The Penticton Fire Department will begin the search for a new chief with the departure of Larry Watkinson.
“On behalf of the City of Penticton, I want to say thank you to Chief Larry Watkinson for his incredible time in leading the Penticton Fire Department where he has not only maintained the high standards that existed but worked diligently to raise them,” said Donny van Dyk, the city’s chief administrative officer.
Chief Watkinson has accepted a new position as deputy fire chief with the City of Kelowna Fire Department starting June 26. He is originally from Kelowna.
“During his eight years as chief, Larry has become an integral part of Penticton. He recognized the need for the PFD to be part of the fabric of the community and worked tirelessly as an advocate for the department.”
“Calm under pressure, Larry was a reassuring figure when emergencies struck and provided residents with confidence in our city’s abilities to meet the challenges that arose. He will also be remembered for the ultimate water fights put on by the PFD as a way to beat the heat,” adds van Dyk.
Penticton will begin the search for a new chief and Deputy Fire Chief Rob Trousdell will lead the department until a new appointment is made.
“In his role as deputy chief, Rob has been a key part of the leadership team at PFD and we know the department is in capable hands during this transition.”
Watkinson has played a key role in developing the wildfire-fighting techniques that have been adopted across the province. He also helped host the B.C.-wide wildfire training conference that draws hundreds of firefighters to Peach City. As well he was instrumental in bringing marine rescue to the department.
Watkinson and his newly retired rescue dog Sam have helped out in disasters around the world.