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130YearsofService

This photo commemorates the 1929 Bickle Fire Truck being moved into the Brandon Fire & Emergency Services Museum in August 2010.  The Museum is located within the #1 Fire Hall at 120 19th Street North, Brandon, Manitoba.  Here is a summary of our history:

 

Every town or city demands a Fire Prevention Service. Originally known as the Brandon Volunteer Fire Brigade, firefighters provided service to the community and surrounding area of Brandon starting in 1882.  As early as July 27th, 1892, Brandon had passed a by-law dealing with the prevention of fires. A new building was built at 7th Street and Princess Avenue, which housed the Fire Department plus the Chief of Police, City Clerk, Assessors and Collectors of taxes and Council Chambers.

The first Fire Chief was G.W. Alexander from1882-1894. Wagons were drawn by both horses and the firemen themselves. Water supply as we know it today was non-existent and water was drafted from storage pits and dispersed at various street intervals. These tanks were eighteen feet deep and eighteen feet in circumference. One was located at the corner of 7th Street and Princess Avenue and another at the corner of 10th Street and Rosser Avenue.

In 1909, the service became a paid department with a total of 15 men including the Chief. These men worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until April, 1910 when a new schedule started allowing two men to be off in the morning, two off in the afternoon and two off in the evening.
We are unsure when number 2 Station located at 11th Street and McTavish Avenue opened, but it was operating by 1909. Number 2 Station closed July 31st, 1916 and the men and horses were moved to the main hall.

 

By 1921, the automotive fire truck was moving the need for horses aside.The last team of horses was sold to Dinsdale & Company for $400.00 in June 1921. The old steamer fire engine was sold to D. Cristall for $50.00. The steamer was in service from 1882-1929.

The fire hall bell, known as the "Coronation Bell", named in honour of the Coronation of King Edward, was donated to the Fire Department in 1902 and was placed in the tower of the first station by a team of dray horses. It was taken down and installed in the bell tower of the Central Fire Station in 1911. The bell weighs 4,400 pounds and was built by Meneely Bell Foundry of New York. The bell is 77% copper and 23% tin. The bell’s tone is in the key of "C" and the diameter of the base is 62 inches.

The Ambulance Service has been associated with the Fire Department since 1917. This is the year that a fireman went next door to the livery stable to bring someone along for help. The two men went together with a team of horses to respond to the call. The ambulance service has come a long way since those days, and now provides the service under contract with the Brandon Regional Health Authority.

In 1970, the new number 2 Station opened at 13th Street and Richmond Avenue at a cost of $28,000.00. Four years later, the first lime green fire engine was introduced to the City of Brandon.

In 1987, the department added a Skypod to its vehicle fleet, but its lifespan was short lived in retrospect as it was replaced in 2001 by a new Quint.

 

In 1988, number 2 Station at 13th Street and Richmond Avenue was abandoned. The current number 2 Station was built at the corner of 13th Street and Queens Avenue, with a price tag of $590,000.00.

 

The Central Fire Station was denoted a Heritage Building in July 2000 and should remain a historic part of the Brandon community for years to come. Brandon Fire & Emergency Services and the Emergency Communications Centre for the province moved to a state of the art facility on 19th Street North in August 2010. This new building should meet the operational needs and allow for growth into the future. It proudly contains a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the fire service in the City of Brandon.

 

The street formally known as Maple Avenue (which is adjacent to the site) was renamed Fred Brown Way in honour of the sole firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty. The dedication ceremony occurred in October 2010 with many of Fred’s family in attendance.


This is a selection of our Museum pieces.  Each artifact was used in the past by the Brandon Fire Department's or Brandon Fire & Emergency Services' Personnel.

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