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 Thank you Grande Prairie for the first 100 years, here's to the next 100...

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.

Fire Brigade

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.


October 1915

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.

November 1916

$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.

August 1916

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'.

October 1917

1917 Members Photo



Village of Grande Prairie borrows $12,000.00 for fire protection in the form of a water system.

March  1918

Lem Smee appointed Fire Chief. Chief Smee recruits more volunteers.

July 1918



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."

February 1919

New hats and coats were ordered for Fire Department members.

April 1920

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.

November 1920

Apparatus and Equipment    

now  housed in the new



Hose and Bell tower are being constructed.

June 1921

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.

December 1921



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.

February 1923

Gray's Pool room Fire

November 1923

Royal George Hotel Fire - Fire Department arrives within 4 minutes. Fire is contained to 2 rooms on the third floor.

March 1927

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.

April 1928

Fire Department prompt action saves the Pump Station and Town Power Plant.

January 1928

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. 

December 1928

Water Department building fire. Pumps saves but building and one electric motor damaged. 

January 1930

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. 

March 1930

Edwards garage destroyed by fire. 

June 1930

Capitol Theatre Fire. Arson suspected as there were two gas cans found on the scene. 

November 1930

Fire in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kirby. Their three month old daughter was rescued but later dies in hospital. 

April 1932

Grande Prairie's Pioneer Mill destroyed by Fire. $20,000.00 loss.

July 1935

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. 

October 1936

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. 

November 1937

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.  

July 1939

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.

January 1949

$10,000.00 for new firefighting equipment approved.

May 1950

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. 

December 1952

First Fire Bylaw adopted by the Town.

March 1952

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. 

January 1953 

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.

February 1953

Scott Fruit Limited warehouse fire. $60,000.00 in damages. 

April 1953

Northern Plywood Limited Mill fire.

August 1953

Pete Eagar is named Fire Chief.


Contract for new firehall is awarded and being built on 101 Street. Will house municipal offices and library.

December 1953

Fire Bell donated by Grande Prairie Council to the Knox Presbyterian Church at Wanham. 

February 1954

Fire Siren used to alert town residents of fire. 

March 1954

Airport Motel Fire - One wing destroyed.


Northern Planning Mill and Grande Prairie Tire Shop fires. 

May 1954

GPFD 1950's


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. 

July 1954

Grande Prairie Garage Fire - Walls collapse as fire burns. 

January 1955

Deputy Fire chief Fred Dobbyn hired as Deputy Director of Civil Defence.


Civil Defence Pumper loaned to the Grande Prairie Fire Department. 

November 1955

Fire at the Grande Prairie Power Plant knocks out power to some of town for four hours. $75,000.00 in damages. 

March 1957

Pete Eagar is hired as fulltime Fire Chief. 

January 1957

Grande Prairie takes delivery to new Fire Engine.

Last updated: 5/4/2017 10:56:53 AM