Gabriola Firefighters: Jenn Knight and Will Sprogis

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, September 27 2016

The Deep Roots Farm is a labour of love for Jenn Knight, 26 and Will Sprogis, 33, firefighters with the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department. The pair harvested 4,000 heads of garlic this summer and have a barn for horse boarding. Sprogis is a cabinet maker and woodworker whose shop is on the property. He has been a fire fighter on Gabriola for 11 years and grew up on Gabriola. 

Knight is a paramedic with BC Ambulance Service on Gabriola, and has just completed her criminology degree.

Firefighter Jenn Knight with her horse Levey.                   Jane Reddington photo

Sprogis, a Captain on the department as well as training officer, says, “We joined [the fire department] because growing up in this community we were seeing the need for firefighters and seeing through my dad Bill’s eyes - he’s been a firefighter for 18 years.” 

Knight and Sprogis married in July on their farm and say that being in the fire department is like being part of a family. 

“All the department came to our wedding,” they say. 

The two were called out to the structure fire this past July on Sansom Road, two days after their wedding. 

“It’s funny we got called out and our family were leaving and we ran out,” Knight says.

“That was a scary one, it was windy and the fire in a shed moved to a neighbouring house,” says Sprogis.

Fire Captain Will Sprogis is a cabinet maker and woodworker. Jane Reddington photo

“We take our training pretty seriously,” says Knight, “and we’re getting the department up to Level 2, which is standard in most cities." The couple wants to reinforce the idea of equipping properties with reflective address signs to improve response time to cardiac arrests.

“It’s important that people know that we work other jobs,” says Knight. “We’re doing the exact same thing as everyone else but we’re getting up at 3:00 a.m. for a pager call.” 

Both want to put the word out about a recruitment drive for the Fire Department this fall, and a class beginning in January for all beginners. 

They’d like to see the numbers rise from the current 25 members to 35 if people are willing to make a three year commitment. 

The fire department may get as many as 400 calls a year.

Both the north and south fire halls are seeking new members. Log on to www.gabriolafire.ca for more information (click on Apply), or call Fire Chief Rick Jackson at 250-247-9677.

Fire Prevention Week will be from October 9-15, 2016.

Fire departments across Canada and the United States work to raise public awareness about the dangers of fire and how to prevent it. The US National Fire Protection Association originally established the week to commemorate the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which destroyed more than 17,400 structures and killed more than 250 people.