After 29 years as a Timmins firefighter, Deputy Chief Ellard Beaven is retiring, effective Friday.
He says he was offered an opportunity that expires on his 55th birthday in April, and he and his family decided to take it.
The deputy chief since March 2018 says firefighting was like a calling, giving him a chance to make a difference.
“I know it’s a cliché answer but it’s rewarding,” he explains. “People need help and you’re able to mitigate that.”
Beaven says there’s no specific fire call that is the most memorable. “There were some that were very traumatic, but you know that you made a difference.”
The deputy adds that the good always outweighed the bad.
He also praises the advances in addressing the psychological effects of the job on firefighters over his career.
“You weren’t allowed to even talk about the things you saw,” he recalls from early in his career. “You just went to the call, you came back to the station, put equipment back on the truck and never acknowledged what you might have witnesses or had to do at a call.”
Beaven says if a firefighter isn’t in 100% shape physically and mentally, he or she can’t do the job. And that can have a ripple effect on fire victims.