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Fallen firefighter commemorated with playground in Clearwater

Chad Schapansky was just 23 when he lost his life in a structure fire

A young fallen firefighter’s memory was honoured by loved ones at the park that bears his name.

On Friday, March 29 local firefighters in the North Thompson Valley from Clearwater, Vavenby and Blackpool, along with family and friends of Chad Schapansky, gathered to remember him at his memorial site.

The somber ceremony took place 20 years after Schapansky lost his life while performing his duty as a firefighter during a structure fire at a local restaurant in Clearwater on March 29, 2004 when he was just 23 years old.

Firefighters continue to care for Chad Schapansky Park which is located across from the Clearwater Fire Department and on the 20-year anniversary of his death, they also came to honour him once again by breaking ground for new playground equipment that will bring joy to the local children in the area in the little park near a residential family neighbourhood.

On hand to break ground following the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by his fellow comrades at the fire-hall across the street, were Schapansky’s mother Susan Meyer, his friend and mentor fire chief Mike Smith, and his young nephew who has his name, Chad Victor Schapansky.

Chad’s early years were spent in 100 Mile House growing up on the family ranch there and later moved to Clearwater to work in the family building supply business with his girlfriend, Nicole Waite, where he served as a dedicated firefighter with the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department.

There is currently a sitting area in the park that offers a view of Raft Peak overlooking the “flats” of Clearwater. During the ceremony, Schapansky was remembered as a “great friend and firefighter” by his colleagues as they continue to keep his spirit alive in the charming park that bears his name.