Miocene Volunteer Fire Department Chief Quintin Duhamel was born and raised in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Miocene Volunteer Fire Department Chief Quintin Duhamel was born and raised in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: Quintin Duhamel dedicates work, volunteerism to safety

A gas-fitter by trade, he is also chief of the Miocene Volunteer Fire Department

Since becoming fire chief of the Miocene Volunteer Fire Department, Quintin Duhamel has made training a priority.

Presently members of the department are attending evening practices on Mondays, and have been taking a Fire Training Certification Program course through the College of the Rockies since September with evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Once they are done the course, which will be pretty soon, they can go work for any fire department in Canada,” he said.

The department has also upped its ability to work with the BC Wildfire Service. They acquired a Type 5 wildland fire engine, thanks to multiple sponsors, which Duhamel said is the only one owned by a Cariboo Regional District fire department.

It was during the 2017 wildfires when the Miocene area was hit hard and homes were lost to fire, that Duhamel first realized that fire departments will travel across the province to other communities to help.

“Other departments really helped us out,” he said, adding he was inspired to ensure the Miocene department could do the same moving forward.

Members have been deployed during fires to communities such as Lytton, Decka Lake, Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge and most recently to the Donnie Creek wildfire, north of Fort St. John.

Born and raised in Williams Lake, his parents are Ray and Sylvia Duhamel.

He has one sister Becky Duhamel who also lives in Williams Lake.

Growing up he attended Kwaleen, Williams Lake Junior High and Columneetza schools.

After high school he went to work for Del’s Propane until he left to take a two-year gas-fitting apprenticeship program at BCIT in Burnaby to become a Class B gas-fitter.

When he finished the program he returned to Del’s where he worked for about 10 years.

After Canwest bought out Del’s, he stayed on for another two years until he left to help his parents build Alley Cats Restaurant.

Hoping to advance his career, he went to work for RL7 Mechanical in Williams Lake, becoming a project manager.

“I ran industrial jobs. The first one was the Lytton Hospital, which is gone now, but it was brand new.”

From there he went to Mount Polley Mine where he ran crews, and then travelled the province doing Walmarts, hospitals, schools, was in the Yukon for projects, the Vanderhoof hospital and then Red Chris Mine where he managed the piping crew for two-and-a-half years.

In 2014, he was hired by Technical Safety BC as a safety, gas officer, a position he continues to hold today.

He travels from Cache Creek in the south to Red Rock in the north and west to Bella Coola, examining anything that has natural gas or propane at commercial, residential and industrial sites.

“It’s a great job,” he said.

Eight years ago he joined the Miocene Fire Department after he moved from South Lakeside to Rose Lake and is half-way through a three-year contract as chief.

He would have never met all the amazing people he knows had he not joined the fire department, he added.

Running the hall, organizing educational opportunities for the members are things he enjoys. As the local assistant to the B.C. Fire Commissioner, he is exposed to more training around for things such as fire investigations.

Attending conferences has also been a great way to network.

A father of two sons – Jackson, 10, and Brendan, 7, – when Duhamel is not working or volunteering as a fire chief and firefighter, he enjoys being outside and spending time with them.

His sons play hockey, like he did growing up, and they play lacrosse.

He loves to snowmobile in the mountains in the Cariboo to places like Yank’s Peak, Crooked Lake and Big Timothy. He quads, boats and golfs as much as he can – even when he is away with work.

“I am outdoors all the time,” he said.

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