Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone is expressing his gratitude and respect to first responders in the community.

Volunteer firefighters from several fire halls worked throughout Thursday to contain the industrial fire at Schnitzer Steel along Highway-1 south of the Nanaimo Airport.

Stone says Thursday’s fire and other emergencies that have happened this year remind people that first responders and volunteer firefighters are there when most needed by the community.

“Whether it’s a first response to a motor vehicle accident that ends up with tragic circumstances, or protecting our most treasured ecological areas when we have wildfires or, in this case, what could have been a much worse industrial fire, I think it just puts that fine point on the appreciation that we all need to have.”

He says it’s a good reminder to the community of the value of the service they offer, “and the level of care and dedication they have.”

Mayor Stone says it’s been a difficult year for first responders in the Cowichan region, beginning with serious flooding in February, the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent fatal accident near Ladysmith, and two serious fires in the last week.

Stone says the volunteers have a special level of care and dedication for their community.