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History

1905 – On August 18th, the Vancouver Province newspaper reports that two houses west of Burnaby Lake have been destroyed by a bush fire that was raging for several days. Homeowners in Burnaby are on their own for fire protection.

1911 – Burnaby’s first recorded move towards establishing fire protection is the purchase of 48 fire hydrants at $45 each.

1912 – Burnaby builds a pump house at Carleton Avenue and Eton Street for a total cost of $2,200. This pump station will supply water to a storage tank on Capitol Hill and becomes part of the Burnaby Fire Department’s history. 

Chief Constable W. Parkinson of the Burnaby Municipal Police is responsible for fire protection and purchases 200 feet of 1½ inch fire hose for $0.25 per foot on August 12th. This purchase is to protect the stables that house the Municipal Police horses at Hall Avenue and Kingsway.

1913 Burnaby Police. Added duties were for Fire Protection within Burnaby.  Seated 3rd from left – Chief Parkinson, Officer in Charge.

1913 – Burnaby’s Council meeting on April 14th recommends that no expenditures for fire fighting apparatus be made for the year.  Burnaby still relies on the Municipal Police for fire volunteers. New Westminster Fire Department provides fire fighting service for the Edmonds area of Burnaby, South Vancouver Fire Department provides fire fighting service for the Central park area and the Vancouver Fire Department provides fire fighting service for the Capitol Hill area. For attending to fires in Burnaby, these departments receive a letter of thanks and a $25 donation to their Firemen’s Benevolent Fund. This continues for many years.

1920-Chief Willam Devitt. In charge of fire volunteers within Burnaby until the 1930’s.

1918 – Chief Constable W. Parkinson dies of the Spanish Influenza and is replaced by Chief Constable Lyne, who is now in charge of fire protection and the volunteers.

1920 – Constable Lyne is replaced by Police Chief William Devitt, who is assigned to supervise the fire volunteers protecting Burnaby.

1925 – Bylaw No. 458 is passed April 5th to endorse fire protection in Ward 5 (North Burnaby) and to generate $5,000 to purchase a combination chemical and hose wagon fire truck. On April 20th an American LaFrance hose wagon is placed at the pump house at Carleton and Eton. This pump house becomes Fire Hall #1 and the operators, whose names are Ed Tugwood, Frank Noble, Tom Murphy, Robert Hansford and Bill Harris, are given additional duties as firefighters. Their first call is a bush fire at 4800 Hastings Street.

1926 – Bylaw No. 494 is passed February 27th to establish Fire District No. 2, encompassing the southern portion of Burnaby.  A 1923 Model T Ford combination hose and chemical truck is purchased. It is staffed under the direction of Chief Constable Devitt and the Municipal Police.

1925-Burnaby's 1st Fire Station. Situated at Carleton Ave. and Eton St.

1927 – Pump operator Tom Murphy transfers to the University of British Columbia Fire Department and is replaced by Gordon Waddell.

1928 – Burnaby submits Fire Bylaw No. 451, attempting to create a municipal Fire Department and to construct three new fire halls. The first reading before Council is March 28th, 1929. The bylaw does not receive a second reading and is withdrawn.

1929 – Burnaby’s first fire truck is replaced by a Packard 12 cylinder limousine converted by volunteer Bill Banks at his garage at Britton and Kingsway. He maintains the truck and drives it to emergencies for $3 a call.

1931 – The water pumps at Fire Station #1 are eliminated, retaining the pump operators as the Municipality’s first full time paid firefighters. A meeting on November 26th at Fire Station #1 is called to discuss forming a local of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).

1932 – On January 15th a second meeting is called and the IAFF 6th District Vice President, Captain MacDonald of the Vancouver Fire Department, addresses the Burnaby firefighters. On March 30th the first union meeting takes place and the 6th District Vice President presents the Charter officially forming the City Firefighters Union Local 323.  Frank Noble is elected as the first Union President and Gordon Waddell is elected to the position of First Secretary. Members include Fred Blake, Henry Chapman, Albert Killer, Ed Tugwood and Bill Harris. 

