Chris Forster is now retired from the Penticton Fire Department. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Chris Forster is now retired from the Penticton Fire Department. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

‘It’s been a great career’: Penticton’s deputy fire chief retires

“It feels awesome, it’s been a great career, I can’t believe how quick it’s come,” said Chris Forster

It’s 4:07 p.m. at the Penticton Fire Department, and there’s a feeling of excitement in the air.

For Deputy Chief Chris Forster, this week has been like a party that never ends, only better. He’s less than an hour away from retiring, after more than 27 years of service.

“It feels awesome, it’s been a great career, I can’t believe how quick it’s come. I’m ready, it’s time to retire and just go and enjoy life,” he said, standing in the fire hall on Thursday.

In 1988, Forster was working as a corporate accountant across the street from Penticton Fire Station 201.This tugged at his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter.

On one of his coffee breaks, Forster crossed the street to talk to the deputy fire chief about the possibility of becoming a volunteer firefighter. Days later on Wednesday night, Forster showed up to his fire firefighter practice, and has been in the service ever since.

After a year of training in Penticton, he moved to Vancouver knowing there were more opportunities to find a position as a firefighter. After about five and a half years with the City of Vancouver Fire Department, Forster migrated to Calgary where he spent about six years with their department, before moving back to Penticton.

After working for a while as a volunteer, Forster was eventually accepted as a full-time firefighter in 2009 and in 2017 was promoted to deputy fire chief.

READ MORE: Penticton Fire Department responds to third channel rescue in three days

His entire life, Forster has been involved in the community, and being a part of the fire department has allowed him to do that on a daily basis. He especially cherishes the times he’s been able to help raise funds for the B.C. Burn Fund, or B.C. Burn Camp, to assist burn victims.

“And that’s actually one of the more important parts of the job to me, was a lot of the volunteer and community work. To me, yes, there’s a lot of exciting stuff that happens in the emergency services, fires, motor vehicle accidents. But you know what? Some of the stuff I really enjoyed was the hall tours, (and) teaching the kids fire safety. That really is equally important, and satisfying,” said Forster.

“It’s (been) a well-rounded career, but… it’s time to go,” he added.

In his many years as a firefighter, Forster says he never stopped learning. He furthered that anyone entering the profession needs to be willing to constantly evolve and learn.

As he leaves, Forster says Penticton is in good hands.

“Penticton actually really does have to consider itself lucky to have the new fire chief start in 2016, Larry Watkinson. He has just been an incredible change and asset to this department. He has brought so much experience with him, and he’s a great leader.

“The citizens of Penticton are so much better protected than they were in 2016. You can ask any one of the firefighters, they will tell you that. They are very impressed with their new leader, they’re wanting to do more, he challenges them to do more. It’s just been a great situation since he came to this department,” Forster said.

Forster looks forward to spending his retirement in Penticton.

“You couldn’t ask for more. It’s definitely a beautiful place to be. [We’re] really glad we made that decision to come back here.”

READ MORE: Drinking now allowed at Penticton’s Skaha Park

READ MORE: Emergency crews search water off popular Salmon Arm beach

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Service

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

On June 23, 2020, Sunrise Rotary announced it will be donating $50,000 in support of the Bridge Youth and Family Services for the construction of the “Okanagan Youth Recovery House” project for young people under the age of 19 who are experiencing addiction. (Contributed)
Interior Health adds 10 youth substance-use treatment beds in Kelowna

The Bridge Youth and Family Services will operate the beds

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
COVID-19 exposures on two Kelowna flights

The BCCDC announced two Pacific Coastal Airlines had potential COVID-19 exposures

In this July 13, 2020, photo, a black lives matter mural is visible in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which grew out of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched in February 2021, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing 
coronavirus pandemic. (Andrew Harnik/AP file photo)
After the rally: Kelowna BLM organizers working to launch diversity curriculum

Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira said the work around diversity continues

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

</p>
A survey by Statistics Canada finds Black Canadians earn less than non-visible minority Canadians despite having higher levels of education. (The Canadian Press file photo)
COVID-19 worsened unemployment picture for Black Canadians

Black Canadians also more likely to suffer other hardships

On June 23, 2020, Sunrise Rotary announced it will be donating $50,000 in support of the Bridge Youth and Family Services for the construction of the “Okanagan Youth Recovery House” project for young people under the age of 19 who are experiencing addiction. (Contributed)
Interior Health adds 10 youth substance-use treatment beds in the Okanagan

The Bridge Youth and Family Services will operate the beds

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

The District of Sicamous got behind a UBCM resolution which would keep loggers off managed snowmobile trails in the winter. (File photo)
Sicamous, snowmobile club want to keep loggers off sled trails in the winter

Resolution going to UBCM asking that recreational use be given priority in peak snowmobile season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Phase four of the Kicking Horse Canyon project will twin the winding stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Golden. (file photo)
Trans-Canada Highway reduced to one lane east of Golden

It’s the first of the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures which will ramp up in the coming weeks

Most Read