|1873-1899 | 1899-1914 | 1914-1940 | 1946-1968 | 1968-1999|
The inception of Winnipeg’s fire brigade was unusual compared to many other volunteer brigades in North America. Brigades in other cities were typically made up of citizens from the working class, seeking adventure, status, comradeship, or a means of serving their community. In Winnipeg, property owners, concerned with either skyrocketing fire insurance rates or the refusal of insurance companies to provide any coverage, joined forces in a gesture of self-help. Their objective was to protect their properties from fire.
On October 14, 1874, city council presented its first money plebiscite to eligible voters. It included an order to obtain a $25,000 line of credit for the purchase of fire engines and apparatus, and the construction of buried underground water tanks along Main Street for firefighting purposes. This was no surprise, given that the only people who were entitled to vote during this period were the property owners, a number of whom were also responsible for organizing the fire brigade.
The equipment ordered included the standard supplies for a city of Winnipeg's size: hose reels, hose, a Babcock hook-and-ladder truck, and Babcock chemical engines. The committee also ordered a horse-drawn steam pumper from the Silsby Steam Engine Company. While this unit would normally have taken six months to arrive, a day after the committee approved the order, the Silsby Company telegraphed the city, offering to immediately deliver a highly finished engine . . . for an extra $500.
|Nov. 8, 1873||Winnipeg incorporated as a city.|
|Sept. 24, 1874||Volunteer Fire Brigade formed.|
||William Code - one of the originals in the brigade.|
|Nov. 18, 1874||Brigade receives equipment.|
|Jan. 25, 1875||By-law passed for organization & management of a fire dept.|
|Dec. 25, 1875||WFD Brigade's fire hall on Lombard Ave. burns down.|
|April 19, 1877||Department reorganized; Dan McMillan is Chief.|
|May 3, 1877||Dominion House and stables burn, located at Main St. and St. Mary.|
|Aug. 14, 1877||Department meets Lord & Lady Dufferin visiting Winnipeg.|
|Jan. 3, 1878||New Fire station on Market Square opened.|
|Mar. 13, 1878||A. Current's store located on Main St. burns, tanks frozen.|
|1882||Temporary HQ at Smith and York until No. 2 was built.|
|Mar. 23, 1882||24 boxes for the street box system were installed along with 6 gongs.|
|May 17, 1882||Winnipeg Fire Dept. formed; W. 0. McRobie is first official Chief.|
|Jan. 26, 1883||Chief McRobie moves into new Central Station on William Ave. at Charlotte. (Hargrave)|
|Feb. 1883||Approx. this time, North Hall built on NE Fonseca (Higgins) and Maple St.|
|June 19, 1883||South Hall - No. 2 station at Smith and York is built and first used.|
|1885||City Council discharged 6 men from Hook and Ladder company.|
|May 1, 1892||Princess Opera house fire.|
|Nov. 16, 1894||One of the biggest battles, Western Canada Building.|
|Feb. 19, 1895||New 65-foot Hayes aerial ladder truck purchased.|
|1896||End of year sees 49 street boxes in use.|
|Feb. 11, 1898||McIntyre Block, the finest business structure of the time burns.|
|1899||No. 1 Fire Hall built at 110 Albert St. (demolished in 1965)|
|Feb. 9, 1899||The Manitoba Hotel fire, $800,000 damage, a huge amount.|
Archives - 1873-1899 | 1899-1914 | 1914-1940 | 1946-1968 | 1968-1999
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