OPFFA President looks to correct the Fire Chief


Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association President Rob Hyndman is seeking to correct the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Chief in a letter to the Mayor and City Council over some “misinformation” that he feels the chief is spreading.

The following is Hyndman’s letter:

Dear Mr. Mayor:
I am writing today regarding comments made by Sault Ste. Marie Fire Chief Figliola in connection with the upcoming review by the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) of the municipality’s fire services.

In a December 12, 2016 Sault Star article, Chief Figliola is reported as saying that “this is a standard review and the fire marshal conducts these from time to time.” I would like to inform you that this kind of fire services review by the Ontario Fire Marshal is the exception, not the norm.

Since 2011, the Ontario Fire Marshal has conducted reviews in five municipalities employing full-time fire fighters:

  • Deep River, in 2011, in response to a fatal fire in 2010;
  • Sudbury, in 2012, at the request of the municipality;
  • Cambridge, in 2013, at the request of the municipality;
  • St. Catharines, in 2015, initiated by the Ontario Fire Marshal in 2014;
  • Amherstburg, in 2016, at the request of the fire chief.

It seems clear that reviews initiated by the municipality could be called “standard,” since the news stories accompanying the release of the reports focus on opportunities for service delivery.

However, that only accounts for three of the five reviews conducted by the OFM over the last five years. The other two reviews appear to have been conducted in extraordinary circumstances: after a fatal fire and as initiated by the OFM. As Chief Figliola indicated that the municipality did not request the review, I can only conclude that the decision to conduct a review of the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service is similarly extraordinary and comes due to concern over recent municipal decisions to reduce the front-line fire service by 25%.

I hope that you and your City Council colleagues will consider carefully the OFM recommendations and take appropriate action to ensure that residents of Sault Ste. Marie have the exceptional fire services to which they have become accustomed.
Rob Hyndman
Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association


  1. We need paramedics, not fire fighters who want to work 24 hour shifts (get real here, nobody can do that!). Firefighters have been riding the coat tails of tax payers for far too long. Way to go Chief and Mayor.

    Let’s focus first on safety, then on dollars. If the fire fighters could get it through their thick heads that they are oubluc servants and paid by tax payers, perhaps they would stop trying to rip them off constantly.

    Also, when there is an audit, the auditor does not invite anybody to sit down for a chit chat or gossip before they write their findings. To keep their report based on fact, they use facts and documentation. I hope you will see that the Chief also removes himself so that the audit is unbiased.

    Time to grow up boys and focus on where tax dollars should be spent rather than whining about “poor me”. Times change for everyone, focus on the future. Lots of EMS department dual train their staff to be paramedics and fire fighters…that would stop the fire truck chasing the ambulance.

    A big thank you to our mayor and fire chief for trying to fight through the resisters of change and spend our tax dollars wisely.

  2. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and this narcacistic farce of a chief is about to self-combust. And our local politicians will be there to sample the fine taste of crow on their palates as his cataclysmic plan falls like Hitler and the third reich.
    This realignment plan is a sham to the power of ten. How can we the people allow this abrasive self centred tyrant get away with his actions??
    I’ve contacted Councillors on numerous occasions with little to no credible response other than a token acknowledgement.
    When the senior level of government comes back with their report and presentation to Council, let’s hope this pathetic joke of a chief is given a one way ticket back to the hole he crawled out of.
    How did we manage to hire someone else’s garbage, particularly when he was fired from Pearson International??

  3. The fire chief (a.k.a. Bernie) seems content to continue with his motto: “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull”. It is too bad our mayor and much of council are so baffled!

  4. Happy New Year Burn-E. Good to see you back. I thought you only commented after leaving council meetings? Not sure about your math or exactly what “etention” pay is. I had to go and read the article on the Sault fire you were speaking on and then the 8Million dollar fire. They are two very different fires that don’t even compare. Before you make statements of comparison, did you research anything? I won’t comment on these fires because we haven’t been given all the facts. You can maybe speculate that the heat intensity would burn out manpower very quickly, thus, you would have to rotate manpower at a large fire like the T.O. one. But again, I can’t really comment as we have no facts. I have yet to see you comment on the numerous managers that have been added to the Sault Fire Dept. Starting salaries of well over $100,000. No complaints there? How about it Burn-E? Are you okay with less firefighters, and more managers? Myself, I would rather have more people willing to do the actual hands on part of the job.

