Final ride for Vernon Fire Rescue Services captain

A fixture around the Vernon Fire Department is preparing for new challenges.

A fixture around the Vernon Fire Department is  preparing for new challenges.

Kim Bolton retired Friday after a 35-year career as a firefighter with the department.

“I never once woke up and said that I didn’t want to go to work,” he said.

He began as a volunteer firefighter in 1976 and was hired on as a career firefighter in 1977.

When he started, there were no computers, just electric typewriters.

A ticker tape would come into the department when someone pulled the alarm on a red call box fire alarm. The ticker tape would indicate where the alarm was and tell the firefighters where the blaze was.

“From a technical point of view, the changes have been dramatic,” said Bolton, adding that there are now even computers in the trucks.

Bolton is also impressed by the level of training provided now.

“When people come to the job, they already have the extrication, hazmat and firefighter one and two courses on their resumes. The department is moving ahead in a positive way,” he said.

“Training wasn’t funded before, in the early days.”

Among Bolton’s most memorable fires are the Ellison Hotel, Trinity United Church, Sun Valley Sports and the Bulman Cannery blaze, which was two blocks wide.

He also assisted with  the 2003 fire storm in Kelowna.

With retirement underway, Bolton plans to spend time with his grandchildren in Lake Country and Kamloops.

He also plans to travel to Australia next year with wife Deb.