Finding Aids

Title
Nanaimo Fire Department fonds
Text
Nanaimo Fire Department fonds [textual record, graphic material]. -- 1883-2000.
11.3 metres of textual records
2 photographs : col.

In 1865, following a public meeting at the Courthouse, Nanaimo's first fire brigade was organized, funded by a cash donation from the Vancouver Coal Company. By the City's incorporation in 1874, it had ceased to exist. However, from 1876, Council annually appointed a Fire Warden Committee to enforce its by-law regarding fire prevention and the regulation of chimneys and stovepipes. After a time, it became apparent that the brigades were ineffective and more modern, organized fire protection was necessary. John Hilbert, John H. Scales, Enoch Scales, Albion Tranfield, John Hamilton, W.E. Morton, George Davies, Robert Wenborn, and J. M. Brown met on May 14, 1878 and organized the Nanaimo Fire Company, also known as the Black Diamond Fire Engine Company, No. 1. The company received both provincial and municipal funding, but remained autonomous within its own secretariat. First officers included: Walter Wilson (Foreman), William Guillion (First Assistant Foreman), J.H.Pleace (Secretary) and George Norris (Treasurer). The first fire hall opened Jan. 21, 1879 at the corner of Wharf and Front Streets. It was destroyed by fire on Sept. 28, 1894. In 1890, a subscription list was started to secure funds to build a modern brick fire station. Located at the foot of Nicol Street, this new station was officially opened December 15, 1893. The company received its last provincial grant in 1899, and negotiations, which had begun as early as 1894, began in earnest for the City of Nanaimo to take over total financial responsibility. On Nov. 14, 1901, City Council assumed direct control of the Fire Department. John Parkin was appointed the first City Fire Chief, serving in that capacity from Nov. 14, 1901 to Feb. 25, 1937 (Parkin was previously an unpaid volunteer). Two firefighters were hired at the same time to drive the two-horse team for the fire equipment. In 1951, Brechin District was added to the City of Nanaimo. A small satellite station was built to house one of the pair of Type 10 Combination Hose and Chemical Cars bought from American LaFrance in 1913. By the early 1960s, the fire station at Nicol Street was becoming too small and, in 1967, the department was relocated to a new station at the corner of Milton and Fitzwilliam Streets. The City of Nanaimo amalgamated with surrounding districts in 1975. At that time, Harewood, Wellington, Northfield, Chase River, Protection Island, Departure Bay, each with their own fire departments, all became part of the Nanaimo Fire Department. Over time, additional stations have been built. A Fire Training Centre, one of the first of its kind in Canada, was opened in 1986 on Labieux Road to provide training for firefighters from Nanaimo as well as career and volunteer firefighters from Vancouver Island. In 2004, 911 Emergency Service was centralized in Nanaimo, with fire dispatch service amalgamated from Duncan to Comox. Currently, Nanaimo Fire/Rescue provides fire protection, rescue and emergency services to all areas of the City of Nanaimo. These include fire suppression, fire safety, inspections, fire prevention, public education, fire cause investigation, pre-fire planning, building upgrades, emergency preparedness and coordination and rescue and emergency medical aid services. More than 470 career firefighters and seventeen Fire Chiefs have passed through the department (2008).

Fonds consist of records generated by the Nanaimo Fire/Rescue department and its predecessor organizations. Fonds is arranged in the following series: 1) Minutes; 2) Roll call records 3) Personnel records; 4) Fire reports; 5) Incident Reports; 6) Fire Records and 7) Miscellaneous.

Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Series descriptions and file list available.
Access to some series is restricted; please consult staff.
Many of the ledgers have severely damaged spines and water damage.

Series 1.

Minutes [textual record]. -- 1887-1969.
6 cm of textual records.

Series consists of minute books. The 1937-1948 volume also includes a list of honorary and active members and the constitution and bylaws (1937).
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.
Some volumes are fragile.

Series 2.

Roll call records [textual record]. - 1883-1922
8 cm of textual records

Series consists of roll call records for meetings, drills and fire alarms. The earliest volume also includes an undated constitution and bylaws of the Nanaimo Fire Company No. 1. The 1893-1899 volume also contains miscellaneous notes about equipment and personnel.

Title based on the contents of the series.

Series 3.

Personnel records [textual record]. - 1952-1976
5 cm of textual records

Series consists of records related to fire department personnel. One volume provides a list of call men and length of service. The other volume is a record of the equipment and clothing supplied to each firefighter.

Title based on the contents of the series.

Series 4.

Fire reports [textual record]. - 1956-2000
4.1 metres of textual records

Series consists of reports of fires attended by the Nanaimo Fire Department. Later records include copies of reports sent to the Provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner.

Title based on the contents of the series.
Access restricted; please consult staff.
Early ledgers have damaged bindings. Some pages are water stained.

Series 5.

Incident reports [textual record]. - 1980-1992
5.6 metres of textual records

Series consists of reports of fire, rescue and medical incidents responded to by the Fire Department.

Title based on the contents of the series.
Access restricted; please consult staff.

Series 6.

Fire records [textual record]. - 1900-1981, intermittent
42 cm of textual records

Series consists of three types of fire record books. The earliest volume (1900-1913), included in the 1893-1899 roll call ledger, provides brief information about fires, including the date and location. The books from 1926-1942 provide information about the time, date and location of fires attended by the department and also include information about insurance, building and land values, ownership and value of damage. Later volumes (1954-1981) include a brief description of the cause and type of every fire attended to by the department. Also includes the names of fireman called to each fire and attendance lists for various drills. There is no book for 1956.

