Maple Ridge fire department is mourning the loss of assistant fire chief Doug Armour who passed away from cancer this past weekend.
Armour started with Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue in 2001 as a paid-on-call firefighter and received a career position in 2007. In 2015 he became a training officer for the department, and in July 2017 he began his new job as an assistant fire chief.
At the time, Armour said his new responsibilities would revolve around fire prevention.
“I’ll now be looking at inspections for residential and commercial buildings, and then I’m also in operations, so I’ll be looking after the trucks and equipment through all the halls,” he said in a 2017 interview.
Armour worked with his older brother, Stuart, for 17 years in the security alarm industry before he was hired full-time at the fire department.
“He was a fantastic guy,” said Stuart.
When the opportunity came, Armour quit the security industry without being hired and spent every waking hour at the fire hall to make sure they knew how badly he wanted to be part of the team, Stuart recounted.
It was a huge, life-changing decision, but it was the right one, added the elder sibling.
“You could tell that’s where he wanted to be. That became his life and it was either that or his family,” he noted.
Either Armour was spending time with his family at soccer games or ball hockey – or other activities his sons were involved in – or he was at the Justice Institute helping with training or working with new recruits, said Stuart.
Armour just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary three weeks ago, two days before he drove himself to the hospital for what was supposed to be routine day surgery.
He drove there with his wife and her mother, who were going to pick him up after lunch.
However, Stuart said, there were complications that led to more complications and he was eventually diagnosed with cancer, that – it turned out – had been there for some time.
“The type of cancer that doesn’t show up until it was quite advanced,” Stuart explained.
“The one consolation is he didn’t know how sick he was and he didn’t suffer,” he added.
Armour’s family moved to Canada from Scotland in 1973, so Stuart said, they don’t have a lot of family here.
“The fire department was his other extended family,” his brother said.
Comments and condolences poured in on Facebook after a post announcing Armour’s death by the Maple Ridge firefighters union, IAFF 4449, on Sunday, July 12.
Stuart wrote on Facebook how proud he was to be his brother.
“So sad you have been taken away from us way too soon. I know you will find peace knowing that your immediate family and all your family in the fire service will make sure that you will never be forgotten and that the impact you have made on so many people will be remembered forever,” he said.
“We will stay strong and continue to live our lives like you would want us to. I love you brother. Say hi to Dad for me,” added Stuart.
Armour’s cousin Gary Bell wrote about how missed he will be, by so many.
“Not only were you an exceptional husband, father, friend, firefighter – you were an exceptional person. I loved all the times that we have had together from when I used to take you for car rides when you were little, to watching your career as a firefighter grow, and as you became both a husband and a father,” said Bell.
“You were an amazing person and you will be missed. I’m going to miss you cous and all our laughs together,” he said.
City of Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden released a statement on behalf of himself and council saying that Armour was a trusted member of the fire department who gave back to his community and served with honour and integrity.
“He brought a calm influence, perspective and a quick wit to those around him,” read the statement.
“Our hearts go out to Danica, Cade, Tavis, his family, friends, and fellow firefighters. He will certainly be missed by all, and we thank him for his service and dedication to our community,” the statement finished.
Online Morden posted personal comments about how Armour gave to the community and served with “honour and professionalism each and every day.”
“I’ve personally known the Armour boys for more than two decades, Doug left Stu and I to follow his passion in the fire service after working in the security industry. RIP Doug,” said the mayor.
So very sad to lose Assistant Fire Chief Doug Armour.
He gave to his community, served us with honour and…
Former mayor Ernie Daykin was also saddened by the news.
“Assistant Chief Doug Armour was a kind gentleman will a huge heart for his community. A Maple Ridge hero who served his community and citizens so well. Deepest sympathy and condolences to the Armour family,” wrote Daykin.
“This is such sad news. My condolences to the Armour family. RIP Doug,” wrote Maple Ridge Councillor Judy Dueck.
“We are so incredibly saddened by this news. To assistant chief Armour’s family, and to all his brothers and sisters at City of Maple Ridge fire [department], please know you are in our thoughts and in our hearts,” the Ridge Meadows RCMP wrote.
Heavy hearts today as we learned we've lost another fellow firefighter from our first responder family to cancer. We…
“Heavy hearts today as we learned we’ve lost another fellow firefighter from our first responder family to cancer. We will take it from here Doug, rest easy sir,” said the BC Professional Fire Fighters.
Carmen Van Dop wrote what a kind and good man Armour was.
“May Danica and their boys be surrounded by love and support as they face these difficult days ahead. May we each honour Dougs memory by loving our families with the same intensity that Doug loved his. Rest easy Doug, you are loved,” wrote Van Dop.
In addition to his brother, Armour also leaves behind his 83-year-old mother Elizabeth Armour, wife Danica, and two sons, Tavis, 15, and Cade, 17.