  5. Most comment’s come from someone that has never done the job. Have a friends child die in your arms. Have a family plead for you to save the person your doing CPR on. When you have collected those burdens among many others on you mind, heart and soul then you may understand what the fire service gets paid for…also what they are burdened with in return.

    • Isn’t that what the paramedics are for? I understand the fire fighters attend to assist the paramedics but what you are staying is what the paramedics do everyday.

  6. What a self-serving group of selfish, myopic individuals. Over 80 firefighters sent to put out a fire in an $8M dollar home in S Ont. In market terms, $100,000 per tax-paid employees sent. 13 firefighters sent to a house fire in the Sault over the holidays in the east end. So, using that math, (since they get a etention pay), I guess this Sault home is worth $1.3M? Hardly. Allocate resources given the amount of available dollars. The Fire Chief gets it. City Council gets it. And those paying taxes get it. The only ones NOT getting it, are those paid with those taxes.

  7. The fire unions of Ontario are doing everything they can to stay afloat amidst a huge drop in fires over the past decade. They are now attempting to change Ontario legislation to chase ambulances to medical calls because they can arrive 1-2 mins earlier in 50% of cases , mostly due to their incredible resources (triple the staff and triple the number of fire stations and double the budget of their paramedic/ambulance service colleagues) and the fact that fire attends 1/5th the amount of calls paramedics respond to making them an idle army waiting to respond as their main core duty of fire suppression is flatlining. The opffa is only looking for one thing. To protect the jobs and elite $100,000+ salaries of their members no matter who gets in their way (cities, taxpayers, fire chiefs, paramedics, etc)

    • Hello Patrick. Happy New Year. Not sure what your comments have to do with this article. Not a mention of the Fire Marshal at all. Sounds like you have a different agenda here. I have yet to see any local news talking about chasing ambulances. Firefighters already back up their fellow responders in this aspect to help provide our city with assistance as quick as possible. People like you seem to continue to try and make this issue with the Sault firefighters totally about your agenda. Are you even from the Sault? The issue on hand is to have the safest possible work environment in an already dangerous occupation. Legislation demands that, and some people here believe that they are above the law, and know a lot more than the OFM and the MOL. Don’t our local firefighters deserve the right to work in the safest capacity? Don’t all of our emergency services deserve to work this way? Stop trying to make this about something it isn’t.

  8. We can only hope that this matter will be straightened out by the Ontario Fire Marshall. It’s time for the City council to pay attention, as their integrity is now on the line. The Fire Chief basically dismissed the OFM as a standard review. It sounds to me like they when they don’t come invited, there is a good reason for it. There is something wrong. The CAO and council dismissed the Ministry of Labour orders as well, saying it’s only a matter of some language to be cleared up. Again, it sounds to me like our City Council and Fire Chief actually believe they are above the law. Let’s hope our government officials do their jobs, and ensure that our citizens and firefighters are protected. Myself, I am very tired of this council. In all my years as a taxpayer in this city, I have “never”, even “the Joe era” , have seen such a poor example of local leadership. I am definitely looking forward to some good people stepping up in the next election. There is no one I would vote for in this group.

  9. Why does council allow this chief to continue to make such bogus claims time after time? His statements continue to be false and his facts don’t jive yet council does nothing about it. The public is not stupid, telling them that overtime crews can respond from home in 5 minutes, call volume for 2016 was up not down, level of protection hasn’t changed, the boat was taken out of service because of the prop direction, …..the list goes on. How many experts, studies, paper, reports, and calls to council from experts is it going to take to open their eyes. Council sets the level of fire protection based on input from the fire chief, but liability rest on council, the chief and the mayor. This is why it is important for all to fact check and verify any information and claims brought to them by the chief so they are making an educated and informed decision. Its called due diligence, and it is clear to me that I have not seen council excersice “due diligence”.

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