Williams Lake’s new fire chief will be on the job by July 3, and credits his experiences in the lakecity during last summer’s wildfires for inspiring him to apply for the job.
“I was in Williams Lake last summer working with the Cariboo Regional District’s emergency operation centre (EOC),” Erick Peterson told the Tribune Thursday. “I built some relationships and they reached out to me and said ‘watch for a posting.’ I immediately started talking with my wife and we both agreed it would be amazing for our family to move to Williams Lake.”
Peterson, 38, will be leaving his job at the Delta Fire Dept. to replace former Williams Lake Fire Chief Des Webster, who retired in March. He and his wife, Megan, have an eight-year-old daughter, Kieva, and a six-year-old son Callum.
Born and raised in Delta, Peterson spent every summer camping for a couple of weeks at Timothy Lake Resort near Lac Lac Hache, first as a kid and then with his own family.
“We’ve always come into Williams Lake to shop,” he recalled.
Last summer, the camping didn’t happen because of the wildfires, however, Peterson ended up working in Williams Lake in July for 13 days and in August for 10 days at the EOC.
“After my experiences with Williams Lake during the wildfire season, and just how warm and welcoming the people were, I am really looking forward to moving there,” Peterson said. “They were more concerned about me and I was there to help them. It really felt like the right place where I wanted to raise my family.”
In Delta, Peterson has worked in emergency planning and is responsible for emergency response procedures for the fire department’s halls and firefighters.
“I also reach out to other stakeholders and meet with them and we collaboratively work on their emergency plans and make sure our plan and their plan dovetails together.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said the City is fortunate to have someone of Peterson’s calibre to lead the fire department.
“We are confident that is leadership will greatly benefit our community,” Cobb said.
Peterson hopes to come to Williams Lake this weekend with Megan and the children to hunt for a house and visit a few schools on Monday.
He will finish his job in Delta on Friday, June 15 and then hopes to be living in the lakecity by Stampede weekend.