Inuvik hires town's 1st woman fire chief

Cynthia Hammond, currently a training officer for the Chippewas of Rama First Nation Fire Rescue Service in Ontario, will take on the role May 28.

Cynthia Hammond will begin her new role on May 28

Cynthia Hammond will take over as Inuvik's fire chief on May 28. (Submitted by Cynthia Hammond)

Inuvik, N.W.T. has its first female fire chief.

Cynthia Hammond will take over the role of director of protective services for the town on May 28, according to Grant Hood, the town's senior administrative officer.

"It was always in my family in order to provide public service and this position is going to allow me to continue to do that," said Hammond, who has over 20 years of experience in the fire service.

Hammond is currently the training officer for Chippewas of Rama First Nation Fire Rescue Service, and an instructor at Ontario Fire College.

She said that by traveling across Canada and living in Northern Ontario, she "has come to appreciate the diverse culture and landscapes of our very beautiful country, and I think Inuvik will offer me that as well.

She said she's excited to work in a place that brings unique challenges.

"What struck with me was the resourcefulness and innovation of the town," she said, "in terms of the department's being able to address the harsh climate and remoteness."

Hammond will replace former Chief Jim Sawkins, who parted ways with the town earlier this year.

Current and former firefighters had previously filed complaints to the town about Sawkins.

Hammond visited the town last week and met with the current firefighters. She said her initial impression was that "they are a very dedicated group of individuals, who are committed to providing the best service they can for the community." 

"So I'm excited to be able to work with them," said Hammond. "There won't be any remarkable changes. What works, we'll continue, and what needs to be improved will be refined."