Fire Muster Days cancelled in wake of St. Thomas fire chief Ron Broadbent’s death

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ST. THOMAS — A Labour Day weekend tradition in St. Thomas won’t be held this year following the death of the city’s fire chief.

The organizing committee of St.  Thomas Fire Muster Days cancelled the two-day event so firefighters and community members can attend a funeral Saturday for Rob Broadbent.

Broadbent, who had been a St. Thomas firefighter for 32 years, died Monday after a battle with kidney cancer. He was 56.

“We just felt the decision was necessary for our committee and our members, that way we can pay our respects to the fire chief,” committee chair Daryl Smith said Friday.

“It’s important for us to be there and support his family as well.”

Broadbent’s funeral is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Central United Church.

The chief has been praised by ­firefighters for his leadership and by community leaders for his community work and positive outlook.

Fire Muster Days usually brings 40,000 to 50,000 people to Pinafore Park.

Spectators and fire departments come from far and wide to take part in the event that includes vendors, food, a midway and a parade.

The festival is free to attend and any money raised goes toward the St. Thomas Professional Fire Fighters Association’s fund that supports local causes.

This year would have been the 35th annual Fire Muster Days, so it wasn’t an easy decision for the association to cancel the event, Smith said.

Its future is up in the air, he said.

“We’re going to evaluate when things settle down in a couple weeks. We’ll go over things. There are some expenses we have to look at. I don’t know at this point.” 

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