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Guelph/Eramosa names Jim Petrik as town's first fire chief

Historically, City of Guelph's fire chief would serve in this role but the town council decided it was time to have their own
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Guelph/Eramosa Mayor Chris White presents newly appointed fire chief Jim Petrik with a chief's helmet. Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday

Jim Petrik has been named the first fire chief of Guelph/Eramosa fire department at a Monday evening council meeting.

“I’m incredibly honoured to represent our firefighters,” Petrik said, in a follow-up interview. “We have a group of 40 amazingly talented, dedicated men and women that make up the Guelph/Eramosa fire department.”

Previously, Guelph’s fire chief took on the role for Guelph/Eramosa’s fire department.

It is a part-time position.

“For a number of years we’ve had a situation where the Guelph side of our township is covered by the Guelph fire department and the Rockwood side we have our own fire department,” Mayor Chris White said in council.

White said this arrangement was put in place decades ago when the township was much smaller. Now with a growth in population, it was time to have a chief in-house.

“We decided we’re going to have our own chief directly, it just makes sense, it’s a standalone fire department,” White said in council. “I want to congratulate Jim as our first chief.”

Petrik has been a volunteer firefighter for 20 years with 14 of those in Rockwood. Petrik served as deputy chief under Guelph fire chief for four years. Petrik praised fire chief John Osborne as a great leader of the department. 

“My previous mentor John Osborne has been a fantastic chief, he’s done a lot of great things for the department,” he said. 

Petrik said this decision shows council’s desire to have more direct involvement with the fire department leadership and he’s ready to be in that role. 

“I think it’s a reflection that the council wants to have a little bit more administrative control over our fire department,” Petrik said. “I’m really excited to be in this position and it’s been a really fulfilling thing for me to work with these incredible people in the fire department,” Petrik said.