After six-and-a-half years in Port Alberni, Deputy fire Chief Chris Jancowski is leaving to become Esquimalt’s new fire chief.
Jancowski’s departure is bittersweet for both for himself and Port Alberni’s fire chief.
“It’s a mixture of being very proud and happy for him and mixed with being disappointed that we’re losing him,” fire Chief Tim Pley said.
For his part, Jancowski will never forget the warm welcome he received when he first came to Port Alberni from Qualicum’s volunteer fire department.
“When I first came to the community and the fire department, the community opened their arms and embraced myself and my wife Trish,” he said. “The members of the department were extremely professional and gave me the opportunity as a newcomer from outside the fire department.”
Jancowski credits Pley with his success.
“I had a great supporter and a great leader in fire Chief Tim Pley who’s been excellent in nurturing my career over the years.”
For his part, Pley has seen Jancowski grow tremendously.
“He came in very competent. I’ve seen him progress in the sense that he’s developed the ability to lead a department that has full time firefighters. He’s really become a resource to the entire regional district.”
According to Jancowski, Port Alberni’s greater number of fires per year prepared him well for his new position.
“Qualicum would have on average typically two or three fires a year whereas our department here has quite a few more than that… 30-50 fires a year.”
March 22 will be Jancowski’s last day at the Port Alberni fire department but Pley said he won’t be replaced for a few months yet.
City council has directed staff to fill the vacancy left by Jancowski.