Skip to main content

Canada's longest serving firefighter dies after more than 70 years on the job

Members of the Lamont Fire Department are remembering Bob Mitchell, the longest serving firefighter in Canada, who died on Wednesday.

Mitchell began working as a volunteer firefighter when he was 18 and was with the Lamont fire service for 71 years.

"Bob was a huge part of the station. He was one of our founding members and he really truly was everybody’s best friend," said Scott Calder, the district chief of the Lamont Fire Department.

Working for the fire department was a family affair, with Mitchell's wife working as a dispatcher before the 911 systems and two sons also working with the department, added Herman Sieker, a retired deputy fire chief.

Mitchell was no longer responding to calls, but he was still doing administrative work.

"Bob would come down every Tuesday night, he was always here early, and he did his role, he was always taking attendance and checking in on people all the time," said Calder.

In September of 2021, for the 70th anniversary of the Lamont fire station, it was renamed in Mitchell's honour.

In 2022 Mitchell went into long-term care in hospital, but still stayed involved with the department.

"We did get him here a few times over the last year to attend meetings with the fire department and the fire department went to the hospital to see him so he remained active and involved and very dedicated right up to the end," said Sieker.

In the summer of 2022, Mitchell became the longest serving firefighter in Canada, a record that Sieker believes won't be broken any time soon.

"He was recognized by the Canadian Fire Chiefs Association, the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association and the Canadian Volunteer Firefighters Association," said Sieker. "It just meant so much to him he couldn’t even express how much it meant to himself.

"Bob said to me once we do this because we’re here to help people so that’s how he kept going."

Mitchell was an active member of the station until two days before his death.

A full firefighter's funeral is planned for Tuesday in Lamont.

"We will tour past the fire hall one last time for Bob and then we will be taking him out to the cemetery," said Calder.

"He is and probably always will kind of be the face of this fire department, fire services here in the county," added Calder. "If for nothing more than his dedication to his community and his brothers and sisters here with the fire service.

"His memory needs to live on and it gives us a reason to keep remembering him and showing how much he meant to us." Top Stories

PM pans Poilievre for 'pulling stunts' by threatening to delay MPs' holidays with House tactics

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is threatening to delay MPs' holidays by throwing up thousands of procedural motions seeking to block Liberal legislation until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backs off his carbon tax. It's a move Government House Leader Karina Gould was quick to condemn, warning the Official Opposition leader's 'temper tantrum' tactics will impact Canadians.

Stay Connected