CRD appoints new fire chief in Forest Grove

Fire Chief Shannon Wagner takes over the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department

There’s a new fire chief in town.

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) announced Shannon Wagner will now be overseeing the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department on Aug. 6.

“Congratulations Shannon. Thank you for stepping up into this position and committing to serve the Forest Grove community,” said CRD chair and Area H director Margo Wagner in the announcement. “Our board and staff are looking forward to working with you over the next three years.”

Wagner was appointed for a three-year term.

“It’s good. It’s a new role, obviously,” said Wagner, who has been a part of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department for nine years. “The support of the members has been incredible.”

Wagner is the first female fire chief in the department’s history.

“I haven’t actually got into the whole behind-the-scenes thing,” she said about this fact.

She joined the department, along with her husband (who joined the year prior) after relocating to the Forest Grove area from Alberta.

Wagner said she joined due to the need for volunteer firefighters in the community.

“We were not tax-based previously in this area, so living in the forest – if you will – there was a move for the tax base to have a credited fire department in the region to assist the community to better our insurance rates to provide the service,” she said.

All of the members of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, including Fire Chief Wagner, are volunteer positions.

“We’re always looking for new members,” said Wagner, explaining her direction as the new chief. “At this point, getting the members up and trained and looking… we’ll be focused on the members – more training to be able to provide a better service.”

She also mentioned they were looking to see if the fire department had any additional grants in funding.

Wagner said they have put together a grant through the Red Cross for additional funding, but have yet to receive word if it has been successful.

“We are anxiously waiting if we are a candidate for that, which will also increase our training budget substantially.”

The department will also be receiving a new engine this year.

“I also want to say thank you to the outgoing Forest Grove Fire Chief Aron Zablotny, for his dedication and service to the community. The service and commitment of all our fire and search and rescue department members and chiefs is tremendous and we cannot say thank you enough,” said Margo.

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