Title based on the contents of the series.

Series 7.

Miscellaneous [textual record, graphic material]. - 1940s, 1990
5 cm of textual records
2 photographs : col.

Series consists of drafts of reports submitted by the Fire Chief to Council, assorted notes and two photographs of parts of a rescue truck.

Title based on the contents of the series.

File list

Series 1. Minutes

File 1. Minutes, 1887-1938
File 2. Minutes, 1937-1948
File 3. Minutes, 1948-1969

Series 2. Roll call records

File 1. Roll call, 1883-1886
File 2. Roll call, 1887-1893
File 3. Roll call, 1893-1899
File 4. Roll call, 1900-1922

Series 3. Personnel records

File 1. Record book, 1952-1973
File 2. Record book, 1961-1976

Series 4. Fire Reports

File 1. 1956 - Nov. 1957
File 2. Jan. 1965 - Jan. 1969
File 3. Jan. 1969 - Dec. 1974
File 4. Prior to 1971
File 5. Jan. 1972 - Dec. 1974
File 6. Jan. 1975 - Jan. 1976
File 7. Jan. 1975 - Dec. 1978
File 8. 1979
File 9. 1980
File 10. 1981
File 11. Jan. 1979 - Jan. 1980
File 12. Jan. - June 1981
File 13. July - Dec. 1981
File 14. Jan. - June 1982
File 15. July - Dec. 1982
File 16. Jan. - June 1983
File 17. July - Dec. 1983
File 18. Jan. - June 1984
File 19. July - Dec. 1984
File 20. Jan. - June 1985
File 21. July - Dec. 1985
File 22. Jan. - June 1986
File 23. July - Dec. 1986
File 24. July - Dec. 1987
File 25. Jan. - June 1987
File 26. Jan. - June 1988
File 27. July - Dec. 1988
File 28. Jan. - Dec. 1989
File 29. 1990
File 30. 1991
File 31. 1992
File 32. 1993
File 33. Jan. - June 1994
File 34. July - Dec. 1994
File 35. Jan. - July 1995
File 36. Aug. - Dec. 1995
File 37. 1996
File 38. 1997
File 39. 1997
File 40. 1998
File 41. July - Dec. 1999
File 42. Jan. - June 1999
File 43. Jan. - July 2000
File 44. Aug. - Dec. 2000
File 45. Alarm Reports #282 - #647
File 46 Nov. 1957 - ?

Series 5 Incident Reports

File 1. 1980
File 2. January - June 1981
File 3. July, August, September 1981
File 4. Oct. Nov. Dec. 1981
File 5. Jan. - April 1982
File 6. May - July 1982
File 7. Aug. Sept Oct. 1982
File 8. Nov. - Dec. 1982
File 9. Jan. - April 1983
File 10. May - July 1983
File 11. Aug. - Oct. 1983
File 12. Nov. Dec. 1983
File 13. Jan. - March 1984
File 14. April - June 1984
File 15. July, Aug. Sept. 1984
File 16. Oct. - Dec. 1984
File 17. Jan. - March 1985
File 18. April - June 1985
File 19. July - August 1985
File 20. Sept. - Nov. 1985
File 21. Dec. 1985
File 22. Nov. 1985 - Feb. 1986
File 23. March, April, May 1986
File 24. June, July, August 1986
File 25. Sept. Oct. 1986
File 26. Nov. Dec. 1986
File 27. Jan. - Feb. 1987
File 28. Mar. - May 1987
File 29. June - July 1987
File 30. Aug. - Sept. 1987
File 31. Oct. - Nov. 1987
File 32 Dec. 1987
File 33. Jan. -- March 1988
File 34. April - May 1988
File 35. July - Aug. 1988
File 36. Sept. - Oct. 1988
File 37. Nov. - Dec. 1988
File 38. Jan. - Feb. 1989
File 39. March - April 1989
File 40. May - June 1989
File 41. July - August 1989
File 42. Sept. - Oct. 1989
File 43. Nov. - Dec. 1989
File 44. Jan. - Feb. 1990
File 45. March 1990
File 46. April 1990 - May 1990
File 47. May 1990
File 48. July 1990
File 49. Sept. - Oct. 1990
File 50. Nov. - Dec. 1990
File 51. Jan. - Feb. 1991
File 52. March 1991
File 53. June 1991
File 54. Aug. - Sept. 1991
File 55. Oct. - Nov. 1991
File 56. Dec. 1991
File 57. January 1992
File 58. February 1992
File 59. March 1992
File 60. April 1992
File 61. May 1992
File 62. June 1992
File 63. July 1992
File 64. August 1992
File 65. September 1992
File 66. October 1992

Series 6 Fire Records

File 1. 1900-1913
File 2. 1926-1942
File 3. 1937-1942
File 4. 1954 - 1955
File 5. 1957
File 6. 1958
File 7. 1959
File 8. 1960
File 9. 1961
File 10. 1962
File 11. 1963
File 12. 1964
File 13. 1965
File 14. 1966
File 15. 1967
File 16. 1968
File 17. 1969
File 18. 1970
File 19. 1971
File 20. 1972
File 21. 1973
File 22. 1974
File 23. 1975
File 24. 1976
File 25. 1977
File 26. 1978
File 27. 1979
File 28. Oct. 1979 - July 1980
File 29. July - Mar. 1981
File 30 Jan. - July 1981

Series 7. Miscellaneous

File 1. Notes and photographs
Photo 1
Photo 2