West Nipissing announced the appointment of its new fire chief on June 15th. Frank Loeffen, the current Fire Chief for East Ferris, will be assuming his new duties as of July 18th, replacing retiring chief Richard Maranda. The town cited Loeffen’s 30-plus years in fire service, including the last 18 as Chief. “He has extensive qualifications and training and has demonstrated a keen propensity for lifelong learning,” reads the municipal release. CAO Jay Barbeau is confident that the new chief will be received with open arms. “Frank will be a welcomed asset to our organization. He understands the value and the issues surrounding attracting and motivating volunteer firefighters. Frank is fully bilingual and will easily be welcomed at all our fire stations.”
Loeffen is expected to be in the area this coming week to meet with some of the local volunteers as he is introduced by former Chief Maranda to the local teams. Richard Maranda retired at the end of May after a 34-year career with the West Nipissing Fire Service.
Loeffen shared his thoughts on West Nipissing, a community with which he is already quite familiar. “Currently our membership [East Ferris] has 28 volunteers. West Nipissing will be a larger number of volunteers … What I’m looking at is going with a larger department, using my experience and knowledge to help out other communities. Again, I’ve been here 30 years, into my 31st year now – I received my provincial certificates for years of service, and am looking to expand, to grow, and I’ve known West Nipissing for many years; played hockey there in the 80’s … I have family that’s lived there for a number of years as well. I am familiar with West Nipissing. Chief Maranda and I have been good friends ever since he became chief, we’ve connected and worked well together, helping each other out with different things. If there was something I needed I could reach out to him and he’d help me, and vice versa.”
The new fire chief’s in-laws have had a place in Crystal Falls for a number of years, and cousins live near Lake Nipissing in Sturgeon Falls. He will be looking for a residence closer to the two main fire stations in Sturgeon Falls. “I have a few choices. Crystal Falls is a nice area but a little further out than what I might be interested in as a fire chief.”