Firehouse Subs marks Sarnia opening with fire department donation

Sarnia's Firehouse Subs makes a donation to Sarnia Fire and Rescue - Oct 14/20 (Blackburnnews.com photo by Josh Boyce)

Firehouse Subs is celebrating its much-anticipated arrival in Sarnia this week by giving back to the local community.

On Wednesday, the restaurant chain presented a cheque for $12,211 to Sarnia Fire and Rescue under its Public Safety Foundation. The department had applied for a grant a few months ago.

Incoming Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver said he is extremely thankful, adding that the funds will go toward purchasing powered air-purifying respirator units.

“It comes with basically a space-age helmet with a breathing tube coming off and going into a filtration system,” said Van Gaver. “So, rather than wearing a heavy and cumbersome self-contained breathing apparatus, they can put on this much lighter weight apparatus and allow them to do their job with less interruption, being able to stay in for hours at a time. This is equipment that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to currently buy, we’d have to budget for it. To have this right up front is such a great added protection for our firefighters.”

It’s the first Firehouse Subs restaurant for Franchisees Javed Qadree and his wife Helia Goodarzi.

Qadree, who is a first responder in Mississauga, said they take pride in supporting those on the front lines.

Sarnia’s Firehouse Subs restaurant – Oct 14/20 (Blackburnnews.com photo by Josh Boyce)

“We’re so proud to be a part of this city, and bring business here,” said Qadree. “We’ve hired over 30 employees and that is changing 30 families’ lives. We’re taking pride in supporting our first responders, they do a lot for our community, especially during COVID.”

Qadree admits construction was a challenge during the pandemic.

“The landlord has been extremely cooperative and helpful with us. We spent over three months on construction, especially during COVID it was not easy. There were a lot of restrictions in place but we managed to come out stronger. The building looks beautiful and we’re ready.”

Firehouse Subs officially opens on Thursday at the former RBC Bank location on London Road.

The cost of renovations is estimated at around $450,000.

There are currently 27 Firehouse Subs restaurants owned and operated by local franchisees throughout Ontario.

Firehouse Subs was founded by brothers Chris and Robin Sorensen, two former firefighters in Jacksonville, Florida, back in 1994.

Since 2005, the company’s public safety foundation has donated over $44 million, in the form of life-saving equipment, to first responders in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.