Chris Forster is now retired from the Penticton Fire Department. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

‘It’s been a great career’: Penticton’s deputy fire chief retires

“It feels awesome, it’s been a great career, I can’t believe how quick it’s come,” said Chris Forster

It’s 4:07 p.m. at the Penticton Fire Department, and there’s a feeling of excitement in the air.

For Deputy Chief Chris Forster, this week has been like a party that never ends, only better. He’s less than an hour away from retiring, after more than 27 years of service.

“It feels awesome, it’s been a great career, I can’t believe how quick it’s come. I’m ready, it’s time to retire and just go and enjoy life,” he said, standing in the fire hall on Thursday.

In 1988, Forster was working as a corporate accountant across the street from Penticton Fire Station 201.This tugged at his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter.

On one of his coffee breaks, Forster crossed the street to talk to the deputy fire chief about the possibility of becoming a volunteer firefighter. Days later on Wednesday night, Forster showed up to his fire firefighter practice, and has been in the service ever since.

After a year of training in Penticton, he moved to Vancouver knowing there were more opportunities to find a position as a firefighter. After about five and a half years with the City of Vancouver Fire Department, Forster migrated to Calgary where he spent about six years with their department, before moving back to Penticton.

After working for a while as a volunteer, Forster was eventually accepted as a full-time firefighter in 2009 and in 2017 was promoted to deputy fire chief.

READ MORE: Penticton Fire Department responds to third channel rescue in three days

His entire life, Forster has been involved in the community, and being a part of the fire department has allowed him to do that on a daily basis. He especially cherishes the times he’s been able to help raise funds for the B.C. Burn Fund, or B.C. Burn Camp, to assist burn victims.

“And that’s actually one of the more important parts of the job to me, was a lot of the volunteer and community work. To me, yes, there’s a lot of exciting stuff that happens in the emergency services, fires, motor vehicle accidents. But you know what? Some of the stuff I really enjoyed was the hall tours, (and) teaching the kids fire safety. That really is equally important, and satisfying,” said Forster.

“It’s (been) a well-rounded career, but… it’s time to go,” he added.

In his many years as a firefighter, Forster says he never stopped learning. He furthered that anyone entering the profession needs to be willing to constantly evolve and learn.

As he leaves, Forster says Penticton is in good hands.

“Penticton actually really does have to consider itself lucky to have the new fire chief start in 2016, Larry Watkinson. He has just been an incredible change and asset to this department. He has brought so much experience with him, and he’s a great leader.

“The citizens of Penticton are so much better protected than they were in 2016. You can ask any one of the firefighters, they will tell you that. They are very impressed with their new leader, they’re wanting to do more, he challenges them to do more. It’s just been a great situation since he came to this department,” Forster said.

Forster looks forward to spending his retirement in Penticton.

“You couldn’t ask for more. It’s definitely a beautiful place to be. [We’re] really glad we made that decision to come back here.”

READ MORE: Drinking now allowed at Penticton’s Skaha Park

READ MORE: Emergency crews search water off popular Salmon Arm beach

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Service

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

Just Posted

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Ryga Arts Festival to include live events

Arts festival in Summerland will feature live and online performances

South Okanagan sees increase in real estate activity

More single family homes sold at higher prices when compared with a year ago

Penticton Peach Fest headliners moved to 2021

Artists include Glass Tiger, Simply Queen, Jess Moskaluke and Honeymoon Suite

UPDATE: Wildfire between Summerland and Penticton now ‘under control’

Emergency vehicles are at the scene near Sage Mesa, evacuation centre set up in Penticton

47 British Columbians test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of confirmed active cased as of Thursday (Aug. 6) to 371 people

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

VIDEO: A B.C business used robots to bring down concrete walls

Walco Industries is the only firm on Vancouver Island to use specialized robots for hydro-demolition

As CERB winds down, labour group asks Liberals to rethink EI

The government estimates four million people will be moved onto EI after CERB ends

Highway 3 closed south of Princeton after vehicle incident

There is currently no detour, Drive BC stated, but crews are on scene

North Okanagan man chains himself to tree in protest of construction

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Search crews en route to vehicle over Coquihalla Highway embankment

Incident on northbound side of highway near Great Bear Snowshed: SAR

Most Read