1935 – The Burnaby Fire Department is reorganized and the firefighters allow the International Charter to lapse.

Chief Constable Devitt retires and is relieved of his duties as Administrator of the volunteer firefighters. He is replaced by A.C. Bell, who becomes the Supervisor of the Fire Department.

1936 – On May 13th, Bill Banks becomes the firefighter in charge of Fire Area #2 South. His salary is $90 per month.  Burnaby remodels the Municipal horse stables at Kingsway and Hall and replaces the original Model T with a new converted Packard fire truck. South Burnaby Fire Department is increased to four firefighters and paid on the same basis as Fire Area #1 North. New members are Ernie Ledger, Rae Martell and Lewis Auvache.

1937 – The officers in charge, Gord Waddell (North) and William Banks (South), attend an annual school for firefighters.

1938 – On April 11th, Burnaby firefighters decide to re-affiliate with the IAFF and retain their Local 323 designation. They are known as the Burnaby Firefighters Association and continue to operate to this day.

1939-Combined North & South Fire Dept. Officers in charge Bill Banks (South), Gord Waddell (North) and their crews unite for a photo in front of the fire station at Hall Ave. and Kingsway.

1939 – Fire Supervisor A.C. Bell attempts to form a unified Municipal Fire Department by proposing that two new halls be built in the Edmonds and Lochdale districts. Although Council voted unanimously to erect the halls they were not built until the 1950’s. The first firefighter uniforms are purchased, as well as service coats, helmets and gas masks.

1941 – Fire supervisor A.C. Bell recommends first aid training to obtain certificates and requests first aid equipment to be purchased. He also recommends a 10% wage increase and uniforms to be issued yearly. On July 1st, due to ill health, A.C. Bell resigns and Gordon Waddell is appointed Chief of the Fire Department, with William Banks as Deputy Chief.

1942 – Bill Banks and the Fire Station #2 firefighters are called upon to build a 1942 Ford V8 chassis into Burnaby’s first closed cab fire truck. Council abolishes the office of Fire Chief and reassigns Chief Waddell to Chief of #1 area north and Deputy Chief Banks to Chief of #2 area south. The dividing line is the Great Northern Railway tracks at Still Creek.

1943 – The need to restructure Burnaby’s fire service and to unite both the North and South districts is achieved when Bylaw No. 1916 (cited as the Burnaby Fire Department Bylaw of 1943) passes on September 27th.  Councillor Gary Lan recommends the appointment of one Fire Chief for the Municipality, and applications for the position of Fire Chief are received up to November 22nd. Both Waddell and Banks apply for the position.

1944-1st Fire Chief Gord Waddell

1944 – On January 1st, Gordon Waddell becomes the first Fire Chief of the newly unified Burnaby Fire Department. Bill Banks is appointed Deputy Fire Chief. On November 6th, fire fighter Cecil MacDonald is promoted to Fire Warden.  He is responsible for inspections and installations of oil burners and gasoline storage tanks.

1945 – Chief Waddell’s annual report requesting a new fire hall at Willingdon and Hastings is rejected, along with the request of hiring additional firefighters.  Both Chief Waddell and Chief Banks are appointed as fire prevention officers.  Council agrees to have a telephone installed at Fire Station #2.  Burnaby Lions Club donates the first inhalator (oxygen therapy) unit.

1946 – A Provincial Government order requires Burnaby to hire six additional firefighters. On October 9th Council approves a new fire hall to be built at Willingdon and Hastings. The $28,000 contract is awarded to Bennett & White contractors.

1947-New Fire Station #1. Official opening of the new Burnaby Fire Station #1 at Willingdon Ave. & Hastings St.  (Sept. 18, 1947)

1947 – Burnaby’s new Fire Station #1 is complete on September 18th. Captain Menzies and his crew move from the Carleton and Eton location into the new quarters.

