Lacombe’s new fire chief was part of Gander’s 9/11 response

Nearly 40 planes carrying 6,700 people were diverted to Gander, Nfld. after terrorist attack

Lacombe’s new fire chief was among those on the front lines when 38 planes were diverted to Newfoundland after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Dennis Cole was working for the Gander Fire Department when more than three dozen airliners carrying 6,700 people descended on the community, almost doubling its population in a few hours.

Gander’s firefighters were part of a huge effort to provide food, comfort, entertainment and accommodations to their visitors for nearly a week after terrorists flew three planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

“This situation strengthened his experience and knowledge in the area of crisis management,” says the city in a statement announcing Cole’s appointment, which was effective April 1.

Cole began his firefighting career in Gander in 1993 and held the rank of lieutenant officer when he made the move to Lloydminster in 2006, where he rose to the rank of deputy fire chief.

He moved to Fort Saskatchewan in 2016, taking a job as deputy chief of operations for an industrial facility and becaming a member of the community’s fire department.

“After being in the fire service for over 20 years now, my mandate is member protection and community service,” said Cole.

“I look forward to living with and serving the citizens of Lacombe and area, and helping propel the Lacombe Fire Department to a leading-edge service to ensure the entire community is well protected for years to come.”

Said Lacombe corporate services director Diane Piche: “The experience that Chief Cole brings to the City of Lacombe is extensive, in both industry and as a career firefighter.

“We look forward to working with Chief Cole, and are excited to see him build on the contributions provided by past and present members of the Lacombe Fire Department.”

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