'Courage, valour and ultimately sacrifice': Langford Fire Rescue honours 30-year member Lance Caven
Langford Fire Rescue is in mourning. Flags outside the hall are at half-mast as the department honours Assistant Chief Lance Caven, who died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer.
“I just can’t put into words what it’s like right now and how much he’s going to be missed,” said Chief Chris Aubrey.
Caven was only 50 years old.
“He was a member of this organization for over 30 years,” said Aubrey. “He spent his entire career serving and protecting the residents of this community.”
Caven is being remembered as a deeply committed firefighter who began his career as a volunteer after graduating from Belmont High School.
“(He served) with incredible courage, valour and ultimately sacrifice,” said Aubrey.
Firefighters say the job he loved so much may have contributed to his death.
“We certainly here have no doubt that his cancer was related to the firefighting,” said Aubrey.
Occupational cancers are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters in North America.
Every two years, firefighters from around the province gather at the Last Alarm Memorial at the B.C. legislature to honour those who have lost their lives as a result of the job.
This year, 48 names were read allowed.
“We’re talking probably out of the 48, in excess of 40 died from cancer,” said Gord Ditchburn, president of the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association.
In two years, Lance Caven’s name will be one of those read aloud.
It’s not just smoke and flames that put firefighters at risk. Studies have linked synthetic chemicals in turn-out gear to certain types of cancers.
Firefighter associations are lobbying the federal government and pushing manufactures to find an alternative product to the chemicals that are currently being used in the gear.
“No one embodied the values of the fire service more than Lance,” said Aubrey.
The chief will remember Caven for his laughter, kindness, enthusiasm and as a mentor to him and all those who had the pleasure of working with Caven over the years.
“We’re all better for knowing him and his passing has left a huge void in this organization that will never be filled,” said Aubrey.
Caven leaves behind a wife, a daughter and a community that he spent three decades protecting.
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