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B.C. Fallen Firefighter Memorial to honour 2 Surrey battalion chiefs who died in line of duty

Parade and ceremony in Victoria on March 6
Surrey Fire battalion chiefs William (Bill) J. Robertson, left, and David Rivett. (Photos: BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association)

Two Surrey firefighters who died in the line of duty over the past four years are among four dozen to be honoured during B.C.’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial parade and service, in Victoria on Monday (March 6).

The biennial event welcomes families of the fallen along with 500-plus members of British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (BCPFFA).

The two members of Surrey Fire Fighters Association Local 1271 are battalion chiefs William (Bill) J. Robertson, who died in June 2019, and David Rivett, who followed in July 2020.

Robertson is remembered as “a natural leader and pioneer when it came to creating positive work environment and improving mental resilience in the fire service,” according to a bio in the memorial program.

“Throughout Bill’s battle with cancer, his love for the job that ultimately claimed his life never wavered.”

Rivett died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 69. He worked in Surrey for much of his firefighting career before transferring to Abbotsford’s department.

“He was known in the BC Fire Service as a master strategic and tactical offer as a long-serving JIBC (Justice Institute of B.C.) faculty member, a team of which he was very proud to be a part,” a bio says.


The noon parade in Victoria culminates in a ceremony on the south lawn of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, and will be streamed on

“Our association is recognizing 48 of our members who have lost their lives in the past four years due to injury and illness related to their occupation as a professional fire fighter,” the BCPFFA stated in a news release.

“The toxic environments we work in result in our professional fire fighters being at double the risk of the general population to various cancers and coronary disease, compared to the general public.

“It is important that our provincial organization honour our fallen firefighters from across British Columbia, and to bring awareness of the dangers which continue to exist in the occupation of fire fighting, despite technical improvements in fire fighting protective equipment.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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