It's the end of an era for High River as the communities long time fire chief is retiring.

Len Zebedee says it is going to be great as he's looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, while his wife Patty is lining up some work for him.

"We have three grandchildren, aged 10, nine and eight so they are very busy in their lives, so we want to be part of that as they grow up and move forward into the future as well. with their lives."

And he'll be working on renovating his home.

"The wife has got me convinced into doing some renovations starting in the early spring so hopefully we can get those done in a short period of time so we'll be living in our trailer while we redo our kitchen.

Over his career a couple of calls stand out for Zebedee.

"The Lane and Emerson block fire and the New Look Cafe Fire which had the Bernie's pool hall up above it, are some of the ones that stand out for me when I first started in the earlier years."

They fought fires without airparks, wore long coats with rubber gloves and boots and plastic helmets.

"Things were much, much different back then in the early seventies."

The Department has really worked over the years making sure the guys have proper gear.

"Making sure the guys all have proper bunker gear, proper airpacks that they are doing proper decontamination after every call. Whether it is a fire call or a medical that the equipment is being cleaned. If there is any blood it is sent away for professional cleaning."

While the equipment is safer, the risks are higher as the stuff we live with, when it burns is much more toxic because of the chemicals involved.

Zebedee is a little nervous about leaving his fire fighting family.

Over the years he has made a lot of friendships.

"You become quite a family over the years with all the firefighters and their families. I'm going to miss that."

He says he'll always be part of that family though, as several of them have said he will always be Chief.

 

This is part one of a three part story on Len Zebedee and his career as the High River Fire Chief.

 

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