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Doug Dort steps down as fire chief

Retired New Glasgow Fire Department chief Doug Dort.
Retired New Glasgow Fire Department chief Doug Dort. - File

NEW GLASGOW

Doug Dort remembers the first time he got called to a fire.

“It was March 1, 1971, said Dort. “I think it was an alarm call. I think it was on Munroe Avenue, but I’m not sure.”

Dort stepped down as New Glasgow Fire Department chief this week, a position he’d held for more than a decade, and is being replaced by former deputy chief Ross White. “It’s time to pass the torch to the younger guys,” said Dort, who is 72 years old and has been NGFD the chief since 2008.

“I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, and I think I’m leaving the fire department in good shape – equipment wise – and in good hands.”

Mayor Nancy Dicks offered congratulations to Dort “for a long and great career. His dedication to the fire department is significant,” Dicks said, noting that being a chief of a fire department requires the skills of a natural leader. “He has to be able to work with people to listen, and to understand the importance of working as a team, because that’s what they, are, really: a team.”

Dort is ever mindful of the unpleasant things a firefighter has to see, since they are first responders: fatal fires, gruesome car wrecks, other accidents with severe consequences.
“We see more grotesque situations than a person should have to look at,” he says.

“It can be brutal, and I really think of all the victims. There are some things you can’t help, can’t fix (but) I’ve always dealt with it in my own way.”

But there are moments as a first responder that help make up for the bad times, such as when he rushed into a burning building and broke down an apartment door, to find a man semi-conscious, lying on the floor. They were able to get the man out of the building in a situation that could have turned out much worse.

A former police officer who ran Dort’s Ambulance before the province took it over in the late 1990s, Dort will have more time to spend with his wife Isabelle, but added that he will still respond to fires when he gets the call, even if he is no longer the chief.

“I don’t golf, don’t fish, don’t hunt,” he said.

“Firefighting has been my life for the last 48 years.”

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