POLITICS

Saskatchewan fire chief apologizes for yelling at French resident

10/25/2013 05:13 EDT | Updated 12/25/2013 05:12 EST
MANOR, Sask. - A volunteer fire chief in a small community in southern Saskatchewan has apologized to a French-speaking resident for yelling at her to go back to Montreal.

Troy Chapman said in a letter dated Thursday that he regrets the heated argument he had earlier this month with Danielle Duperre at her home in Manor.

"I spoke without thinking and didn't take your feelings into consideration," he wrote.

"I can only imagine how deeply upsetting the situation was. I deeply regret the harsh comments that were said."

Duperre, who moved from Montreal to the tiny village two years ago, called 911 one night after she spotted large flames in her neighbour's fire pit.

The 58-year-old said the fire chief showed up at her door in a rage, yelling and swearing about how she'd roused him from bed for nothing. Duperre recorded the lengthy tirade on her cellphone.

"Go back to (expletive) Montreal where you belong!'' Chapman shouts on the recording.

Duperre gave copies to the media and the village council sent Duperre an apology letter on behalf of the fire department. A spokeswoman said the fire chief was also to face a reprimand.

Duperre said she received the latest letter from Chapman and the mayor of the village on Thursday night. Chapman also repeated the apology in person.

"He talked to me and he said that he was really sorry, that he was unprofessional that day."

Duperre had originally demanded the fire chief lose his job, but said Friday she accepts his personal apology and plans to put the matter to rest.

Unfortunately, she said through tears, the encounter has created tension between her and some other residents in the village. The community is no longer the peaceful place she fell in love with and she will probably move — although not back to Quebec, she said.

She plans to keep calling Saskatchewan home.

"It's not Saskatchewan that's the problem," said Duperre.

"I lived in other places in Saskatchewan before and I didn't have any problem like that. It's the opposite ... people were so kind."