Top News

Somber ceremony in Stephenville remembers firefighters lost in 9-11

Fire Chief Wayne Reilly, left, of the Stephenville Fire Department and his three captains from left: Don Gibbon, Chris Butt and Tony Pottle light candles in honour of those who lost their life in the tragedy of Sept. 11 and local member of their fire department who have died.
Fire Chief Wayne Reilly, left, of the Stephenville Fire Department and his three captains from left: Don Gibbon, Chris Butt and Tony Pottle light candles in honour of those who lost their life in the tragedy of Sept. 11 and local member of their fire department who have died. - Frank Gale

A somber ceremony honouring Stephenville Fire Department Firefighters and those who died in 9-11 brought back memories for Alvin Aucoin on Tuesday evening.

His dad Bernie Aucoin worked with the fire department on the Ernest Harmon Air Force Base for 25 years and another 18 years with the Town of Stephenville Fire Department, so hearing his dad’s name read out amongst the local firefighters brought some pride.

“I remember my dad always being at the ready with his bunker suit at home and when there were major fires to fight on Main Street, other fire fighters coming to the house to take a break as we lived close by,” he said.

He said while other kids would be heading off to see the planes on Armed Forces Day when the (Ernest Harmon Air Force) base was in full swing, he remembers heading over to run around the base’s fire hall.

“I was always proud of dad and the vocation he chose as a firefighter,” Aucoin said.

He was among a small crowd of about 75 people that was in attendance at the Firefighter Day of Remembrance planned by Maria Churchill, the town’s Recreation and Wellness Director.

Mayor Tom Rose recognized first responders and the many volunteers in the community on 9-11 when eight international planes landed in Stephenville and Western Newfoundland accommodated the passengers.

“Everyone stepped up to the plate. We’re blessed to have so many volunteers,” he said.

On display at the event was a fire truck that was purchased and operated by Marine Institute's Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre. The significance of that truck is that it had been stationed in the State of Virginia and actually responded to the Pentagon on 9-11.

Brian O’Quinn of Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre remembers working at the airport fire hall during 9-11 and the events that followed and said everyone in town did what they could for the people “put out.”

Deceased members of Stephenville Fire Department:

Archie White

John White

Chief Jim Andrews

Steve Dunphy

Leo Dunphy

Bernard Aucoin

Jerry Ryan

Tom Collett

Leroy White

Cosmos Gaudon

Claude Smith

Gordon Snow

William Lilly

Source: Stephenville Fire Department

Recent Stories