Fire chief — and hero — for a day
It’s a crisp October morning in Kamloops and the firemen have all gathered at their training centre off McGill Road, west of Thompson Rivers University.
Four strapping firefighters stand next to a bright red fire engine sipping on Tim Hortons coffee.
Then, from behind one of their waists emerges the white helmet of their boss — the chief.
He stands less than five feet tall and his Tim Hortons cup is small and filled with hot chocolate but, make no mistake — Mason Daneliuk is in charge.
As the crews perform an exercise requiring them to douse a car fire, Mason, 10, takes the bull by the horns.
“Get it!” he yells, pointing at the flames.
“Put out the fire!”
They do, thankfully, before the chief had to step in himself.
Mason was Kamloops Fire Rescue’s Fire Chief for a Day on Friday, Oct. 12, having won the experience through a random draw.
The day began in the morning, when firefighters showed up at Bert Edwards science and technology school — where Mason is a fifth-grade student.
Mason was running on fumes for his big day, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching him call the shots.
Having learned the previous day he’d be given a one-day term as KFR chief, Mason said he was wired all night.
“True story,” he said. “I barely slept at all.”
And, Mason added, the experience lived up to his expectations.
“I just love being trained to save lives, to be a hero — all that,” he said.
“I love the action.”
KFR Capt. Sheldon Guertin said the Fire Chief for a Day program, in its 28th year, is as beneficial for firefighters as it is for the children who take part.
“The benefit for us is we get a lot of kids expressing interest in fire safety and educated about fire safety,” he said.
“It’s a good way for them to hang out with us, get to know us and learn about fire safety.”