The new fire chief of the Esquimalt Fire Department has some big boots to fill – really big, since he’s only five years old.
Thomas Childs was selected to be the Township’s fire chief for a day after filling out a fire prevention plan and submitting through his school.
On Wednesday morning, the whole fire brigade went out in their trucks to pick Thomas up, take him for a drive around town and then stop by his school, where his classmates could also check out the firefighting equipment.
Thomas was then taken to lunch with the fire crew at his choice restaurant, McDonald’s, before heading to the fire hall for an official tour.
There he was given his official firefighter jacket, practised using a fire hose, climbed aboard the front of the ladder truck and perfected sliding down the fire pole.
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“It was good,” Thomas said, adding that his favourite part was sliding down the pole.
Childs’ father, Master Seaman Matt Childs said Thomas had been talking about the day for an entire week beforehand.
“It’s been fantastic, when he got here you could see he just lit right up,” Matt said. “He was even especially nice to his brother this morning because he knew he was going to have a fun day.”
The usual fire chief, Chris Jancowski, said Thomas did a good job while holding a stressful position.
“He’s being very responsible, asking lots of good questions and not making any big decisions today, which a chief probably shouldn’t on his first day,” Jancowski said. “He’s definitely wearing his uniform well and taking every opportunity to meet crews and learn about new experiences as they unfold.”
Every year the Esquimalt Fire Department uses the contest to be fire chief for a day as an opportunity for students to learn about fire prevention and about what to do in case there is a fire. Jancowski said they hope to keep the contest running for many years to come.