And on Sooke Rd. In June a large forest fire threatened the Langford and Colwood residents and was only brought under control by the joint work of the volunteer fire brigades, the forest service and Armed Forces personnel. This showed that water supplies other than ponds and streams were required for the protection of the districts.
This truck was equipped with a red light, siren and a gallon water tank. The wheels were removed from a trailer pump that was mounted on the truck and connected to the tank. With this new fire truck ready, it was given to Langford and housed under the Langford Community Hall at the corner of Carlow and Goldstream.
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In August the Provincial Government purchased the wartime fire equipment from the federal government for a nominal fee and through civil defense, gave it to the communities. Work was now underway to raise money for the building of a one bay fire hall, to be located on the Colwood Community Hall property.
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Ernie Emery, had progressed to the point of obtaining costs for the placement of hydrants and standpipes. In a reply to correspondence about these costs, Premier John Hart, in a letter dated March 15, suggested that the communities incorporate into an improvement district under the Water Act in order to borrow money and make tax levies to pay them off.
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Elected to the first Board of Trustees were for a three-year term of office, Mr. Sam Vallis, Mr. Len Slater 1 year , and Mr. Charley Coombs 2 years. Walter Gwyer accepted the position of Fire Chief. These hydrants served residential properties from Parsons Bridge to the Lagoon, Metchosin intersection. An old fire report dated August 22, reads Location - Mr.
Bingles property, View Ave. Approximately 3 p. Proudfoot reported to the telephone exchange a fire at the above location. Bodman of the forest service and CVFD were called to the scene. Little damage. All buildings saved. Fire extinguished. Coombs and hired hand left and Slater remained in case of further outbreak. Colin Smith arrived at scene and at p. In , this district acquired a first line pumper, an ex-Airforce International, with a gallon booster tank later increased to gallons and a Bickle rotary gear midship pump.
The volunteer firefighters were overjoyed. Practices were held on Thursday evenings and more than occasionally on Sunday mornings. Inside lectures could be held if the fire truck was parked outside so in , the volunteers expanded the small garage with a second bay, a hose tower, offices and a second floor which was used for lectures and recreation. This same year the Highway Sawmill, located on the present site of Westbrook Shopping Center in Langford, burned to the ground.
The fire however, through the valiant efforts of the local volunteer fire departments, did not spread to any of the wooden buildings on either side. This also meant a change for the fire department as until now the fire calls were received by the telephone operator, who in turn set off the small siren on top of the community hall. Once again Colwood and Langford got together and chose to use radio-transceivers.
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Saanich Fire Dept. At the same time, mobile radios were installed in the fire trucks of both districts. Messages could now be relayed between the fire halls and the fire trucks. This was a busy time for Fire Chief Dick Emery, who had taken over in The fire district was expanding rapidly and no sooner did the Esquimalt Lagoon area petition for fire protection, when the Latoria Rd.
A second fire truck was purchased from Saanich in to help cover the additional area.
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In , the Albert Head area also petitioned the trustees to be included in the fire protection district. For all the volunteer firefighters, training continued. Technology was improving, as well as firefighting equipment, and as this new equipment was acquired, the men had to be well versed on its use. They arrived to find the Shop-Easy Grocery store fully involved.
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With the help of Langford and Department of National Defense firefighters from Belmont Park, the fire was brought under control with little damage to other stores. In the Armed Forces took over responsibility of the air raid sirens, two of which Colwood was using to call out the firefighters. This forced the fire dept. The two pumpers were now 20 years old and needed to be replaced. In , the Trustees agreed. The volunteers drew up specifications for tender and in took delivery of a Mercury with a gpm two stage pump and gallon booster tank.
This new fire truck was painted white, based on a report received from the Ministry of Highways confirming that white is the most visible colour in limited light and in most weather conditions. Incorporated into the truck were several innovations such as side cupboards for smoke masks and two 1. An increasing demand for the services relating to the fire dept required the Trustees to hire a day man for two of the summer months in This was increased to two men in After 13 years of dedicated service, Dick Emery retired as fire chief and Dick Proudfoot was appointed.
One project at this time was outfitting a Dodge Power Wagon four wheel drive for fighting bush fires. This truck was kept at the home of Alec Chow, and manned by the volunteers in that area. It proved to be a versatile and popular vehicle. Also in , street lighting was added to the letters patent and the Trustees busied themselves placing street lighting at major intersections. In , The Saanich council increased the fee schedule for handling the emergency calls, which proved to be unsatisfactory to Colwood.
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A change to a private answering service was made. In , a full time maintenance man was hired to keep up the equipment and to handle permits and inspections. The Langford volunteers, who had provided ambulance service for the districts since asked the Colwood men to take over some of the load.
An Econoline can was purchased in and along with other duties, the fire dept. In , the Department of Highways announced the widening of Sooke Rd. The Trustees purchased 1. Sam Vallis turned the first sod. In November , the volunteers moved their equipment into the new fire hall. The workload was becoming such that in the Fire Chief was hire full time and Colwood received its second new truck in August. The Econoline van was sold and a new Plymouth station wagon was purchased. This vehicle was equipped with an inhalator and first aid supplies as well as being used as the Chief's car.
In that same year, the district purchased a "mini-pumper" to replace the aging power wagon. This small truck was used for fast response to attack small fires in the initial stages. In November , a second maintenance man was hired to assist with the workload and augment daytime manpower. In , studies were begun into incorporation.
While both sides argued the pros and cons, the volunteers assured the residents that no matter what the vote, the firefighters would continue to serve the community as volunteers. New uniforms were purchased to replace the old battledress style. This year also marked the first time Santa toured the area on a fire truck to the delight of all the district's children.
To commemorate the occasion, each member of the department was presented with an engraved stein. Pagers were purchased for the volunteers to assist in calling out the firefighters. Though the air horns are very loud, the new houses are too well insulated for the sound to effectively penetrate.