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It has been said, "If you want to learn something new, read an old book." The GPFD 100th Anniversary is here and we are excited and honoured to share our history with you.
Before 1915, fire protection services did not exist in the Village of Grande Prairie. Despite discussions to begin this service, the Grande Prairie Fire Department was actually established on August 05th, 1915.
The day the Grande Prairie Fire Department was established two chemical engine were purchased from R.S. Bickle Co. of Winnipeg. Fire Chief was William Carll with Andy Wilson as the Assistant Chief. Captains Frank Orr, H.T. Naughton and 23 Volunteers completed the roster of members.
Tenders issued to build Firehall however the firehall was never actually built. The Oliver Block was renovated to be a temporary Firehall in July 1918. The first actual Firehall was not built until spring 1920.
$120.00 was collected by local businessmen of the town to build a Bell Tower and purchase a Fire Bell to alert the community in case of fire.
Building the Bell tower commenced immediately.
Worst Conflagration in Local history - Loss estimated at $30,000.00!
Grande Prairie Inn, Hunskor's Pool Hall, Shuttleworth's drug store and the Watcher building.
The Fire Department Saved the Salmond Hotel, Union Bank and the Club Café'.
Village of Grande Prairie borrows $12,000.00 for fire protection in the form of a water system.
Lem Smee appointed Fire Chief. Chief Smee recruits more volunteers.
Oliver Block renovated to house the Fire Department's equipment. Department received hose cart and 500 feet of hose. Have sufficient hose and water supply to shoot water over the tallest buildings in town.
Fire Department coined to be the "best and most efficient fire protection in the Peace Country."
New hats and coats were ordered for Fire Department members.
The Spencer Block, Donald and Patterson Block and the Munroe Building Fire destroyed the following businesses; Grande Prairie Hotel Officers, Hook and Leonard's Jewellery, City Drug Store, H Mattison Photographer, The Northland Developers Ltd. and the Grande Prairie Land Company.
Apparatus and Equipment
now housed in the new
Hose and Bell tower are being constructed.
Crummy Brothers Barn/Store Fire.
Quick action by the fire Department confined fire to building or origin.
Porteons Hardware Company offers prize to the first fireman to show up at fires in the village.
Grande Theatre and Bowling Alley Fire.
Fire Department Saved the Bell Flemming Hardware Store, Grande Prairie Hotel and Frank McDonald/s Butcher Shop.
Fire Department praised by community for Efforts to protect the town and the fire from spreading.
Gray's Pool room Fire
Royal George Hotel Fire - Fire Department arrives within 4 minutes. Fire is contained to 2 rooms on the third floor.
GP Creamery Fire - There was an explosion of the heater, cause fire and smoke damage. Prompt action of the Fire Department and good water supply saved the building.
Fire Department prompt action saves the Pump Station and Town Power Plant.
Crummy Brothers and JP Oliver stores destroyed by fire. These were the two remaining original buildings of the Grande Prairie Town site.
Loss was estimated at $45,000.00.
Windsor Café' was saved.
Abe Smith now Fire Chief.
Each Fireman earns $40.00/Year.
Water Department building fire. Pumps saves but building and one electric motor damaged.
Fire Department purchased a light delivery truck. The truck had mounted upon it one of the Department's Chemical Engines. Grande Prairie's first fire truck.
Edwards garage destroyed by fire.
Capitol Theatre Fire. Arson suspected as there were two gas cans found on the scene.
Fire in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kirby. Their three month old daughter was rescued but later dies in hospital.
Grande Prairie's Pioneer Mill destroyed by Fire. $20,000.00 loss.
Alex Smith's blacksmith and woodworking shop fire.
Fire Chief Abe Smith and 2 firemen suffer acid burns while recharging one of the chemical engines.
Fire Chief Abe Smith suffered injuries as the back wheel of the Engine ran over his right knee and left foot, while attempting to make a corner in front of Morrison's Cash Store.
Chester Miller name Fire Chief with Assistant Chief as Jonny Shields.
Department members were: L.Cobb, J.Cobb, J. Duncan, W. Wilson, R. Harper, K. Crummy, G. Duncan, A. Clarkson, R. burgess, J. Putters, W. Campbell, A. Wilson W. Couch and Cecil Bell.
Herald Building and Plant Fire. Several explosions were heard scattering glass a quarter way down the block.
Department saves Frontier Lumber and a home next to the Herald.
$10,000.00 for new firefighting equipment approved.
The Secretary of the Municipal District rejects Grande Prairie Fire Departments past agreement of $1,000.00/Year to provide fire service to the Municipal District.
The Fire Department will now charge $25.00/Fire for assistance.
Nick Knatiuk Fire Chief.
First Fire Bylaw adopted by the Town.
First Civil Defence Firefighting Course completed by several Grande Prairie Firefighters.
Hudson's Bay Fire downtown. Firefighters from Grande Prairie, Sexsmith, Department of Transportation firemen, Oil workers and citizen volunteers fought the stubborn blaze. Damages were estimated at $300,000.00.
Storms Motel fire - Mrs. Beatrice Oakman, 27 saved her two children from the Storms Motel fire on January 15, 1953. Mrs. Oakman suffered serious burns while carrying her children to safety. Mrs. Oakman died of her injuries on Friday, January 16, 1953.
Scott Fruit Limited warehouse fire. $60,000.00 in damages.
Northern Plywood Limited Mill fire.
Pete Eagar is named Fire Chief.
Contract for new firehall is awarded and being built on 101 Street. Will house municipal offices and library.
Fire Bell donated by Grande Prairie Council to the Knox Presbyterian Church at Wanham.
Fire Siren used to alert town residents of fire.
Airport Motel Fire - One wing destroyed.
Northern Planning Mill and Grande Prairie Tire Shop fires.
New Firehall on 101 Street opens with the Alberta Fire Commissioner attending the opening ceremonies.
Two firemen available for response within second's day or night.
Grande Prairie Garage Fire - Walls collapse as fire burns.
Deputy Fire chief Fred Dobbyn hired as Deputy Director of Civil Defence.
Civil Defence Pumper loaned to the Grande Prairie Fire Department.
Fire at the Grande Prairie Power Plant knocks out power to some of town for four hours. $75,000.00 in damages.
Pete Eagar is hired as fulltime Fire Chief.
Grande Prairie takes delivery to new Fire Engine.
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