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History


March 21, 1887
  • Bylaw passes which establishes a fire department for the town of Prince Albert.
  • Mayor calls a public meeting to ask for volunteers, and a brigade is formed with twenty men for Number Two Company, located in Goschen (Hudson Bay Company site) and twenty-five men for the Number Two Company located in the central part of town.
  • Goschen is named after George Joachim Goshen, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

July 1887
  • Town Council grants $600.00 for the purchase of fire equipment. $64.50 goes to the Goschen area trustees to purchase buckets, axes and ladders. A total of $104.00 is spent to build a fire shed next to the Hudson Bay Company warehouse in Goschen to store the apparatus.
  • The Fire Committee's policy is to give five dollars to the first team of horses to reach the fire shed to haul the fire wagon to the fire. Three dollars is given to the first team to arrive with the water cart with two barrels or more of water.
June 1888 - Merryweather pump
1887
  • Town Council asks the Federal Government for a steam engine to protect government buildings in Prince Albert.

June 1888
  • North West Mounted Police receive the "Merryweather" hand-pumper for this purpose. The North West Mounted Police would assist the Fire Brigade in fire suppression with the "Merryweather."

1888
  • Two underground water tanks are built for the purpose of fire suppression.

1889
  • The Presbyterian Church bell is used as the fire alarm bell for the west end of town, and a bell tower is built next to the Hudson Bay Store for the east end of town. This bell was rescued from the river steamer "Manitoba."
  • Fifty firemen's caps are purchased for the brigade with No. 1 or No. 2 embroidered on them. This was the first distinguishing mark in the way of a uniform.

Volunteer Fire Brigade 1891 (Click on picture to see larger image.)1890
  • The captain of each fire company is paid $15.00 per year.

1892
  • Total cost of running the Fire Department is $150.00.
Fire Hall No. 2, circa 1900 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
1896
  • Captains did not receive their promised wages in 1893, 1894 or 1895. They approach Town Council for lost wages but are told that Council will not be responsible for the conduct of past council. They receive their 1896 wages.


March 1901
  • The practice of paying five dollars to the first team to arrive at the fire shed is discontinued.

1903
  • Citizens of Prince Albert vote to spend $7,000.00 to build a fire house and purchase a large gasoline engine as well as a chemical engine with hose and tanks. However, the fire house was not built, a chemical engine was not purchased and too little hose was purchased. A Watrous gasoline engine was bought that surpassed all expectations.


Fire Pumper, 1904 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
November 1904
  • It is discovered that the fire brigade no longer exists when a house burns down a few blocks from where the engine is stored. No alarm was given, nor was any attempt made to bring out the equipment.

January 16, 1905
  • Captain R. Deacon, who had been elected to Prince Albert City Council following the incorporation of the city, called a meeting to organize a volunteer fire company. At this meeting, F. J. McKenzie is elected Captain of the company with G. B. Mitchell as his first lieutenant and J. N. Smith as second lieutenant. During that meeting and another subsequent meeting days later sees a total of 21 men enrolled as volunteers. The companies are then switched, with the No. 1 Brigade now being located in the central part of town and the No. 2 in the east end at Goschen.

October 12, 1905
  • First Firemen's Ball. Admission is $1.00 for men and $.50 for ladies.

Fall of 1905
  • A new Fire Hall for No. 1 Company is built behind the old City Hall on Central Avenue on what is now the site of the present-day City Hall. The hall is a two-bay building with living quarters and meeting rooms upstairs. The rear of the building shelters the city work horses used by the fire department during the night.
Fire Hall No. 1, 1907 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
1906
  • All men applying to be volunteers are investigated and voted upon by other members. If a member misses three meetings or practices, he is dismissed.
  • The first caretaker of the new fire hall, City Hall, weigh scales and fire engine is J. Portsmith. His wage is $60.00 per month with free living quarters in the upstairs of the Fire Hall.

October 1906
  • City Council offers the firemen the choice of $2.00 per fire call or uniforms - they choose the uniforms.

Spring 1908
  • The first hat badges for the company are received.
  • Accident insurance is taken out for the firemen, which covers them 24 hours a day.
  • The City purchases a team of horses, a new hose wagon and a ladder wagon to be used by the Fire Department.

Firemen in front of the Fire Hall, 1907 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
1909
  • Gus Wagner was appointed as the first Fire Chief (1909 to February 1915). This ended the policy of a city alderman holding this position. Town Alderman J. D. Snell (1883 to 1909) held the position prior to Chief Wagner's appointment.
  • Number One Fire Hall had four paid men and ten call-men, while the Goschen Hall had one paid man and seven volunteers. The paid men received $50.00 per month. The volunteers received $0.50 for each false alarm or practice, $1.00 for the first hour and $0.50 for every subsequent hour during the night or an actual fire.




