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Meet Darcey O’Riordan, Port Moody’s new fire chief with 26 years of service to his name

Set to take over outgoing chief Ron Coulson in mid-June

You could call it a coming-home celebration for Darcey O’Riordan.

The serviceman of more than a quarter-century was promoted to chief of Port Moody Fire Rescue on Monday (May 10), taking over for Ron Coulson next month after his four years at the helm.

It’s an extra sweet feeling for O’Riordan as he and his family live in the Tri-City region and he graduated high school in Port Moody, too.

“It is a privilege to follow in Chief Coulson’s footsteps and to continue his progressive work,” said O’Riordan in a news release, who’s described by Mayor Rob Vagramov as a resilient leader. “I have already seen examples of how welcoming and dedicated the Port Moody Fire Rescue team is.”

On his résumé, O’Riordan joins PoMo with 26 years of experience, all of which have been with Burnaby’s fire department on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway.

He started in 1995 as a fire suppression member then moved up the ranks to several leadership positions that included more tasks and responsibilities such as fire operations, administration, strategic planning and visioning.

His career was further ignited in 2016 when he has since served as Burnaby’s deputy chief.

O'Riordan believes he’s ready to lead his own team in order to protect Port Moody residents in the years to come. “I am excited to meet the rest of the members in the coming weeks and get to work,” he added. “I welcome the opportunity to lead the team, keep them safe and support their health and wellness. I am looking forward to taking on this key community leadership role serving the city of Port Moody.”

Coulson announced his retirement in February after four years with PoMo — prompting the city to begin its search — and spent many prior years in Vancouver.

When he made the decision, he told Tri-City News that coming to a smaller fire department as an outsider from the big city immediately taught him the importance of being a good communicator and the development of trust.

“Community needs often exceed local capacity,” Coulson said, noting he’s proud of the PoMo Fire Rescue’s small-town sensibilities that value community above all else.

This includes taking part in initiatives that help raise funds for various causes and promote safety like an annual blood donor clinic and a pancake breakfast as well as sponsoring a young person to attend Camp Ignite every summer.

“There’s a sense of appreciation in both directions,” he added. “That’s something small cities can really nurture.”

O’Riordan will enter Port Moody Fire Rescue’s doors on June 7 and will assume command on June 17 when Coulson officially retires.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business from Simon Fraser University, specializing in management and organizational studies, along with BCIT certificate programs in leadership and business management.

- with files from Mario Bartel, Tri-City News