New chief hired for Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

John Lane steps into a role left vacant in Winnipeg when Reid Douglas was fired in September 2013.
John Lane, former fire chief in Prince George, B.C., has been named chief of Winnipeg's service. (Wil Fundal/CBC)

There's a new man in charge of Winnipeg's Fire Paramedic Service.

John Lane, who starts the job next month, steps into a role left vacant when Reid Douglas was fired in September 2013.

Douglas, who had been embroiled in the controversy over a unusual land swap and sale of fire halls, was chief for two years and had been with the force for more than 35 years.

Lane was in charge of the Prince George Fire Rescue Service in British Columbia before resigning in August, after two years in the post, according to news stories from that province.

No reason for his resignation was given.

Alex Forrest, president of the Winnipeg firefighters union, knows Lane and welcomes him to the city. He said Lane was not only the chief in Prince George, but a leader in the B.C firefighting community.

As well, Lane's career includes time as a firefighter in Toronto where paramedics are part of the department, like in Winnipeg, Forrest said.

"He really knows the value of fire-based EMS and he's also a firefighter throughout his career. So I believe it's going to be a good fit for Winnipeg," Forrest said.

He added that one of Lanes' priorities has to be dealing with Winnipeg's perennial arson problem.

"It took a generation to get to the arson issues that we have here in Winnipeg and it will take another generation to probably solve them and I think that's got to be one of his highest priorities," Forrest said.