury the human body can endure without dying.”

 To arrange a private viewing of the John Carr Collection, contact Harmony at the Langley Arts Council at 604-534-0781 or


Minor burns

Most people know to run cold water over a burn, but Langley resident and firefighter Erik Vogel noted most don’t do it long enough.

Ten minutes is the length of time needed to pull the burn out, he said.

“You have 10 fingers, count down one finger for each minute,” he added. 

Use the coldest water you can stand, he said, but not ice. Ice on a burn is too drastic.

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