1948 – Chief Waddell recommends a fire department mechanic, two way radios for both stations and telephones. In June, Ted Barnett becomes Burnaby’s first paid Mechanic/Firefighter.

1949 – Bill Banks is appointed as the first Chief of Fire Prevention. Basil Pontifex is assigned as an Assistant. Chief Banks recommends hiring two inspectors and one clerk stenographer. In April, Chief Waddell appoints Fred Blake as Drill Instructor.

1951 – Construction of Fire Station #3, at a cost of $15,000, begins next to Lobely Park at Marlborough and Bennett.

 History - Fire Station #3

1952 – Fred Blake is promoted to District Chief in charge of Training. Fire Station #3 is completed in December. Eleven additional firefighters are hired.

1953 – Council approves the construction of a new Fire Station #2 on Edmonds Street.

1954 – On October 2nd, Fire Station #2 is completed at a cost of approximately $27,000. On November 18th, Burnaby’s first Fire Chief Gordon Waddell retires. William Menzies is promoted to Fire Chief and Lewis Auvache to Deputy Fire Chief.

 History - Fire Station #2

1955 – Burnaby’s population grows to 80,000 residents and the Fire Department responds to 835 calls. Training increases and first aid is taught on a regular basis. On December 19th Council authorizes the construction of Fire Station #4 on Duthie Avenue.  The final cost is $26,117 and this building remains an active fire station to this day.

1956 – Fire Station #4 is officially opened on June 14th by Ed Tugwood, Burnaby’s oldest living firefighter, at a cost of $26,117. Twelve new firefighters are hired to work the station. South Burnaby Kinsmen Club President Bill Gillis presents a $500 resuscitator to Fire Station #4. Chief Menzies promotes inspections of all public buildings, Burnaby’s first step toward pre-fire planning. Jim Etches is hired, becoming Burnaby Fire Department’s first full time Mechanic.

History - Fire Station #4

1957 – Fire Prevention Chief Bill Banks retires. Captain Henry Chapman is promoted to Fire Prevention Chief.

1958 – Fire Prevention Chief Chapman reorganizes the fire prevention division by increasing staff, offering a home inspection program and providing public education. Burnaby is awarded first place in the 1958 National Fire Protection Association contest.

1964 – Fire Chief Menzies retires. Deputy Chief L. Auvache is promoted to Fire Chief.  An Officer Training manual is written. Telephone communications is upgraded and Burnaby’s fire alarm number becomes Lakeview 1-2211. Radio communications is overhauled and upgraded. Senior Mechanic Jim Etches implements a vehicle replacement program.

1967 – On April 12th, the Municipality reports that a site has been selected for Burnaby’s fifth (5th) Fire Station at Sperling Avenue and Canada Way. This would become the new Burnaby Fire Station #1.

1969 – On June 26th Council approves construction of Fire Station #1, at an estimated cost of $331,575.

1971 – On June 22nd Fire Station #1 is opened at 4867 Sperling Avenue.  Fire Prevention Chief Chapman retires and is replaced by Stan Wilson.

1972 – Council approves construction of Fire Station #6 at Brighton Avenue and Winston Street in February, for a cost of $99,444. Seventeen firefighters are hired. On February 29th, Chief Auvache retires. Deputy Chief Collum is promoted to Fire Chief. Senior Mechanic Barry Howard begins to systematically replace all gas powered engines with diesel engines. Air brake endorsement is required and several senior members become certified instructors to train other department members.

1976 – Fire Chief Collum retires in March. Deputy Chief Buckley assumes the duties of the Fire Chief as the Municipality announces a competition for the Fire Chief position. Thomas Nairn, a Yukon Territory Fire Marshal, is appointed as Burnaby’s Director of Fire Services in July. Acting Fire Chief Buckley is appointed Director of Fire Operations. In August, Union President Bill Copeland files a grievance with the Labour Relations Board charging that Council violated the Collective Agreement. The Labour Relations Board rules in favour of the Municipality, causing firefighters to sign a non confidence petition in October.

