History of Reserve Mines Volunteer Fire Department

Established 1934

To cover in a few words the history of an organization for a period of eighty-three years, is almost impossible. We are bound to leave out events and omit names which should be included. We have tried to touch upon the highlights of the Reserve Mines Fire Department since its inception on April 21st, 1934.

 

When the community of Reserve Mines was ravaged by the fire which destroyed Gordon United Church Hall, A.D. Munroe's combined barbershop and dwelling, the village jail and the caretaker's quarters, it became evident that there was an absolute necessity for establishing some sort of a firefighting organization.

 

Taking an active part in organizing the Reserve Mines Fire Department were two well-known local citizens, who have both since passed away. They were V.E. Bert, the well-known community leader and garage man, and Michael MacLeod, the then Councillor of the district. These men called a meeting of the elite citizens of Reserve Mines to deal with this pressing problem. The gathering was held in the old A.O.H. Hall which for many years was a landmark in the community. It was situated at Lorway Corner but was torn down to make way for a service station.

 

At the meeting, a Citizen's Committee was appointed, charged with the organization of a volunteer fire department. The original members of that committee consisted of the late Mr. Bert, J.T. McLeod, William Gouthro, D.M. McMillan and Joseph Blanchard, popularly known as Joe Blanche.

 

The Reserve Mines Fire Department was formed April 21st, 1934. The first slate of officers of the Department were elected as follows: Honorary Chief, Councillor Michael McLeod; Executive Chief, V.E. Bert; Chief, Fred Bert; Deputy Chief, Raymond Gallant; Secretary, Louis Cohen; Treasurer, W.R. Munroe. The Executive Members consisted of the following: Raymond Gallant, William R. Munroe, Sam Gouthro, Rod Walker, Art McKenzie and Dan McPhee. It is interesting to note that the Chief, Deputy Chief and Treasurer held their offices continuously during the first twenty-five years. The same is true of the Executive Members, Sam Gouthro and Rod Walker.

 

The Department held it's early meetings in the A.O.H. Hall and permission was granted by the Dominion Coal Company to use the Company's fire hose and hand reels.

 

The year 1936 was an important year in the history of the fire department. It was in that year that the fire station, located at the corner of Rear Main Street and Main Street, was erected through the untiring efforts of the Citizens’ Committee and the Fire Department, spearheaded by the then Councillor, the late Alex Campbell. This building contained the engine room, the fireman’s meeting hall, the jail, and quarters for caretaker of the building. Looking after the 1936 engine was Rod F. MacDonald, who was succeeded by Michael MacDonald who, years later, was to give great distinction to the Fire Department by being elected to the legislature of Nova Scotia. During the same year, 1936, uniforms were procured for the firemen and the costs for the same were met for the most part by the members themselves. It might be mentioned here that in 1948 new uniforms were purchased and the costs for the same were shared jointly by the Department and the members.

 

In 1944, accident insurance was purchased to cover all members. The premiums for this insurance coverage were paid by the individual firemen.

 

In 1956, a new fire engine was procured and was named “The Rod A. Campbell” in honor of Mr. Rod A. Campbell who was then Councillor of the District. The Captain of Engine Company and caretaker of the engine was Donald Stewart.

 

In the beginning of the Department’s existence, it was necessary to appeal to the citizens of Reserve Mines and nearby areas for financial assistance. Deductions were made for this purpose through the Dominion Coal Company’s pay office, however, in the mid 50’s, the finances required to maintain the engines and to purchase modern equipment were raised by the Department itself. This was done through such events such as: yearly social functions which were called “At Homes”, fall fairs, card games, social evenings, managing of a skating rink, boxing tournaments, amateur shows, etc.

 

The history of the Department would not be complete if we did not mention the wonderful and experienced help and advice given to us by George Alexander, who was the fire chief at the RCAF Station at Reserve Mines during the war. Mr. Alexander spared no effort to give to our members the benefit of his great experience. In 1945, the Department presented Mr. Alexander and his wife with a gold watch and silver tray at a banquet attended by the firemen.

 

The Department has maintained an exceptionally excellent relationship with the fire departments of Glace Bay and Dominion. In the early days of our existence the Department was given valuable instruction by the late Godfrey Gibson and the late John Murphy, at that time Chief and Deputy Chief of the Glace Bay Fire Department. Stanley Scott, another Chief of the Glace Bay Fire Department, had on numerous occasions given the benefit of his training and experience in firefighting and in draeger rescue work.

 

It might be fitting at this moment to pay a truly deserved tribute to the communities of Reserve Mines and Gardiner Mines for its wholehearted assistance at all times.

 

Our thoughts, of course, always go back to those men of our Department who have passed away and whose memory we honor. Below is a list of all members who have served time in the Reserve Mines Fire Department. Some are deceased, and some are no longer able to fulfil their duty to the organization. Regardless, we thank them all for the time they devoted to the communities of Reserve Mines and Gardiner Mines:

Aucoin, Blaine

Aucoin, Byron

Aucoin, Derrick

Aucoin, Francis

Aucoin, Jeff

Beaton, Clarence

Bert, Cotter

Bert, Fred

Bert, H.D.

Bert, Lloyd

Bert, V.E.

