Township of Langley fire chief Stephen Gamble has retired.
It took effect Friday, Dec. 2, with deputy fire chief Bruce Ferguson appointed as interim chief.
Gamble has 45 years in the fire profession, close to 12 of them with Langley Township.
In a Nov. 12 message to department personnel, Gamble said he wished every one all the best.
“Stay safe and take care.”
In a Sunday, Dec. 4 interview with the Langley Advance Times, Gamble said he had just turned 65, and it seemed like the right time.
“It kind of worked out,” Gamble remarked, “with the new direction that the council and department is going, it was time for me to step aside.”
He added he has no issue with those new directions, but felt it was a logical time for a change at the top.
Looking back on his time as chief, Gamble cited several achievements, including an increase in staff and much-needed equipment upgrades.
“Our radio was held together with Band-Aids,” Gamble recalled, with crews unable to communicate at times.
They were replaced with sturdy, fire resistant radios that allow firefighters to communicate on 16 channels instead of the old four.
Instead of going through dispatchers, Township crews can now talk directly to police, ambulance, and neighbouring fire departments in Langley City and Surrey.
Gamble said the upgraded fire department vehicles are on a par with anything Vancouver, Burnaby, or Surrey fire departments can field.
“My whole goal was to make a difference and I hope we accomplished that,” Gamble said.
Gamble said he’s “had a few offers on a few things,” but has no immediate plans beyond possibly travelling and getting used to not working.
“I’ve been working solid since I was 12 years old,” he noted.
The father of two and grandfather of four is considering a trip with his family, noting that he had a lot of unused vacation time when he retired.
“I was one of the high ones, for sure,” he chuckled.
On Monday afternoon, Dec. 5, Gamble was scheduled to appear before Township council for a presentation to mark his retirement.
READ ALSO: Langley Township Fire Chief Gamble honoured
Gamble entered the fire service in 1978 as a volunteer firefighter with the City of Port Coquitlam, where he was hired as a full-time career firefighter in 1980.
He was promoted to assistant fire chief of operations and emergency preparedness coordinator in 1996, acting fire chief for the department in 2001, and the full-time fire chief/emergency coordinator in 2003.
He became Township of Langley’s fire chief in 2011.
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