Maple Ridge fire chief announces retirement

Dane Spence steps down after 30 years.

  • May. 10, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Maple Ridge fire chief Dane Spence hands Linda Sigurdson the helmet of her late husband

After 30 years of service, Maple Ridge fire chief Dane Spence has announced that he will retire on June 30.

Spence started with the department as a volunteer firefighter in 1985, grew with the department and completes his career as the city’s fire chief.

“Chief Spence is a modest man. In my first weeks as mayor, he gave me a tour of the fire halls and introduced me to the team that he leads. He never once used the word ‘I’ when referring to his work. This reflects his commitment to the team of firefighters he works with and to the city,” said Mayor Nicole Read.

“The fact is that his leadership has been essential as our community has transitioned from the volunteer operating model to the composite model we have today. He has been a true leader and a strong voice on our management team. He is well-respected and admired by everyone on council, his peers and our community as a whole.”

When asked about the things he is most proud of, Spence noted, with his usual humility: “I haven’t done anything by myself. I have been fortunate to work with many remarkable mayors, councillors, colleagues and community members whose support I treasured.”

In addition to assuring the public safety needs of the city, Spence spent considerable time in succession planning for the department.

As part of the announcement, council announced that deputy chief Howard Exner will move to the role of fire chief starting on July 1.

“My first day of retirement is July 1, Canada Day,” Spence said. “I look forward to seeing the Canadian flag flying from Tower 1 and enjoying the day with my family. I am very proud of the team we have assembled. Serving our community and answering the calls for help, has been an honour and a privilege.”

Maple Ridge has had only one fire chief since Peter Grootendorst retired in 2013.

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