The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has appointed a second deputy fire chief.
St. Davids resident Darren Trostenko, a 30-year volunteer firefighter for NOTL, will now serve as a deputy fire chief under chief Nick Ruller, alongside current deputy chief Jay Plato.
Trostenko, 50, has served as a district chief at Station 2 in St. Davids for two years, an assistant district chief for seven years, as a fire captain for 16 years and a volunteer firefighter for five years.
He also worked at Penner Home Hardware for 20 years.
When the town’s fire department started its organizational changes last December, a second deputy fire chief position was created to address workload concerns and staff turnover due to low salaries.
Trostenko said he liked “a lot of approaches” the fire department has been taking recently, and the way the town’s fire chief Nick Ruller is moving the fire department forward.
“I felt comfortable that we’re like-minded and look at things similarly,” he said of the entire fire department. “When I found out I was the successful candidate, I was very excited and happy to take what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years and doing it at the full-time capacity.”
Trostenko is responsible for operations, professional development and training, fleet and equipment maintenance, and occupational health and safety.
Plato, who served as a fire prevention officer and an acting deputy chief, was promoted to a deputy chief position in charge of fire prevention and public education, emergency management, community outreach, data analytics and decision support.
Trostenko said he didn’t have aspirations of becoming a firefighter when he was young. Growing up in St. Davids, he knew some local firefighters and at the age of 21 decided he wanted to give back to the community.
“I thought it would be a good thing to do, (to) be a part of what volunteers do,” he told The Lake Report. “I thought it would be an interesting and rewarding thing to pursue.”
Trostenko’s youngest son Eric is also a local volunteer firefighter while his oldest son Brian pursues a career in policing.
If someone wants to become a firefighter, Trostenko warns it’s a “demanding” job.
“To truly be dedicated, it does take a commitment of your time, of your family’s time for them to understand when you’re away.”
The town’s fire department is working on many initiatives, he said, and the health and safety of firefighters is something the department is constantly striving to improve upon.
“In my short period of being in this position, I’ve enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing some of the initiatives … come to fruition and I want to be a part of the volunteer fire department here in Niagara-on-the-Lake and seeing it continue to support all the volunteers that give so much of their time to the residents.”