| Aug 09, 2007


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Feature Article - August 9, 2007

Bill Salmond:firefighter and family man

by Jeff Green

The picture of Bill Salmond that emerges from talking to two of his closest colleagues in the Kaladar/Barrie Fire Department, is of a straightforward, hardworking, committed man, who was well liked by everyone who worked with him.

Bill Salmond died in the line of duty as a volunteer firefighter this past Sunday afternoon, August 5, in an accident at the junction of the Flinton Road and Highway 41. Deputy Fire Chief Salmond had been on standby at the Flinton Jamboree when he received a call about a motor vehicle collision on Highway 7. He intended to park the tanker when he reached Highway 41, and ride to the accident with two of his colleagues when his own accident occurred.

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There have been reports locally that faulty brakes on the tanker may have caused the accident, but a forensic investigation is underway, and the exact cause has yet to be determined.

“Bill never had a driving incident in his 33 years as a volunteer firefighter,” said Fire Chief Casey Cuddy.

John Bolton has known Bill Salmond since they both attended high school in Flinton some 50 years ago. He had been a volunteer firefighter for about five years when Bill Salmond joined.

“I remember the first night he joined our department,” Bolton said in an interview early this week, “Bill said, ‘I am not here to do fundraising; I am here to help you make the department better.’”

They served on the fire department together for many years, with John serving as Chief and Bill as Deputy Chief.

“We stood shoulder to shoulder,” Bolton recalls. “He looked after the maintenance, and I looked after the equipment. When we really wanted something from council, we would both go the council meetings. They took to calling us the ‘terrible two’ because we always cost them money.”

The two men shared more than their commitment to the fire department. Two of their children married each other, and they share grandchildren.

Bill Salmond was also a licensed mechanic, and he brought those skills to the fire department. “He was very, very dedicated,” John Bolton recalls, “a lot of times he would be over working on equipment on his days off.”

Bill Salmond spent his working life at the Celanese plant in Millhaven, and he was on the firefighting team there, taking advantage of firefighting training opportunities that Celanese offered, and bringing the information back to Barrie/Kaladar.

One of the young firefighters that he trained was Casey Cuddy, who eventually replaced John Bolton as Fire Chief. “He was a mentor to a lot of people in the department, “ Cuddy said, “And he was one of the guys who talked me into becoming chief. After that he was right there to support me, every step of the way.”

Casey Cuddy also said that Bill’s whole family should be acknowledged for supporting him on the fire department. “The whole family has given something to the community, for all the times he had to run out in the middle of supper, or miss a granddaughter’s birthday party.”

Bill Salmond was also a sporting man. He played baseball in local leagues until well into his fifties, and was active with the Mazinaw Powerline Snowmobile club, grooming trails in the wintertime.

After his retirement from Celanese, he worked at Hunter’s Creek Golf Course during the summertime.

Bill Salmond is survived by his mother Hilda, wife Gail, children Jeff, Jerry, and Judy and their spouses, and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the Maschke Funeral Home, Northbrook, on Saturday, August 11, at 11 am.

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