By Rosalind Russell – The Espanola Volunteer Firefighters have lost one of its long-time members.
Wayne Ashton passed away earlier this week and is being remembered by his fellow firefighters and the community at large.
Fire Chief Mike Pichor says his loss was sudden and local firefighters are shocked and saddened adding he expects local and other firefighters will be part of his final farewell.
Ashton was one of Canada’s longest serving firefighters, receiving his 50-year service pin in the fall of 2022 retiring with the rank of Associate Chief.
Town Clerk Joseph Burke also extends condolences to the family adding flags have been lowered to half-mast at all municipal buildings to honour his legacy.
Final arrangements are in the process of being completed.
He was 77.
At the time of his retirement, Ashton stated, “I started my career with the local fire department, supported five chiefs during their tenure and witnessed many tragic deaths and situations, but also worked with some of the most dedicated, goal driven and honourable men and women I have ever met.”
Statement from the Town of Espanola: It is with great sadness that the Town announces the passing of former Assistant Fire Chief, Wayne Ashton, on January 17th, 2024. Mr. Ashton dedicated 50 years of service to the Espanola Fire Department before retiring in November of 2022. His legacy of contribution to the safety of our community will never be forgotten and his spirit of dedication will live on as a shining example of lifelong community service. In honour of Mr. Ashton, flags at the Espanola Fire Department have been lowered to half-mast and will remain lowered until after the Celebration of Life. Flags at all municipal facilities have been lowered to half-mast until dawn on Monday, January 22nd. Flags at all municipal facilities will again be lowered on the date of the Celebration of Life and a notice will be published once a date has been confirmed.
The Town extends its deepest condolences to Mr. Ashton’s friends and family and all of those whose lives he touched.
Photo: Wayne Ashton, one of Canada’’s, and Espanola’s longest-service firefighter has passed away. He served 50 years with the department before his retirement in the fall of 2022. Photos by Rosalind Russell