Whistler Fire Rescue announces new Fire Chief Thomas Doherty

Publication Date: June 17, 2022

Fire Chief John McKearney

Outgoing Fire Chief John McKearney retires after 18 year career in fire service

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Doherty to the position of Fire Chief for the Whistler Fire Rescue Service (WFRS). Chief Doherty will take over command of the fire service on July 18, 2022.

Chief Doherty commented: “I am looking forward to working with all the staff at WFRS. Whistler is a dynamic and diverse community that requires a similar dynamic approach to fire service delivery. The commitment to the community from all the members of WFRS is impressive and I look forward to empowering further development within the department and organization. In addition, I am very excited to join the Whistler community and the Resort Municipality of Whistler team.”

Doherty brings extensive experience in fire service, most recently serving as the Fire Chief at the City of Campbell River. In this role, he was responsible for leading a composite team of 34 career staff and 50 auxiliary members and overseeing a Communications Centre that provides fire dispatch services for 80 Halls across the North Island.

Previously, Doherty served as Deputy Fire Chief at Campbell River, Kelowna, Big White and served as a past Board Member of the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. Doherty will replace Whistler’s outgoing Fire Chief, John McKearney, who is retiring this summer.

“Chief Doherty’s breadth of experience and knowledge will be a great benefit to WFRS and our community,” said Ted Battiston, General Manager of Corporate and Community Services. “We look forward to welcoming Chief Doherty to Whistler and to our team.”

Outgoing Fire Chief John McKearney started his career with the City of Vancouver as a floor firefighter and went onto serve in several positions, including Lieutenant on the rescue squad and Training Officer before being promoted to Deputy Chief and then Fire Chief with the City of Vancouver before joining the RMOW as Fire Chief in November 2018.

McKearney was also a member of both the Institute of Fire Engineers and the Metro Fire Chiefs Association. He served as past director of the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C., was part of the British Columbia Fire Commissioner’s Diversity Taskforce and is the current president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. His extensive resume also includes earning an Executive Chief Fire Officer designation though Harvard University’s Senior Fellowship Fire Executive Program.

“I would like to thank John for his deep commitment to our community and the Whistler Fire Rescue Service,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “His professionalism and dedication to the department made him an extraordinary leader. We wish him the very best.”

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