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West Kelowna fire chief announces spring retirement

Fire chief Wayne Schnitzel announces March 2015 retirement.
Image Credit: District of West Kelowna
December 02, 2014 - 10:28 AM

WEST KELOWNA - The District of West Kelowna will say goodbye to fire chief Wayne Schnitzer, a member of the fire department on the Westside for 22 years.

Schnitzer began his fire service in 1979 as a payed, on-call firefighter in Surrey, becoming a full-time career firefighter in 1982. He joined the former Westside Fire Protection District and worked his way through the ranks, becoming captain of training then chief in 1996. His title went with him when the hall became West Kelowna Fire Rescue and today he overseas four firehalls, two assistant chiefs, 28 career firefighters and roughly 60 paid, on-call firefighters, a prevention officer, a fire inspector, a public educator and two support staff, according to a media release.

“I have been extremely fortunate to have worked in the fire service for over 30 years. It is an incredibly rewarding career,” Schnitzler says. “I am also very proud to have worked with our excellent West Kelowna firefighters who are a force, I believe, which is second to none. I will miss them, and working with the staff and Council of West Kelowna, but I am looking forward to starting the next chapter.”

The District will now begin the recruitment process to secure an appropriate replacement for Schnitzler.

“I know I speak on behalf of Council when I say that Chief Schnitzler will be greatly missed. Wayne has worked alongside myself and Council on numerous occasions, helping us to navigate some significant emergency situations and it was obvious how fortunate we are to have his tremendous experience and knowledge on our side,” Mayor Doug Findlater says. “He will be a hard act to follow, but I know he has also ensured that West Kelowna has a well-trained, dedicated firefighting force that will continue to serve us well.”

In 2013, Chief Schnitzler received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his dedication to the fire service in BC, nominated by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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