1977 – In January, three Assistant Fire Chiefs (Basil Pontifex, Bud Morrison and Harry Anderson) are terminated for not pledging allegiance to Director of Fire Services Nairn. After five days of hearings at the Labour Relations Board, the three Assistant Fire Chiefs are rehired after recognizing Thomas Nairn as the Director of Fire Services for Burnaby. Director of Fire Operations Thomas Buckley resigns and Captain Harry Brown is promoted to the position.

1979 – As a result of the 1977 confrontation the Firefighters' Union, led by Bill Copeland, and Municipal Manager Melvin Shelley agree to establish a Senior Management Training Program. Members selected for the program attend BCIT and other institutions for certification in Business Administration and Management. 

1982 – From June of 1982 to January of 1986 Council invokes a hiring freeze for the Department. The recession delays a seventh fire hall and services are withdrawn to save money. Restraint remains a major factor affecting hiring and capital expenditures during the 1980’s and 1990’s, although the communications centre is upgraded.

1985 – In January Thomas Nairn retires and Deputy Chief Harry Brown is appointed to lead the Department with the title of Fire Chief.  Captain Hugh Maginnis is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Operations and Captain Howie Hill is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Administration. Deputy Fire Chief Maginnis is the first department member to go through the new succession planning process and graduate from BCIT. 

1987 – In August Chief Brown and Deputy Chief Hill retire, Deputy Chief Maginnis is promoted to Fire Chief. Captain Al Nixon is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Operations and Captain Warren Hunt to Deputy Fire Chief Administration.

1989 – A Public Education Program is created and Firefighter Bill Grindlay is promoted to the new Captains position.  This position is phased out in the mid 1990's. 

1991 - In August Chief Maginnis retires.  Deputy Fire Chief Nixon is promoted to Fire Chief and Captain Wayne Brassington is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Operations.

1993 – January 31st, Chief Nixon retires, Deputy Chief Wayne Brassington is promoted to Fire Chief and Captain Vic Harris to Deputy Fire Chief Operations. Upgrading new responsibilities for the traditional roles of firefighting takes place. Medical delivery, fire safety education, marine fire protection, high angle rescue, hazardous material response and first responder programs are developed. In October, Burnaby and Port Moody jointly share Fire Boat 3 in a fire boat program involving Vancouver, North Vancouver District and North Vancouver City. Roy Davies, John Love, Garth Mayes, Rick Collins and Dave Wolfe become Burnaby’s first fire boat instructors.

Fireboat 3 Rope Rescue
1993 - Fireboat #3 1994 - Technical Rescue Team

1995 – Hazardous Material Response Team is developed and an awareness program is taught to fire crews. The new Fire Station #3 is officially opened on January 31st.  It is a three bay station built to post-disaster standards, and all stations built since (#2, #5 and #7) are similarly constructed.

Training - Hazardous Materials

1997 – The communications centre is expanded and upgraded to the latest technology with the installation of a Computer Aided Dispatch system.

Fire - Communication Centre

1999 – In April, Chief Wayne Brassington and Deputy Fire Chief Harris retire. Deputy Chief John Stewart is promoted to Fire Chief. Captain Al Eichler is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Administration and Lieutenant Doug Penn is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief Operations. Plans for a new Fire Station #5 are approved.

2001 – The new Fire Station #5 opens in February at 4211 Hastings Street. September 11th, terrorists attack the Twin Towers in New York City. 343 New York firefighters die in the line of duty. Over 150 Burnaby Firefighters will travel to New York City over the next year to attend funerals and special events dedicated to the memory of this tragedy. 

2002 – Plans are approved for replacing Fire Station #2 on Edmonds Street.

