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Fire Department Spotlight: Centreville Fire Department (NB)

Ritchie Shaw was asked to join the all-volunteer Centreville Fire Department (New Brunswick) 16 years ago by another member. He’s never left and was promoted to fire chief five years ago.

Shaw says he’s had all kinds of experiences during his time with the department, “some good, some difficult,” but his most memorable? “When my son became a member in 2011, following in my footsteps,” Shaw says. “He’s very passionate about his work here, and I love that.”

Centreville is a small community in Carleton County, New Brunswick. It is located two miles from the border of Maine. There are a few family-owned and independent businesses in town. Centreville also has three churches—the St. James Anglican Church, St. Paul’s United Church, and the Centreville Baptist Church. Centreville is considered a service center that serves small communities such as Knoxford, Williamstown, and Tracey Mills, located just outside the village. It also has a large farming community. The region is best known for its annual tractor pull, which Shaw says draws as many as 5,000 people each summer. Metalfab’s plant is directly across the road from the Fire Station. Metalfab also has several employees that are also members of the fire department.

According to Shaw, the area is about 60% rural, 20% industrial, and 20% commercial. It has three industrial facilities.

The fire department is small, comprised of Shaw, a deputy chief, and 18 members. “It’s often difficult to retain and recruit new members,” Shaw says of the challenges he faces. “We also have to stay on top of being current and maintaining our standards. That can be expensive, so, yeah, it’s a challenge.”

As far as apparatus goes, the department owns a 1997 mini pumper that holds 300 gallons, a tanker from 2005, a 1998 rescue, and a 2017 pumper purchased from Metalfab. “It’s really tough for us to stay up to date with the new trucks,” Shaw notes. “It takes about 10 years for us to pay off one piece of apparatus.”

Shaw says he has been very satisfied with the work and service he gets from Metalfab. Centreville has purchased six trucks from the company going all the way back to 1967.

“Metalfab is great to work with,” Shaw says. “They offer good ideas and are very accommodating. They always get you what you want.”

And Shaw should know. A welder by trade, Shaw is employed full-time at the Metalfab production factory. “I know we’re getting the best because I see it firsthand.”

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