THE MARMORA VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Marmora Herald May 15, 1906
"Marmora now has full equip- ment of fire pails, ladders, ropes, axes etc. which are stored at MacKechnie's barn. IN CASE OF FIRE, REMEMBER THAT PLACE!"
Marmora Herald, May 24, 1914
Last year the total loss from fire amounted to $35,000.00 and in the recent fire the following places were destroyed: Wm Flynn's residence, liquor store, stables and sheds; Pringle block including Donnelly's Barber shop and Pool room; Dr. Jones drug store, Bell Telephone office; Herald Office was damaged by water, Mrs. McWilliams millinery shop; John McCracken's residence and stable, Gladney's store suffered heat and water.
Marmora Herald April 29, 1915
The Village Council has purchased two 60 gallon chemical engines with complete attachments to be delivered in two weeks. This is the first step in the installation of fire protection.
May, 1915 -Set up of Fire Brigade
Chief - Frank Newton Marett Deputy Chief - Alph. ShannonCaptain - John Laird
Marmora Herald Jan. 27, 1921
Early Tuesday morning, B.C. Hubbell's new block and the large frame residence just south of it, belonging to Thomas R. Warren, were destroyed by fire. The Warren residence was occupied by three families who got practically all their household effects out, although a lot was considerably damaged.
Marmora Fire Chief, Jim Gordanier, Dep. Chief Cecil Neal 1948
Burning truck of Clayton Smith May 7, 1972, Cecil Neal
NEW FIRE HALL 1949
Fire equipment leaves the Memorial Building to make room for an expanded post office
JOIN MARMORA'S VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE
Last spring a public meeting was called to organize a volunteer Fire Brigade for our village. At that time a tentative Fire Brigade was set up. Since then our Village Council has made several decided improvements and additions to our fire fighting equipment with the purchase of a new pumper fire truck. We had hoped to get our volunteer fire brigade organized earlier this fall but due to the delay in the delivery of the pumper has caused us to leave it until now. It is now compulsory by Provincial Law that each municipality set up under By-Law a Voluntary Fire Brigade in order to qualify for subsidy on the purchase of equipment and fire protection operations, The Statute states that a Volunteer Fire Department shall consist of a Chief, Deputy Chief, two Captains and not less than sixteen able bodied fire fighters. The municipality is authorized to pay all voluntary fire fighters, while on duty, and is required to cover all liability of operations under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Having been advised that our new Pumper Fire Truck will arrive in Marmora on Thursday afternoon, we are setting Friday, December 16th, as the day to organize our Fire Brigade. Our new pumper will be demonstrated by an instructor sent by the manufac- turer, who will assist in organizing and instructing the volunteers. Therefore we urge all citizens to support your council by your co-operation in seeing that we obtain enough volunteers to establish a real active Fire Brigade, which is essential for the protection of the lives and property or our citizens.
MARMORA. VILLAGE COUNCIL Vincent M. Lynch, Reeve. Arnold WalKer, Fire Chief
Marmora Herald, Dec. 15, 1949
NEW FIRE SIREN INSTALLED
Citizens have complained in the past of not being able to hear the fire siren. This was quite true as the old equipment was small and erected inside the upper tower. The Council have purchased a new 2 H.P. siren with remote control and have erected it on the highest peak of the Memorial Hall. In case of fire, either call Chief Constable C. McKenzie's apartment, phone, 219, or use the fire alarm on the post opposite the front post office door. The law provides a penalty for any person sounding a fire alarm except in case of necessity. To be sure that the siren is always in working order, the Council have decided to test it once every week. Therefore, at TWELVE O'CLOCK noon, every Wednesday the siren will be blown for testing purposes. Marmora Herald May 15, 1952
Marmora Herald Apr. 23, 1931
A Dangerous Act
Last Saturday Mr. Harry Vansickle, County road foreman, arranged to use the fire hose to wash the loose dust off the business section of Forsyth Street. Mr. Hugh Gillen went down to the pump house and opened up the wheel to start the pump, but found there was not enough water to speed the wheel up. On looking for the cause he found that stop logs had been placed in front of the flume to shut off the flow of water. The stop logs were removed and the wheel again opened, but it was found that when the water was drained out of the flume it carried a lot of sticks into the wheel and most of the afternoon was required to get the wheel cleaned out and in running shape. Mr. Gillen had his arm cut and bruised by the wheel as he took the last stick out. If a fire had occurred in the village, particularly at night, it might have been a very serious matter. Half the village could have burned down while the stop logs were being removed and the wheel cleaned out ready to run. Whoever put the stop logs in should be given a warning that will not soon be forgotten. The Pearce Co. must also he held responsible. When they are renting the use of the wheel for fire protection it is up to them to see that no obstruction is placed that will interfere with the use of the wheel or full flow of the water. The danger of fire is serious enough under the most favourable conditions and fire insurance is high enough now. If the present fire protection system cannot be depended on then the Council will find it necessary to secure power from some other source to operate the fire pump.
