Turning Back the Pages: A look at fire safety in Golden

Golden’s fire brigade was officially incorporated on May 26, 1898 under the name “Golden Fire Engine Association, Limited”.

Golden’s fire brigade was officially incorporated on May 26, 1898 under the name “Golden Fire Engine Association, Limited”. The first fire chief was G.B. McDermot. In short order the Fire Brigade bought a Roland Steam Engine to help supply water for fire protection.

The first fire hall in Golden, built prior to 1898, was on the northeast end of the Kicking Horse Bridge. It was a two-storey building with a tower that housed a large brass bell. The fire hall was destroyed by fire in 1921.

The bell was recovered from the ruins, by Chief Harry Parson, who kept the bell until his death. The Fire Department then presented the bell to Bill Wenman in recognition of 50 years of service to the Department. In 1980, Bill moved into Durand Manor and offered the bell back to the Fire Department, where today it holds a place of honour in the Fire Dept. Lounge.

After the loss of the original hall in 1921, there was no replacement for over 20 years. The Volunteer Fire Brigade was called together by the Columbia River Lumber Companies mill whistle instead. The mill supplied water through wooden pipes to three hydrants located in town, to which the volunteers hooked up hoses that were carried by hand-drawn carts. The C.R.L. mill closed in 1927, leaving the town with only a bucket brigade for Fire Protection.

After the Second World War, water was pumped from wells by a gas powered pump supplied by the Federal Government for the Air Raid Protection Volunteers. In May 1945, a public meeting

was called and a Volunteer Fire Brigade was reformed with George Keenleyside as Chief. A new Fire Hall was established in a garage supplied by Keenleyside, located beside the P. Burns and Co. butcher shop on the north side of where the Kicking Horse Bridge now stands.

The first truck purchased by the Fire Brigade was a Ford Model A truck. The truck was used to pull a trailer, upon which was mounted the gas powered pump.

The next truck was a 1952 Ford Pumper. This new truck required a larger hall, so the department was relocated to the old Weston dress wear building (located between where the Big Bend Hotel and the Moon Cafe presently sit).

Golden was incorporated as a town in1957, and meant another move for the Fire Department, this time to the lower level of the Town Office.

In 1977, the Town purchased a building from the Overwaitea Company, which was then renovated by the volunteer firefighters into the facility that we all know today. This building has proven to be ideal, allowing for the expansion of equipment and training activities. In 1969 the department purchased a King Segraves 6,259pm triple combination pumper.

In 1979 Golden purchased another new truck, a TCP pumper with a pump capacity of 840 gpm. The volunteers, through various fund raising activities, were able to purchase and add an equipment van to their fleet. This van was used to carry Turn-Out gear and other equipment to the Fire Scene. The next major addition to the department equipment was a radio paging system to provide immediate call out of the volunteers who make up the current force.

During this time Chief Lloyd Shibley purchased another TCP pumper to add to the fleet.

In March 1996, the Golden Fire Fighters met with Town Council to discuss the hiring of a paid fire chief for Golden. All the new standards, regulations, legislative rulings were reviewed at the same time. In April of 1996, Golden hired its first paid chief, Muir Furzer.