Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver in a fire dress uniform.
Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver.

July 10, 2023 — After more than 36 years with Sarnia Fire Rescue, Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver has announced he will retire effective March 31, 2024.

Van Gaver has served as Fire Chief since 2020. He first started with the service as a firefighter in 1987.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be sitting in my place as chief,” said Van Gaver, who had initially planned to retire as a platoon chief before he took on the Deputy Chief role in 2013 on an interim basis that became permanent.

During his time with the service, Van Gaver was involved in several shifts — most notably in the field of health and safety — that resulted in both increased physical protection for firefighters and enhanced mental health supports that were not in place when he started his career.

He was also a driving force in the process to construct a new Fire Station No. 3 to better serve the residents of Sarnia.

As a lifelong Sarnia resident, Van Gaver said he would like to thank the community for their support during his career.

“It’s been a real pleasure serving a city of life-long friends,” said Van Gaver, adding, “I would like to thank the entire community for the privilege of serving them, in addition to the City staff and Council for their support.”

He said, after nearly 40 years with the service, the time has come to retire and spend more time with family and friends.

“Bryan’s leadership and wealth of experience will be missed but we are excited for him to be entering this well-deserved part of his life. He has been a tremendous leader for our fire team, and a driving force behind ongoing improvements,” said City CAO Chris Carter.

Ahead of Van Gaver’s retirement the City will begin recruitment of a new Fire Chief in the fall, with plans to have the new chief start well before Van Gaver’s retirement date to ensure a stable transition of leadership.