The Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department

History of Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department


In 1952 then Mayor G. A. Myers made inquiries about obtaining surplus firefighting equipment from the City of St. John's and Municipal Affairs. He was advised there was no surplus equipment available.

In April 1953 Mayor Myers requested that Municipal Affairs do a study to determine what Clarenville needed in fire protection equipment. L. Strange, Chief of Police and Fire Departments. visited Clarenville and recommended to Municipal Affairs: 1 commercial triple combination 500 gallon pumper with 400 gallon booster tank; 2 booster reels with 200 feet of booster hose; 14 foot foof ladder; 24 foot extension ladder; 30 foot extension ladder; 1000 feet 2.5 inch hose; 1000 feet 1.5 inch hose plus a 500gal per minute portable pump.

In 1955 Clarenville purchased for $900. a 1943 International Crash Truck from Dept of Supply. The truck was in dilapidated condition and St. John's Fire Chief advised it was not suitable for Clarenville as it had a very small pump (not working) and was a foam truck. He recommended that the Town stick to his 1953 recommendation. That truck was later converted to a dump truck and collected garbage in the town for several years.

With the incorporation of the town in 1956 the quest for proper firefighting equipment began in earnest. Their were at least two early approaches made to the Provincial Government for help. They were asked for help in securing some surplus equipment from the American base in St. John's. Major Peter Cashin, Newfoundland's Cold War defender, was approached about a civil defense pumper for Clarenville. This appeal was based on the fact that the cable station, through which the NATO hot line ran, was a legitimate military target. Nothing appears to have come from either of these request.

In the 1950's a battered fire truck was obtained from the US base in Argentia but was in such bad shape that the Provincial Fire Commissioner said it was not worth the money it would take to repair it. It was turned into a dump truck instead. In 1957, the shipyard gave the town a portable pump on a sort of permanent loan.

In 1957 the council allocated $3,000 for the purchase of more equipment and a trailer to carry it all on.

The real birth of the Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department happened in 1961 at a ceremony in the Balmoral Hotel. Twenty five men from the community volunteered their services to join the new force and Hazen Clouter was chosen as the first chief.

1961 Chevrolet Pumper Truck
Source: Clarenville Fire Department
In 1961 Mayor Phillip Stanley and Council were successful in obtaining 50 of the cost to purchase the fire truck. The truck was a new Chevrolet 625 American Lafrance triple combination pumper.

During the first days the fire truck was stored in the garage of Mr. Phillip Stanley gas/service station on the main road. Later a prefabricated metal shed from the Gander base was erected on the corner of what in now Marine Drive and Balsom Street.

In 1963 ESSO accepted a dollar as payment for a tanker truck which was taken to the Trades School for the necessary modifications so that this truck could follow the pumper  to the fire in case more water was needed.

The first Fire Hall, a used Butler building was purchased and erected on the comer of Marine Drive and Balsom Street. This building had space for only one vehicle, which had to be put outside to hold meetings.

First Fire Hall comer of Marine Drive and Balsom Street
Source: Clarenville Fire Department

In 1965, the shipyard installed some hydrants in its yard, with 1000 feet of hose you could reach some of the nearby homes and businesses.

A big wither fire at Duffitt's on Marine Dive showed soon limitations of the new service. The men had no breathing apparatus or even proper clothing. So in 1965 two Scott Air Packs, with spare tanks, were purchased to replace the Chemox cannisters.

After much discussion with other fire departments and the Fire Commissioner whether to have sirens to alert firemen of fires. It was decided Clarenville was too spread out and hilly for sirens. Chief Elliott and CNT (Telephone Co.) came up with a phone system whereby all firemen could be alerted of fires at the same time. The system was operated be Eastern Telegram Co which had 24 hr. coverage. This system is still in use today and operated by Fewer's Funeral & Ambulance Service. In 1976 the trucks were equipped with Radio communication and a pager system, used in conjunction with the telephone system. This is also used today.

Cleaning to Clarenville Fire Truck in 1967
Source: Lloyd Currie
In 1967, a 500 GPM REO Army Pumper was purchased from the USAF Pepperal Base.

In 1968 the Provincial Government supplied the town with an Ambulance which was operated by the Fire Department. It was retired in 1972 after a private ambulance business was started in the area. The vehicle continued to be used by the Fire Department as an equipment van until a cube van was purchased in 1977.

In 1970 the Town built a new municipal building housing the Town Office, Fire Hall and Library.

In 1971 a 625 GPM Ford Thibeault Pumper was purchased at a cost of $23,426.00

In 1974 after the failure of the Reo tanker the Town of Shoal Harbour bought a new 500 GPM Pumper with a 2000 gal .tank. At this time five new members were recruited from Shoal Harbour. The truck was housed at the Clarenville Fire Hall.

In 1977 the Fire Department and the Clarenville Lions Club raised $10,000 to purchase a Chevrolet cube van for turn-out gear and emergency equipment to accompany the Fire trucks.

In 1981 an extension to the Municipal building gave more room to the Fire Hall and a meeting room.

In 1983 Clarenville, with the Province's help, purchased a compressor for the filling of the Scott Air Tanks for Clarenville and other area fire departments.

Clarenville Fire Dept was the first to have a complete
set of Bunker Suits in Newfoundland.
Source: Lloyd Currie
In 1984 a cube van was purchased for emergency equipment and command center, replacing the Suburban.

In 1986 Clarenville purchased an 840 GPM Pumper.

In 1993 Clarenville Fire Department raised money through Bingo and bought a 1992 Chevrolet pick-up.

In 1999 an 840 GPM Crew-cab Pumper with automatic foam system was added to the Department.

In 2009 The Provincial Government supplied the Fire Dept. with a Hazmat trailer. Also in 2009 the 1992 Chevrolet pick-up was replaced with a crew-cab Ford pick-up.

In 2011 Hebron donated a HoverCraft for rescue work.

Courtesy: Journey Through Time - Clarenville, Hub of the East Coast ©
And Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Clarenville Fire Dept 2011

Source: Clarenville Fire Department

 

Past Fire Chiefs of Clarenville Fire Department

Hazen Clouter
Sept. 1961 - Oct. 1962
Wendell Forward
Jan. 1978 - Apr. 1993
Ed Lowe
Nov. 1962 - May 1963
Bruce Strong
Apr. 1993 - Nov. 1999
Ross Elliott
May 1963 - Feb. 1968
Robin Rodway
Nov. 1999 - Apr. 2000
Lloyd Currie
Mar. 1968 - Jan. 1972
Bob Harnum
Apr. 2000 - June 2000
Len Franson
Feb. 1972 - Jan 1973
Tony Rose
June 2000 - Jan 2008
Lloyd Currie
Feb. 1973 - Dec. 1978
Robin Rodway
Jan. 2008 - Mar 2009
Bruce Strong
Jan. 1978 - Apr. 1992
Cory Feltham
Mar 2008 -

Courtesy: Clarenville Fire Department Website