Stanislav Baranov spent 14 years as a firefighter in the Ukraine, making what he calls a noble career.
Now, more than 4,000 miles from home, he continues that race at Corner Brook.
Baranov followed his family on a move to Newfoundland in the spring and is working as a firefighter in the city. Plans for him to join the force have been underway since the winter, when Immigration Minister Gerry Byrne approached the town to see if there was an opportunity for Ukrainian firefighters.
“The boys here help [me] a lot,” Baranov said through an interpreter, speaking to Breaking: on Wednesday. “And [I] I really like the city, because [I] he came from a small town also in Ukraine. So [I] really enjoy it.”
Baranov, 34, spent nine years living in the military conflict surrounding the Donetsk region of Ukraine, staying there until he went to join his family in Newfoundland.
“During these nine years, [I] I was actively participating in this, obviously as a firefighter. Rescuing people, delivering supplies,” he said.
“[I] I was seeing a lot of different things. [We] they were rescuing people from under destroyed buildings. Some of them were alive, some were not.”
Now in Newfoundland, Baranov has spent the summer working in the fire department while also struggling to catch up on his English. He says that his crewmates, who refer to him as Stas, have been a great help.
“Really, they like, appreciate [me]he said. “They help [me] outside and stuff, like trying to help translate things sometimes. They’re generally friendly.”
Derek Simmons, Corner Brook’s deputy fire chief, said the department was happy to go along with it, but they had to come up with a plan within their collective bargaining agreement to do so.
To address this, Baranov joined the department in a 42-week cost-sharing program with the provincial government to help validate his training and prepare him to sit for the provincial fire standards exam.
“He has exceeded our expectations, particularly on the skills portion of the job,” Simmons said.
Part of that preparation includes a lot of translation, since the exam can only be written in English.
Baranov has done much of the work himself, and can often be found reading a 1,400-page textbook line by line in his spare time, but Simmons said the team helped him do it, too.
“He’s got every piece of truck equipment out there pretty well, the truck compartments. The teams will explain the English version of that particular piece of equipment, and of course it has the Russian name or the Ukrainian name,” he said.
“He has a little book where he writes down each piece of equipment, and he has his version of the name in his language and then of course the English version of the name.”
Simmons said Baranov brings a wealth of experience to the fire department and provides an opportunity for both parties to learn from each other and work together in the fire service.
Asked if he has plans to stay on the West Coast, Baranov says his family enjoys the region and his daughters are excited to go to school this fall.
“It’s good, I like the city,” he said.