Borgal, Nelson

Brezuk, Gary

Bryden, Kevin

Budden, Lorne

Burns, Patrick

Burte, James

Cameron, James

Cameron, Vince

Campbell, Dan

Campbell, Michael

Campbell, Ron

Campbell, Steve

Carabin, Craig

Caume, Blair

Caume, Eric

Chaisson, John J.

Chaisson, Wayne

Chapdelaine, Sam

Chapdelaine, Wayne

Clarke, Blair

Cohen, Louis

Connors, Dan

Corbell, Ivan

Crane, Gerald

Currie, Allister

Cusack, Ed

Daye, Albert

Dean, Steven

Dedieu, Bernie

Detchevery, Louis

Doucette, Peter

Doucette, Phillip

Dunlop, Calvin

Edwards, David

Ellsworth, Basil

Ellsworth, Wallace

Fagan, Peter

Farrow, Aubrey

Finlayson, Art

Finlayson, Gerald

Forsey, Jim

Frison, Desire

Gallant, Ray

Gallant, William

Gardiner, Pat

Gilmet, Calvin

Gouthro, Brennan

Gouthro, Elma

Gouthro, Greg

Gouthro, Maurice

Gouthro, Reginald

Gouthro, Sam

Gouthro, Sheldon

Hachie, William

Haighway, Ben

Hall, Vince

Harte, John

Hennessy, Michael

Hill, Allan

Hill, Darren

Hinchey, Ricky

Hooper, David

Howley, James

Howley, John

Jacques, Allan

Johnson, George

Kelly, Ken

Kelly, Ron

King, Darrell

King, George

King, Ryan

Kressner, Fred

Lakin, Tim

Leblanc, Gordon

Lewis, Glen

Lewis, Worrell

Ley, Carl

Ling, Adam

Livingstone, John

Livingstone, Ray

Lynk, Stan

Lynk, Stephen

MacArthur, Paul

MacDonald, Anthony

MacDonald, Bill

MacDonald, Ed

MacDonald, J.R.

MacDonald, John

MacDonald, Louis

MacDonald, Malcolm

McDonald, Rod

MacDonald, Tyler

MacDonald, William

MacDougall, Kevin

MacEachern, Alex

MacGillvary, John

MacKenzie, Ken

MacKenzie, William

Mackie, Sheila

Mackie, Stephen

MacLean, William

MacNamara, Derrick

MacNamara, John

MacNeil, Craig

McNeil, Ernest

MacNeil, Kerry

MacNeil, Kevin

MacNeil, Phillip

MacNeil, Roy

MacNeil, Wilfred

MacPhee, Kyle

MacPherson, Matthew

Matheson, Forbes

Matthews, Greg

McDermid, William

McDonald, Gordon

McDonald, Michael

McDonald, Scott

McGillivary, Cyril

McGillivary, Greg

McIntyre, Brian

McIntyre, Fred

McIntyre, John

McIntyre, Peter

McIntyre, William

McKeigan, Carl

McKeigan, George

McKenzie, Arthur

McKenzie, Clarence

McKenzie, Dalton

McKenzie, Harry

McLean, Arch

McLean, Rod

McLean, William

McLean, Winky

McLeod, Alex

McLeod, Francis

McMullin, Alan

McMullin, Dan

McMullin, Dan

McMullin, John

McMullin, William

McNeil, Alex

McNeil, Blair

McNeil, Chad

McNeil, Dan

McNeil, George

McNeil, Hector

McNeil, John

McNeil, Jordan

McNeil, Leo

McNeil, Reginald

McNeil, Ted

McNeil, Theodore

McNeil, Vincent

McNeil, Wilfred

McPhee, Dan

McPhee, Kevin

McPhee, Sean

Metcalfe, Steve

Metcalfe, William

Momborquette, Joe

Morrison, Charlie

Morrison, Dan

Mullins, Sheldon

Munroe, John

Munroe, William

Murphy, Burton Jr.

Murphy, Joe

Musial, Theo

Nicholson, Jim

Nicholson, Keith

Nicholson, Rannie

Nolan, John Michael

O'Brien, Gary

Oliver, Brad

Oliver, Brian

Oliver, Cyril

Oliver, Dwight

Oliver, Kirk

Oliver, Matthew

Parsons, Martin

Perry, Simon

Polegatto, Gerard

Pond, Greg

Pyke, Keith

Rennie, Joe

Rennie, Kirk

Roach, Curtis

Roach, Leo

Roach, Norman

Roach, Omar

Roach, Terry

Romard, Chuck

Romard, Stephen

Ross, Ernest

Ross, Glen

Ross, Robert

Rouselle, Mario

Ryan, Patrick

Scott, Fritz

Shibinette, Derrick

Shibinette, Steven

Sinclair, Brian

Smitts, Peter

Snow, Herbie

Spinney, Jennifer

Steele, Hector

Steele, John

Steele, Michael

Stewart, Donald

Stewart, Donald Jr.

Stewart, John

Strong, Bruce

Stubbard, Erville

Stubbard, Sheldon

Stubbard, Steven

Summerell, Jack

Symms, Phillip

Timmons, Danial

Tracey, Craig

Tracey, Garett

Wadden, Gary

Wadden, Harold

Waidson, Ken

Waidson, Shaun

Walker, Dan

Walker, Ed

Walker, Ed Jr.

Walker, Larry

Walker, Richard

Walker, Rod

Ward, William

White, Alex

Willett, Joe

Wilton, Floyd

Windsor, Mel

Yates, Kevin