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New documentary series pays tribute to Langdon's firefighters

A newly released documentary series is highlighting Langdon's volunteer firefighting department. Langdon's Heroes was released on Nov. 16.

A newly released documentary series is highlighting the heroism of Langdon's volunteer firefighting department. 

Langdon's Heroes was released on Nov. 16. The six-episode docu-series focuses on the lives of the hamlet's firefighting community, as well as the history and future of the department.

The six-part series was produced by Bull and Ship Films – a Calgary-based production company that was co-founded by Langdon-based filmmaker Robert Peddle. 

Peddle, who moved to Langdon 10 years ago after previously living on Canada's East Coast, said the idea for Langdon's Heroes stemmed from his own previous background as a volunteer firefighter in a rural community in Nova Scotia in the early 2000s. With the recent completion and grand opening of the hamlet's new fire hall and emergency services facility this year, he said it felt like the perfect time to do the documentary. 

“I was friends with one of [Langdon's] firefighters, so I approached him to see if he’d be interested in doing a documentary about volunteer firefighting and rural community firefighting,” Peddle explained. “He took it to the chief Ron Wenstrom and I also approached Rocky View County.”

Once they had the department's and the County's blessing, Peddle said he and his Bull and Ship Films business partner Kim Kelln successfully applied for a $10,000 grant from Telus StoryHive to produce the documentary this winter. 

Peddle said filming got underway in February and lasted roughly two months. Filming was followed by three months of editing and post-production activities in the spring. Production officially wrapped in mid-June, shortly after the grand opening of Langdon's new fire hall. 

The final product features over two hours worth of content, including an extensive combination of sit-down interviews with members of Langdon's firefighting department, photos, and clips of the members performing training exercises and mock scenarios. (Peddle said there were liability issues that prevented the film crew from joining the department on actual calls).

The main message Peddle said he wanted to convey in the documentary was to showcase the backgrounds of the hamlet's volunteer firefighters, and the lengths they are willing to go in order to keep their community safe.

“The documentary is mostly the story of the firefighters,” he said. “In Hollywood, they always have these big blazes and make it about the action, but I wanted to make it about the firefighters. I focused on the training they go through, and they went through some mock scenarios for us [to film].

“The story I wanted to tell was what it’s like to be a volunteer firefighter – the mental and physical stress, the hours of training they do, and I also wanted to focus on the diversity they have in the Langdon fire department.”

The first episode – about 25 minutes long – covers the history of Langdon's fire department, which emerged in the 1990s. From there, the second episode delves into the extensive training that Langdon's firefighters undergo, and the third focuses on what happens at the station after a call is dispatched. 

“They’re on call 24-7,” Peddle said. “If they’re eating supper and an alarm goes off, they need to run out and go on a call.”

The fourth episode highlights the diversity of Langdon's fire department, and the fifth is about the mental and physical stress of the occupation.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of PTSD,” Peddle said. “[Firefighters provide] an unseen service – you don’t really see them until you need them, when you make that 911 call. Unfortunately a lot of the calls the members go on, especially car accidents…can be very traumatic.”

The series wraps with an episode on the Langdon fire department's future, including footage from the grand opening of the hamlet's new fire hall on June 4. 

According to Peddle, Langdon's Heroes is Bull and Ship Films' second documentary. He and Kelln previously produced a film in 2017 called Bicicles that focused on Calgarians who cycled to and from work in the wintertime.

“After that, I had a little girl so went on hiatus for three years,” he said. “After getting more settled…that’s when I decided to do Langdon’s Heroes.” 

For those who want to watch Langdon's Heroes, Peddle said Telus Optik TV will be airing the series on channel 345. The six-episode series is also available on Telus StoryHive’s YouTube channel.

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