Tumbler Ridge is mourning the loss of one of their best – after 22 years of serving the community, firefighter Douglas Beale unexpectedly passed away on May 26.
Fire Department Chief Dustin Curry said Beale was more than just a fellow firefighter, but a good friend, a good man, and a pillar of the community, going above and beyond to be there for the department and for the town.
“He was the salt of the earth, really. Always willing to lend a hand wherever he saw fit, and then some,” said Curry. “He had everybody’s best interests at heart, and safety was at the core of his foundation, he wanted to make sure that everybody went home at the end of the day.”
Beale started his career in 1999, and was the department’s first safety officer, while holding the rank of senior firefighter. He also was a member of Tumbler Ridge Search and Rescue, in addition to being a district councillor. He had moved to the town not long after it was founded.
“He’s one of the original Tumbler Ridge residents, he saw the area grow, and ebb and flow over the years. But he always called Tumbler Ridge home, he loved it,” said Curry.
The loss is still very raw for the community, added Curry, who met Beale in 2005. The two quickly became friends.
“It didn’t matter what the task was, he was there to help. Doug was very much a mentor to firefighters his junior,” said Curry. “He took people under his wing without them even asking, making sure they were doing things safely.”
Tumbler Ridge Mayor Keith Bertrand knew Beale well, and said the community has lost one of their most dedicated citizens.
“It’s a very tragic passing. He was an incredibly dedicated person for the community. He sat on our community forest board for many years, he’s very influential within the community,” said Bertrand. “His dedication with the fire department was second to none.”
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News