Cornwall hires Jeff Weber as new deputy fire chief
Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Is Cornwall is ready for two singing fire chiefs?

We’re all about to find out because the Cornwall Fire Department has found it’s new deputy chief, Jeff Weber. Weber recently joined the Cornwall from Barrie fire department, where he was also deputy chief, to replace Bruce Donig who left the department to take another job in the municipality.

Besides their jobs and their hairstyles, Weber and Cornwall fire chief Pierre Voisine have another thing in common: a penchant for singing songs about fire safety in internet videos.

Weber said he had heard of Voisine before the job came up, and part of what attracted to the job in Cornwall because he wanted to work him.

“I wanted to work the new, progressive chief and tackle new problems in a new environment,” he said. “Pierre is well known in the area for his different way of looking at the same problems. Even his way of doing prevention with music videos; there are some of my own videos floating out there as well.

 “It just seemed to be a great fit of two personalities working together for the same common cause.”

Some of the new challenges Weber said he is ready to help Cornwall address is the city’s above-average rate of structure fires, which has resulted in some destructive blazes in the past year, such as the one that burned Poirier Furniture and two adjacent buildings to the ground this past summer.

Part of the answer for that problem, said the deputy chief, is prevention work.

“Prevention is where Pierre has real strength, and I have a real strength for that in my background as well. So we’ll see what happens in the future with that,” he said. “It’s all about lines of defence; with public education being the first line, inspection and enforcement being line two, and suppression being the last line of defence when we need it.”

Cornwall is certainly smaller than some of the other cities he has worked for, said Weber, but they have faced the same issues Cornwall is currently looking at in the next few years, such as upgrading its facilities.

During the hiring process, Voisine said that he was looking for a candidate with enough experience to make up for the fact he could not hire two deputies – something he feels would be justified for a busy department of Cornwall’s size. Weber is certainly an experienced deputy chief.

Aside from being the deputy chief in Barrie, Weber was also the deputy chief of Kitchener and Burlington as well. All told, Weber has been in firefighting for 26 years, with 10 years as a senior officer and 10 years as deputy fire chief.

“I’ve been focused mostly on the prevention and support side of the house such as communications, emergency management and mechanical. But I’ve also got experience in the operations side as well,” he said. “So I’m trying to bring got a wealth of experience to the department.”

Weber is in the process of moving to the city. His children are all grown, but he said his wife will be coming to join him in Cornwall as soon as their home in Wasaga Beach has sold.

<back to Headlines