Oakville Images
OPL Oakville Heritage Moments: The Oakville Fire Department, Part 2


Description
Media Type:
Video
Item Type:
Video recordings
Description:
This video is part of a series titled 'Oakville Heritage Moments.' Produced by the Oakville Public Library, these videos aim to focus on snapshots of Oakville's history. This video focuses on firefighting in the 1900s.
Notes:
Video written and produced by the Oakville Public Library’s Digital Heritage Assistant, 2018. Narrated by June Campbell.
Photos from Oakville Images, Oakville Historical Society, Oakville Museum, Library and Archives Canada, FLickr, Wikimedia Commons, Toronto Archives, McCord Museum, Library of Congress, Bronte Historical Society, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Trafalgar Township Historical Society, Town of Oakville, The Oakville Beaver.
Music: Valse no.1 - Auguste Durand, performed by Markus Staab via musopen.org.
Special thanks to the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Date of Publication:
2018
Language of Item:
English
Copyright Statement:
Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Oakville Public Library
Email
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

Oakville Public Library

Central Branch

120 Navy Street

Oakville ON L6J 2Z4

Tel: (905) 815-2042

For information about photographs, news articles, or other information included in this database, please contact the Local Collections Librarian by email.


Transcription:

The Oakville Fire Department was created on April 30, 1909, bringing with it a handful of improvements. The fire companies were replaced by hose companies, placed strategically throughout the town to cover the most area. Though they were still called volunteers, the firefighters were then paid a dollar for arriving at a fire, and 35 cents for each hour worked after the first. By this point, fires were reported by telephone, which was then signaled by a steam whistle located first at the Marlatt and Armstrong Leather Company, then at the Monsanto Company.

At first, hose companies would pull their hose reels to the fire using horses or on foot, but by 1917 all stations had a gasoline powered vehicle to accomplish the task. Oakville purchased its first motorized chemical fire truck in 1919 when the government was selling surplus equipment from the war.

In 1924, twelve fire alarm pull boxes were installed in the streets to allow citizens to more effectively alert authorities of a fire’s location. Though the call boxes were useful, since the system was anonymous false calls became more common.

The biggest change came in 1961 when Oakville and Trafalgar amalgamated leading to the Oakville and Bronte fire departments coming together to form the New Town of Oakville Fire Department. The new department’s limits included the Township of Trafalgar, bringing the total number of calls to 400 per year, where Oakville alone rarely broke 100 per year.

At this point, the department began to hire full-time firefighters. The hires started with six firefighters in 1962, but by the time the fire station on Randall and Navy was built in 1967, there were a total 38 full-time firefighters, 80 volunteers, and three dispatchers allowing the station to function 24 hours a day.

The former fire station on Navy and Randall was built on the site of the old Methodist Church and water tower that was used previously to train volunteer firefighters. The black top of the tower was added to match other public buildings in Oakville, such as the central library and the real estate board building across the street. The Fitzsimmons Cairn, dedicated to a former Oakville Employee who served in the First World War, stands outside the station and actually predates the station itself by three years.

Today, the old Church street station is designated as a heritage building, and the department has moved from navy street to a more modern facility on kerr street.

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OPL Oakville Heritage Moments: The Oakville Fire Department, Part 2


This video is part of a series titled 'Oakville Heritage Moments.' Produced by the Oakville Public Library, these videos aim to focus on snapshots of Oakville's history. This video focuses on firefighting in the 1900s.