2003 – The Burnaby Fire Department is awarded the contract to host the 2009 World Police and Fire Games after Burnaby firefighters Jeff Clark and Miles Ritchie began the lobbying process in 2002. In July, three engines and their crews are sent to assist Kelowna Fire Department with wild land fires in the Kamloops and Kelowna areas. Deputy Fire Chief Eichler retires and Staff Officer Bob Cook is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.

2004 – Crews move into the new Fire Station #2. Deputy Fire Chief Penn retires, Staff Officer Dave Duck is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.

2005 – Architects are retained to design a new energy efficient Fire Station #7 at Gilmore and Canada Way.

2006 - An internal restructure approved by management and Local 323 sees the Department add a Safety Officer/Shift Trainer for each shift, and reclassifies the positions of Chief Training Officer and Chief Fire Prevention Officer.  A new position of Assistant Fire Chief Administration, overseeing the Training and Fire Prevention Divisions, is created. Chief Training Officer Barry Bate is promoted to the new position.

2007 - In August, Fire Chief John Stewart retires and Deputy Fire Chief Bob Cook becomes Fire Chief.  Staff Officer Shaun Redmond is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief and Doug McDonald to Staff Officer.  Captain Tom Foreman is promoted to Assistant Fire Chief Administration when Barry Bate retires. 

2009 – The Burnaby Fire Department hosts the 2009 World Police and Fire Games from July 31st – August 9th.  The games produced a record number of athletes from 56 countries and are deemed the best organized games by the Games Federation President.  Station #7 officially opens on September 1st.  Deputy Fire Chief Dave Duck retires and Staff Officer Doug McDonald is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.  Captain Ron Barker is promoted to Staff Officer.

2011 - Deputy Fire Chief Shaun Redmond is promoted to Fire Chief when Bob Cook retires in July.  Staff Officer Ron Barker is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.

2012 - The Chief Training and Chief Fire Prevention positions are re-created during a managerial reorganization.  Assistant Fire Chief Administration Tom Foreman retires and Steve Howes is promoted to Chief Training Officer.  Assistant Chief Fire Prevention Officer Dan Kilpatrick is promoted to Chief Fire Prevention Officer.  Captain Joe Robertson is promoted to Staff Officer.

2013 – Members of the Department travel to High River, Alberta to assist civilians who have been displaced by a major flood.  A Mentorship Program is developed which provides consistent and constant oversight of new recruits during their first year.  Fire Chief Shaun Redmond retires and Deputy Fire Chief Doug McDonald is promoted to Fire Chief.  Staff Officer Joe Robertson is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief and Lieutenant Chris Bowcock is promoted to Staff Officer.  Chief Mechanic Alan Gray retires.

2014 –Staff Officer Chris Bowcock is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.  Chief Training Officer Steve Howes retires.  Mechanic Karl Lackner is promoted to Chief Mechanic.  

2015 – Members of the Department travel to Nepal to provide assistance after a devastating earthquake.  The Department establishes a Rescue Task Force program to support vehicle extrication and Special Operations incidents.  Rick Finlay is promoted to Assistant Chief Training Officer.   Lieutenant Darcey O’Riordan is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.

Nepal 2015-

2016 – Due to advances in fire science, more is known about the dangers of air-borne chemicals which are present following a fire and the negative health effects this can have on the public and firefighters.  As a result, the Department becomes a leader among its regional counterparts by instituting an AQI (air quality indexing) Program.   Fire Chief Doug McDonald retires.  Deputy Fire Chief Joe Robertson is promoted to Fire Chief.  Captain Dave Samson is promoted to Deputy Fire Chief. 

Present Day – The Burnaby Fire Department has grown to 286 personnel which encompasses the Administration, Training, Fire Prevention, Mechanical and Fire Suppression Divisions. We proudly serve the people who live and work or otherwise spend their time in Burnaby.

Equipment - with Crew

 

 
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