Fire Hall (Click on picture to see larger image.)
1910
  • A second team of horses was purchased for the Fire Department.
  • An electric fire alarm system composed of 12 alarm boxes and a switchboard and battery to operate the one-circuit system was installed in Number One Hall.



July 20, 1911
  • The first sod was turned to begin construction on the Fire Department.






Fire Hall (Click on picture to see larger image.)
January 20, 1912
  • The fire department took possession of the new fire hall which was located on River Street at Central Avenue and was in use until 1975.












Alco truck, 1915 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
Early 1912
  • An "Alco" truck was purchased for the fire department. This was the first motor-driven vehicle forthe department.

1913
  • Chief Wagner bought a pair of bloodhounds to track down people turning in false alarms.





LaCombe Fire Truck, 1914 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
May 1914
  • The Royal North West Mounted Police turned over the "Merryweather" hand pumper to the fire department.

1914
  • Due to bad relations with the city, nine of thirteen firemen resigned.
  • A Henderson motorcycle for the chief's use and a LaFrance pumper truck were purchased.

1915
  • Gus Wagner left the department. (1909 to February 1915)
  • John N. Smith became Acting Chief for two years before being appointed Fire Chief. (February 1915 to August 1945)

1915
  • Automatic telephones were installed at the fire department.

1920
  • Two one-ton trucks were purchased for the department which resulted in the retirement of Pat and Myrtle, the last two fire horses.


Central Fire Hall Unit 4, 1937(Click on picture to see larger image.)
May 1937
  • Firemen became unionized and Local 510 of the International Association of Fire Fighters was formed.

1945
  • Chief John N. Smith retires. (February 1915 to August 1945)
  • Jack Becotte becomes Fire Chief. (August 1945 to June 1948)
  • World War Two ends with veterans returning to permanent status as firemen.
  • Three men from our department were killed in action in the two World Wars.

1948
  • Chief Jack Becotte retires. (August 1945 to June 1948)
  • Alfred Turner becomes Fire Chief. (June 1948 to April 1962)


Construction of new Fire Department, 1975.(Click on picture to see larger image.)
1962
  • Chief Alfred Turner retires. (June 1948 to April 1962)
  • George Slater becomes Fire Chief. (April 1962 to August 1981)


January 30, 1975
  • Work begins at 76 - 15th Street East, the site of the new Fire Department.
  • Total cost of Fire Hall construction is $630,000.








Last day in the old Fire Hall - November 19, 1975 (Click on picture to see larger image.)
November 19, 1975 - 10:23 a.m.
  • The last alarm was sounded from the Central Fire Hall and, as a symbolic gesture, the trucks responded to their new Hall with lights and sirens activated.

1981
  • Chief George Slater retires. (April 1962 to August 1981)
  • Jim Ellerman becomes Fire Chief. (August 1981 to April 1991)



Department receives 'Super Phone' in alarm room. March 31, 1983.(Click on picture to see larger image.)
March 31, 1983
  • The department receives a "Super Phone" in the alarm room that allows deaf persons to call for help.

1991
  • Chief Ellerman retires. (August 1981 to April 1991)
  • James Wilm becomes Fire Chief. (April 1991 to August 1992

1992
  • Chief James Wilm retires. (April 1991 to August 1992)
  • Brian Shand becomes Fire Chief. (January 1993 to June 2005)

1997
  • The fire department puts Engine 12 (2001 Superior F-One Cyclone pumper) into service.

2004
  • The department puts Engine 11 (2004 Superior pumper) into service.

2005
  • Chief Brian Shand retires. (January 1993 to June 2005)
  • Les Karpluk becomes Fire Chief. (June 2005 to present)

2008
  • The City of Prince Albert Bylaw #22 of 2008, Fire & Emergency Services Bylaw, is amended. Section 22 states that all rental properties must have an installed hardwired smoke alarm by the end of September 2009. As of March 31, 2010, all rental properties must have smoke alarms that are hardwired with a battery backup and hush feature.

January 2012
  • Ladder 16 (a 2012 Rosenbauer, 101-foot aerial platform) is put into service.

Photos courtesy of the Prince Albert Historical Society and the Prince Albert Daily Herald.
Historical dates and information taken in part from the book, "Prince Albert Fire Department - From Then to Now," written by Ross and Dori Jardine.

 Prince Albert Fire Department
76 - 15th Street East
Prince Albert, SK
S6V 1E8

Phone: (306) 953-4200
Fax: (306) 922-2272

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