P.E.I.'s firefighting community says goodbye to an 'icon'

Chief Miles Boulter, died Dec. 30, 2020 at the age of 71. He is remembered as being a driving force in P.E.I.'s firefighting community

Chief Miles Boulter died Dec. 30 at the age of 71

Chief Miles Boulter worked at the P.E.I. Firefighter Association training school for 30 years. Friends guess he taught more than 10,000 students from all over the Maritimes. (Submitted by Kory MacAusland)

No matter where you look in the P.E.I. Firefighters Association's fire training facility, you'll be sure to find a reminder of Chief Miles Boulter.

From the countless plaques on the walls in the office to every piece of gear and the trucks themselves, Boulter left his mark on everything.

After all, the school is called Boulter Station. It's on Miles Boulter Drive, just outside of Charlottetown. They were both named in his honour in 2012 to celebrate 40 years of service. 

The 71-year-old Boulter died on Dec. 30, 2020. 

Boulter started his career with the O'Leary Fire Department in 1972, eventually progressing to chief in 1983.

From there, he served in Charlottetown for three years. He was recruited to the P.E.I. Firefighters Association as a deputy chief instructor in 1989, and promoted to chief instructor in 1992. He retired from that role earlier this year. 

He was the recipient of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association lifetime achievement award in 2013. 

During his time with the school, he transformed it from a small trailer to a modern facility that attracts students from all over the Maritimes.

"We've come to the point that we have everything state of the art," said Kory MacAusland, Boulter's longtime friend and a firefighter with the Crossroads Fire Department.

"We have other fire schools looking at us saying, 'You know, how did you do this? And can we copy this?'

All of that can be attributed to Boulter, he said.

"He basically built the fire school from the ground up," said Chief Anson Grant of the North River Fire Department. 

Kory MacAusland, centre, knew and worked with Chief Miles Boulter, right, for more than two decades. Also pictured is Rick Niblett. (Submitted by Kory MacAusland)

MacAusland will remember one thing the most about Boulter. He said Boulter had a plan for every situation.

"If he saw potential in you, he'd be the first to push you to that potential and beyond," he said. 

MacAusland said the piece of advice he'll remember most: always have a plan. "That was the thing, if you were going to do something, go through with it and finish it."

'Definitely an icon'

Boulter took the time to teach any firefighter willing to learn. He always took the time to find the right answer if he didn't know something, said MacAusland. 

"I don't think there's a department on the Island that he hasn't hasn't helped out in one way or another over the years," he said. 

One of those departments was the North River Fire Department in Cornwall. 

The street that the firefighter training school is on was renamed to honour Boulter in 2012 (Submitted by Kory MacAusland)

"Over the years, especially the last few years since I've been the fire chief, I relied on him a lot," said Grant.

Boulter retired from the role earlier in 2020. To honour his service, 50 first responders from all over the Island paraded by his house with lights and sirens on. 

"I believe nobody wanted to miss the opportunity to show their appreciation for what he's done for the fire service," said Grant. 

"He was definitely an icon and a leader in the fire service and, hopefully, his memory will be carried on for a long time."

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