Lee Smith interim chief in Wainfleet

Lee Smith interim chief in Wainfleet
The Tribune
Link to article: Lee Smith interim chief in Wainfleet

Lee Smith

A retired Niagara Falls fire chief with years of experience has taken on the role as interim chief with Wainfleet Fire and Emergency Services.

Lee Smith will be appointed at Wainfleet’s council meeting Tuesday night, taking over from Shawn Schutten, a platoon chief with the volunteer fire service who has been filling in as acting chief since former chief Kevin Foster left earlier this year.

Smith joined the Niagara Falls Fire Department in 1988 as a firefighter and held the roles of fire prevention officer and captain before being promoted to assistant chief in 1998. He was fire chief from 2007 to 2016, when he retired.

Since then, Smith has worked as a consultant, primarily within Niagara, said a release from the township.

“I am excited to meet staff and begin working to help enhance fire safety and response in Wainfleet,” said Smith.

“This is a great opportunity and I look forward to digging in and being part of this very positive transformation taking place here in the township.”

He’ll serve in the interim role as council starts to look for a full-time fire chief in the new year, said Mayor April Jeffs, who added Smith could apply for that position if he desired.

“We’re looking forward to working with him. He brings a lot of experience from his years in the fire service.”

Smith has held such positions as community emergency management coordinator for Niagara Falls, assistant regional fire coordinator for Niagara Region, sat on the Provincial Emergency Management Community Coordinating Committee for Emergency Management Ontario and is a qualified instructor for the Provincial Incident Management System course.

Jeffs said Smith will continue to move the fire service forward and pick up where Foster left off, and that the volunteer firefighters are aware of the interim chief’s past service.

“They want the training and the knowledge. They were disappointed when Foster left, because he was moving the fire service forward … he was on a roll with things,” said the mayor.

The volunteer fire service, with a complement of approximately 40 firefighters operating out of four stations, is currently recruiting new volunteers. Interested recruits should contact Tara McLachlan, administrative assistant to protective services at 905-899-3463 ext. 221 or by email: tmclachlan@wainfleet.ca. 

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