Sidney Assistant Fire Chief Joe Geary is moving on after 11 years with the department, having accepted a position as fire chief with Christina Lake Fire Rescue. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

Sidney volunteer firefighter takes top job in Kootenay town

Assistant Fire Chief Joe Geary has accepted fire chief role in Christina Lake after a decade on the Peninsula

For more than a decade Joe Geary has volunteered countless hours to keep the residents of Sidney safe as the assistant fire chief, but the former plumber is moving on having accepted a position as the new fire chief in Christina Lake.

“I’m looking forward to it,” says Geary, who officially accepted the job offer Christmas Eve. “It’s time for a change. Time for me to move on in fire service.”

RELATED: Why are fire trucks across Greater Victoria different colours?

When the Island-born and raised 45-year-old sold Sidney Plumbing, his “day job” of more than 18 years, he knew it was time to pursue the dream of firefighting full time.

Suiting up alongside Sidney’s 40-odd firefighters, Geary has been on the scene for some of the more memorable fires the community has suffered, including the blaze that torched the Blue Peter Pub back in 2011 and the three yachts and boat houses that went up in flames at the Van Isle Marina in 2009.

RELATED: Fire destroys two Sidney businesses

Geary is humble when he speaks about his time with the department crediting its “excellent training program” for his growth as a firefighter.

“That’s what put me at the top for this job posting,” he says. “The education and experience I got with Sidney Fire is top notch.”

Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen says Geary is one of the first members he has called upon to be dispatched to regions of the province where the Sidney department went to help fight wildfires the past two summers.

So, he’s well-versed in the skills required for that type of call, Mikkelson points out, more frequent in the Interior where Christina Lake is located.

RELATED: Coast Capital in Sidney honours ‘Giving Tuesday’

“The fact that he’s been able to acquire these considerable qualifications in such a short time is a real testament to his dedication and his work,” Mikkelsen says.

Creating an environment where a member like Geary can achieve that advanced level of certification as a fire officer is something the chief is proud of when it comes to the crew in Sidney.

“That’s not commonplace on the Peninsula,” he says. “Not every department affords those opportunities to their volunteer members.”

Mikkelsen, who calls Geary “a close friend,” plans to make the trek to the Kootenay town in the early spring to check in on him and see how things are going.

“I’m sure there will be a little bit of Sidney in the Christina Lake fire department,” Mikkelsen says, grinning.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

(Black Press Media file photo)
Spooky online class cooks up funds for Greater Victoria Imagination Library

United Way Greater Victoria offers how-to for witch cookies, tasty coffin as fundraiser

Murray Rankin has announced he will seek the nomination for the Oak Bay Gordon Head riding in the 2021 provincial election (which could happen in the fall of 2020). The former Minister of Parliament for the Victoria riding from 2012 to 2019.
(MurrayRankin.com)
New Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin says he will use his federal connections

Rankin said being part of NDP majority government gives him a strong voice

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read