(Hugh Gillen passed away in 1934 at the age of 72. For 30 yrs he was the Village constable, and also held the offices of truant officer, caretaker of the town hall, supervisor of walks and streets, caretaker of the Memorial Building and fire protection equipment.)
Whew! Volunteer fire fighters save the day - 1934
For a time about noon last Friday Marmora was threatened with one of the worst fires in years, but fortunately it was got under control before any very serious damage was done. The fire started in an old stable or shed on Main Street, in the rear of one of the Pearce Company's houses, and as it was very dry the fire spread very rapidly. An alarm was sounded and a large crowd gathered. One chemical engine was soon in action, but the fire had too big a start for the engine to handle. The other engine was damaged the day previous in being rushed to an incipient fire and had not been repaired when the Friday fire started. Owing to the water power being used to run the air compressor for work on the bridge and highway, there was a short delay in getting the water pressure up in the water mains and the roof of the large double house and portions of the two adjoining buildings were blazing before the water could be turned on. For a few minutes it seemed as though the building was doomed, but a few minutes after the power was turned on and in a surprisingly short time the blaze was extinguished on each building. In the meantime an alarm came in that Patrick O'Brien's stable or garage had been ignited by a flying ember and a number rushed off to save it which was accomplished without difficulty.
Mr. Dan Campion's house, the house occupied by Mr. Louis Green and one or two other buildings also caught fire from flying embers and several other buildings had pieces of burning shingles or other burning material drop near them. Had one of the larger buildings burned down no one knows how far the fire might have spread. The large double house and a single house owned by the Pearce Company were badly damaged by the water and will require quite extensive repairs. The household effects of the persons living in the houses were carried out and some furniture, dishes etc, were broken or otherwise damaged. The volunteer fire fighters did great work and deserve all kinds of credit for preventing the fire spreading in all directions.
Marmora Herald May, 1934
Graham Bell, Tink Kerr, Cecil Neal, Les McKeown and Bill Monk
Les McKeown, retiring from the Marmora Fire Dept, came to Marmora in 1960. He owned and operated the BP gas station,before selling to Don Derry. He become superintendent of works, and also maintained the water filtration plant ,and sewage plant prior to it being rebuilt. He was the deputy fire chief and also maintained the fire and town trucks on behalf of the village. Later he was with Franklin Smith Coachlines in Marmora which was located at the present day Tim Horton's. Just an example of Marmora's long history of dedicated employees
Note from his daughter, Robin Wishak:
Les McKeown was born - August 31, 1916 in Rawdon Township, His mother Alzina Evelyn Morton and father Frederick McKeown. He was the oldest of 4 boys, farming on the 12th line, Springbrook. He and his wife, Leah, moved to Marmora 1959 and ran the BP station beside the library and lived in the house behind the library, beside Grace Warren. Their daughter, Carol Mawer and son, Gerald McKeown were teenagers at the time. The third child, Robin was not born until 1963. Leah McKeown, is at the age of 97 (2018) is in the Retirement home beside the Catholic school
Les worked as "SuperIntendent of Works for Marmora" working very hard for the town looking after the pump house, the dam, the streets and all the town and firehall vehicles When he passed in 2003, many men agreed"he was the best boss to work for. He would get down in the dirt and shovel with us, instead of standing over us",
Les played harmonica for many years with Jack Golden. They played the day that Marmora opened the park across from the baseball diamond. It was on his birthday August 31. He turned 80 that year. The audience sang Happy Birthday to him while he was already on stage with Jack Golden's Band playing his harmonicas. He played with Jack Golden up until 2002, when he got cancer and was too sick
Fire at Dr. Parkin Living Centre June 1996
In 1993, Marmora Village council approved the nomination of Catherine Reynolds to the fire department. Catherine took her place alongside 20 men and in so doing became Marmora's first woman firefighter.
FIRE DEPARTMENT LENDS A HELPING HAND TO HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
In1998, Bob Beatty, living in Blairton, donated to the Historical Foundation the island off the shore of the Blairton Iron Mine in Crowe Lake, allowing for the planning of a memorial plaque to Blairton. Around 2005, it was decided that we needed a lighthouse and Tibor Kegyes happened to have built one that we were able to purchase. The Marmora Volunteer Fire Department came to the rescue solving the question of delivery. Using a barge supplied by Bonter's Marine, and the labour of the firemen, the lighthouse was safely delivered and erected, and still shines today, thanks to the help of the lighthouse keeper, Bill Neill.
Many thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Kegyes, grandson, Ian, Scott Broadbent, Vic Read, Randy Vilneff, Jeff Bonter, Tom Sandford, Tony Bronson