From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

From The Scrap Book

May 18, 1990

By. Dr. Bill Randall

Harvey Fire Department

T. K. Craig went into the hospital last week to correct visual problems. Kay is ninety three years old. It is hoped that he will be able to come back and see the new truck and the new concept of Emergency Service which is provided by the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department. As Kay and I were walking about the Fire Station recently he said “I think Harvey has the best Volunteer Fire Department in New Brunswick”. One thing is certain, T.K. has made a vital contribution to its growth and development.

It all started when Kay bought a used truck from Israel Goodine and fitted it out as a tank truck. Now, they will have three tank trucks: the one based in Brockway, the new one, recently purchased, and one of the other two now in current use at the Fire Station. The retired (second) truck at the station will be converted to a rescue truck. It will carry the Jaws of Life, a foam tank, a portable generator for spot lights and other needed equipment such as saws, pinch bars, fire axes, Scott Air Pack, pressure tanks, masks and a miscellany of emergency equipment. This truck will be primarily used for responding to highway vehicle accidents.

Local machinists, in fact members of the Fire Brigade, will do the necessary renovations, as they have already renovated and adapted other trucks. Most of us remember Kay tinkering with and improving the fire equipment’s’ effectiveness.

There are between 30 and 35 members in the Brigade with the present chief being Ronnie Messer. Orlie MacLean succeeded T. K. as chief who had taken over from Hartley McGee and so since 1944 there have been only four Chiefs. Carl Byers served the Brigade for many years as Treasurer.

When you ring 366- 2101 the call sounds on six different phones. With the record of efficiency the Harvey Fire Department has achieved we ought to be able to sleep more confidently and peacefully.

The Fire department owns the present building where their equipment is stored. They lease the Gas Bar and Convenience Store which is open sixteen hours a day and assures the public that at least one Fire Department member will be on hand for emergencies.

It might be interesting for you to look back with me at some of the history of what is today the Harvey Fire Department. Through the courtesy of Austin Moffitt I have had access to a Minute Book covering meetings from Nov. 1944 to Mar. 1967.

During the Second World War in most Canadian communities there was a Civilian Defense Corps.(CDC) organized to deal with wartime emergencies. Some of that equipment was located in Harvey and after the war a re quest was made by the Harvey Improvement Association Ltd., to allow fire-fighting equipment to remain in the area. Mind you, there wasn’t a lot of equipment. 2 Wajax Pumps; 1000 feet of hose; one Siamese Connection; 12 feet of suction hose; and 2 nozzles. On November 13, 1944 a special meeting was called to form a local fire brigade “that we organ ize our fire brigade under the Province of New Brunswick Fire Prevention Act with the under standing that the local stationary equipment located at Harvey Station be left at that point and that we petition the county council to agree to this request.” The motion was carried. At that time, there were nine Fire Wards elected for nine districts. Dave Cloe for Acton, Maurice Lister for School District #2, Sterling Little for Coburn (Little Settle ment), James Kingston, for Wilmont (Thomaston Corner), Arthur Cleghorn for South Tweedside, Harry Swan for Harvey Station, Austin Moffitt for Manners Sutton, Howard Little for York Mills and Earl Swan for Tweedside.

The Harvey Fire Wards elected as their first chairman, Maurice Lister and regular meetings were held thereafter. They elected Hartley McGee as Fire Chief and Willis Moffitt and T.K Craig as Fire Captains while R.V. Dorcas was appointed Deputy Fire Chief.

The equipment of the Harvey Volunteer Fire Brigade was to be stored under the protection of T. K. Craig and the Fire Captain’s (Willis and Kay) were to be remunerated for time spent at semi monthly checks of equipment at the rate of $1.00 per hour. With the equipment from the C.D.0 and equipment purchased from War Assets Corporation in April of 1945, an inventory of equipment showed the following: 1 wajax pump, 300 feet of hose, 2 lengths of intake hose, 1 truck with all attachments, 10 rubber coats, 10 pairs of rubber boots, 30 stirrup pumps, ladders, 2 stretchers, 1 tarpaulin, 4 blankets, 1 first aid box, 2 first aid Haversacks, 6 first aid pouches, 1 “Y” Connection, and 2 coupling wrenches. The fire Wards at this meeting in April of ’45 moved to borrow $600.00 from the bank for payment of equipment and expenses. Much of the concern of the Fire Wards was directed toward raising money to improve their fire- fighting equipment.

Some of this money was raised by entertainment events such as box socials and dances and it is interesting to note that in 1945 a social was to be held in the Taylor Hall and that price of tickets would be 30 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. Later, financing involved a form of taxation imposed by the local councilors with annual assessments ranging from $600 to  $1500 dollars.

The drama of the actual fire- fighting is not easy to retell, but T.K. Craig, who became the second Fire Chief and continued in that position for thirty years, has an excellent collection of pictures taken at fire scenes including one in which my family was greatly involved.

In the minutes of February 11, 1964, the fire chief’s report was given – 24 calls: saved three houses and lost one barn. That was the barn at the Manse which terminated my dog raising enter prise (forty died in the fire) and also dispersed our pony raising enterprise – the twelve ponies escaped from the barn. The picture shows the badly burned southern end of the Manse. Be fore the fire department arrived the fire had ignited my son Billy’s bed clothes as well as the New Testament at the head of his bed. Our family, because, of Carol’s physical disabilities had established a family fire drill and because of that it was possible to save the house; and evacuate onto the front lawn most of our valuables.

I describe my personal experience with the Fire Department because I know so many other benefactors of their service feel the same gratitude. When you see the “boys” out in the middle of the night in snow or rain or ice or at grass fires, clothes soaked with water, faces blackened with soot and grime, risking their very lives to save your property it commands a deep respect for our Fire Department which for so many years has been faith fully served and expertly man aged by the Fire Wards.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest: