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Donald Goodman & Les Wagg

Fire-fighting on Salt Spring Island

Accession Number Interviewer SSI Historical Society
Date April 9, 1991 Location Central Hall
Media tape Audio CD mp3
ID 98 Topic





Usha Rautenbach

Parts transcribed by Usha

Les Wagg, in a presentation to the SSI Historical Society on April 9, 1991
(audio #98 SSIA)

The Harbour House Fire was A Big One.
Les Wagg, in a presentation to the SSI Historical Society on April 9, 1991
(audio #98 SSIA)

The cause was never definitely determined, although we had our serious thoughts of how it did start. At the time, the new part was built up to the old part, so the old part conveniently burned down and the new part was saved because there was a brick wall on that side.

When we arrived the fire was in the basement crawl-space area, and we tried to get in the entrance but in those days they had a couple of metal posts with a 2x4 in it, so the only way was just to smash your way through it, which we finally did.

By the time we were able to get in there and get in the main floor, the heat had got so intense that it just, it just blew; as soon as the doors started to open it just took right off, so we didn’t really get too good of a chance to stop too much, and once it got blowin’ it just burned furiously, with all that dry wood in it.

The Pre-History of the Salt Spring Fire Department
Manson Toynbee: in a presentation to the SSI Historical Society on April 9, 1991
(audio #98 SSIA)

The First Fire Truck, the First Siren, and the First Volunteer Fire Department; 
and Arthur Elliott, the Grandfather of Fire Fighting on Salt Spring.

Mr. Elliott was a remarkable man. Salt Spring was always a very loyal island in hard times. In the first World War many people as you know were sent overseas from Salt Spring; in the second World War they were just as loyal, or perhaps even loyaller; and when Japan came into the war, we then came in the front line on Salt Spring. It was felt that almost any time the Japanese planes might arrive, and so we started a branch of the A.R.P, Air Raid Precautions, here. Of course if you have air raid precautions, you must have some way to put out fires, and as a result of this Mr. Elliott became the sort of one-man-ARP to start with. The Red Cross was busy training people to help the casualties; Mr Elliiott had to prepare to fight fire.

Now, it has already been mentioned by Goody that Mr. Elliiott made the first fire truck. Now, that was a great job. There was no government money, no local money went into it. As Goody said, Charlie Moore [from ‘up in the Cranberry’] donated his old [1927] McLaughlin Buick, which hadn’t been used for a number of years; Elliiott then had to turn that into the fire truck. He had no money with which to do this; however he wasn’t the man to give up easily. He went around looking for scraps that couldn’t be used, to make it. The water tank that Les mentioned as being rather a small one, was Goody’s, 60 gallons was it, Goody, that it took? Actually it was a much bigger tank to start with, it was the only one he could find, and so he went to my dad, who, he didn’t have a welding machine himself, Mr. Elliiott, and so he came to my father, who ran Toynbee’s garage, Ganges Garage it was called, and he had my father use his cutting torch to cut the end off it, take out about three feet, and weld the end back in place again.

He then found, as Goody said, that putting that tank on the back and filling it with water, it - it wasn’t a truck at all, it was a car - and it just went down! And so he went around, and he found some old springs, he took leaves out of them and added them to the leaves in the McLaughlin Buick, and the tank was safer. He managed to get a pump - actually I think that was one of the few things the government gave.

Before this, (Mr. Elliiott, as the ARP branch) also had to help to see that the blackout was carried out. We got very little warning, as you may remember, those of you who are old enough, of these blackout precautions. I remember I was a young teenager, I guess I was scarcely (even) a teenager, working in Mouats’ Store, and I remember we were all summoned down for the meeting, and Gilbert Mouat my uncle, who was the manager of Mouats, and those of you who knew him know he was confined to a wheelchair most of his life, wheeled up to the front of the store and had all his staff there, and told us about these blackouts that were starting, and that we all must close the store early that afternoon if we had to be at work that much earlier the following morning, to make up for the time lost - he was a businessman.

The blackout, Mr. Elliiott thought, couldn’t start unless you had a siren of some kind. You couldn’t buy a siren, and so he had to make a siren. He got an old cream separator, and he took off the part that the milk went through, and he got two cake pans, different sizes, and he made holes in one, with a needle, and this, turned around, could make quite a noise! I can remember as a boy, wheeling this down onto the wharf at blackout time, and turning this, and my mother, who lived across the harbour, could scarcely hear it, but she would go out to the point and listen for it, and then she could go home and put up her shutters, and know all was well - this was the first siren.

But when Elliott got the fire truck almost ready, when it was ready to go onto the road - no siren!
You couldn’t buy one, you had to get permission from the federal government, which meant filling in a form. So he wrote off for the form, and it came, and he filled it out and sent it in, and they sent back another one - this is Wartime Prices and Trade Board - and he filled that one in; well, when about the sixth form came, he was getting to come to the end of his tether, so he wrote a long letter in reply; and he asked them, to give a little more reason to justify having this privilege in wartime when things were scarce, and so he told them about Salt Spring Island. He sent to Ottawa, and he began the letter by Salt Spring Island being a pristine little island lying in the Gulf of Georgia, where the lambs fed on the violets on the hillside, and where one thousand God-fearing people lived, “and now, for God’s sakes”, he said, “either say yes, or say no, but don’t send any more of those damn fool letters!” Well, that brought Salt Spring fame. For the first time ever, I think perhaps, it got known, and Time Magazine published this; because he got his yes answer right away, and we got our siren.

I guess by about 1943 it looked like the Japanese weren’t going to bomb us after all, and so the ARP gradually started to fall away, and poor old Mr. Elliiott was left pretty much on his own, and so he wanted to do something, and I remember he came to me. And as I say, about 1943 I guess, I was a teenager, and he said “Would you ,” - I was caretaker at Mouats Store, I lived upstairs at Mouats Store, so I was close to the centre of things I guess, so that’s one reason why he approached me - and he said would I join him in a local fire fighting group. And so I did. We then recruited a couple or two other teenagers who were a bit younger than me, there was Greg and Laurence Cartwright, and we ran a little fire department, volunteer fire department, we were volunteers, all three of us.

Mr. Elliiott kept the truck in shape, and every Sunday morning we had a practice; we would go out and wash off people’s rooves or something or other, each Sunday morning, and we even did the odd fire. The one I well remember, was on an occasion when Mr. Elliiott had gone away, something that really hardly ever happened - he was the sort of person who was a stay-at-home person - but he had to go to Victoria for some reason. (So), one afternoon I was working at the store, and Mr Norton, Walter Norton, rushed out and said “Manson! You’ve got to go to the fire!” and I said “Where’s the fire?” and he said, “Mrs. Penrose’s house, on Tripp Road, it’s on fire, and the [? inaudible name Floss?] is off in Vancouver. Well, the problem was this: I’d never driven the fire truck; I’d watched Mr. Elliiott do it, but he perhaps wisely, had never let the boys drive it; but mr. Walter said “Well, you’ve got to go!” So I rounded up my two assistants, or accomplices I guess, and [sadly blank section of the audio here] and we put out, at a dry time of year, we got the grass fire out; so we did do something.

But I do feel that we must always look at Arthur Elliiott as being the sort of the ‘Grandfather of Fire fighting on Salt Spring’. He was a person, he wouldn’t give up on any little thing there wasn’t money for, and what-not; I remember in the case of the fire truck I remember he got Mouats to give the paint, the red paint to paint it, and Charlie Moore had given the vehicle for nothing. A man with remarkable talents. I think he should go down in Salt Spring History.

Les Wagg reads “one of the letters that we keep” in our collection at the Fire Hall.

To Mr. Arthur Elliiott, Fire Chief, Fire Department, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

A recent news item tells of your troubles in obtaining a siren for alarm purposes. The item quoted your reply to Ottawa relative to forms to be filled out for priority.

We would greatly appreciate having a copy of your letter, together with any of the other information that may be useful in aiding other Fire Chiefs when they find themselves in a similar situation.

We plan to use the material as the basis of a news article for our magazine. For your information, Digest has national distribution throughout the fire service, and is the only fireman’s magazine edited and written by firefighters.

Trusting that we may hear from you soon, and that the siren, if you have received it, is operating successfully.”

Goody, regarding the Ladies’ Fire Brigade:
Donald Goodman, in a presentation to the SSI Historical Society on April 9, 1991
(audio #98 SSIA)

“Well, they weren’t actually - they were, they would, we put some equipment out there, and, so they were supposed to hold the fire till we got there. We put out some hoses. They put in about five or six 1-1/4 inch outlets on the water system there. But, er, OK.”

Canada at War: BRITISH COLUMBIA: Siren Call
Time Magazine, Monday, Jan. 15, 1945

Salt Spring Island needed a fire siren which could be had only from the U.S. Dutifully, Volunteer Fire Chief Arthur Elliott filled out U.S. priority forms sent from Ottawa. Just as dutifully, he answered a long series of requests for additional information. Finally he had had enough international red tape. In a letter to Ottawa, Chief Elliott exploded with lyric wrath:

"Salt Spring Island . . . rests like a gem of beauty in the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. It has an area of seventy miles . . . two well-equipped beer halls ... a population of 1,800 people, all Godfearing, self-respecting souls [who] pay their taxes promptly. . . . [Its] lambs graze on the carpets of wild violets with which the grazing areas abound, giving a distinctive and delicate flavor to the meat.

"The need of adequate fire protection is urgent. . . . The method of alarm at present is totally inadequate. It consists of an old motor horn of the press-bulb type, implemented vocally by the fire chief. . ..

"We need the siren asked for ... so either pass this request or refuse it and let us know, but for God's sake don't go on writing any more damn fool letters, wasting time, paper and the taxpayers' money in idiotic requests for information which cannot have any practical bearing on the application."

Salt Spring Island got its siren.




Unknown Speaker 0:01
Donald has the honor of having been one of Harry Bullock's boys and buttons, which those who remember will understand that that is one of their people on Saltspring island. He was born on the prairies and went to England at a very early age and returned after the first war to the Victoria orphanage. And it was there that from there that he went to Harry Buller. Now, he's done so many things on Saltspring that we can't list them all. Now. This includes running the shale oil, gas station, driving the fire truck, the ambulance and the hearse. But in that order. So I'll ask Cody to talk to us at this point. PepsiCo introduced Liz less as well, so that you want to take some TOEFL this was one of the people who's been born on Saltspring how many people here were born on Saltspring Oh, so there's three or four others there are a few. Anyway, his father left England when he was age 10 and moved to Victoria and then by natural progression to Saltspring Island which is normal route. He came here in 1915. Now Liz has been in the construction business and Duncan and hear and maintain heavy equipment for two years before a vacancy came up in the volunteer fire department. And that's where those will take over. So first of all we'll start with Don Goody that's why yes, please hear this year

Unknown Speaker 2:08
okay, good. He's gonna start off with he was in the fire brigade is fire chief up into the time the Fire Protection District got started. So good, he's gonna take it up to the time up to what was it 5958 Whatever, I'm gonna take it from there on so leave it the good things you can look at here later, the old parts over here 40 to 59 and the newer history is on this side. So after the meeting, you could get up and look around at these

Unknown Speaker 2:50
pictures wondered where they've gone to part of what I might speak about the hotel used to be on waters now the credit union probably a little further back than much of the credit union Bill never back about just about even with a back end of what is now the credit union. However, I'm glad to see they have the pictures. First off, I'd like to think about Arthur Elliot he he was a mechanic for March had a vision across the modern motor skill more store. And he took this 3729 27 year old 1927 Buick that was donated by Charles Moore that lived up in a cranberry and he cut the back end of it builds it for to bring it up to a factory there

Unknown Speaker 4:11
now I have spoken about the hotels now that that was only one of the hotels that have been burned down to down at Fulford the one the old original white house burned down and then its session was also burned down and I believe wasn't Fulford Hall was burned down. Just a young guy. It burned down lunch and also while they were had no less fun, I think they're burned down a church too didn't know that. St. Paul's Church used to be halfway up the Ganges. However, that was before our time and we didn't save everything. We're gonna When asked not to give credit to some of the old original trustees. Louie Louie Nicholson once told me Laird was another. I have an idea that TF speed was one too but only a little question in my mind about it. But Arthur Milner also was wondering, if I'd left somebody off, I can only apologize

Unknown Speaker 5:38
when I took over, because I'm a little ahead of my story here

Unknown Speaker 5:54
it was a fire and mortar store down in a bookshop, which is now part of the

Unknown Speaker 6:08
thrift shop and we had a few hoses around one and a half inch, Canvas and so on. And this was laid across from over where the garage was, was to the store and three lengths and we found that we had hose running too. So in stupidity, we undid all the hoses, turn them individually and couple them back up again. So that gave me a lesson in life. So if you're gonna get that excited about it, you better do something proper. So I joined with us earlier he after some little time, he was elderly and he had an action that a car fell on him and injured him quite a bad shot, he was looking for somebody else to take over. We had at that time this house earlier to have made that character 60 gallons of water, which incidentally was a lot of weight because when you consider water is 10 pounds to a gallon that was 600 pounds on a half ton truck. So it wasn't very much space for taking extra equipment on it. However we we had fun with it

Unknown Speaker 7:46
these are just little light ones. I want to tell you the fire the fella had a stove on fire and his chimney on fire on a techno tin pipes and so on off site. So now here's the stove in the middle of the room, burning up Maryland and no pipes to it. Going up another one. Once you're 10 the old primary there still exists by the way, must have saved it. There was a corner across here with a stolen front and the pipe went through this first layer and there wasn't any pipe connection there to the to the chimney over in the corner

Unknown Speaker 8:38
another one, I want to call you mentioned that I was also drove the ambulance and I got a call and this little girl said pretty good. You come from mom. I recognized her voice I grabbed and blimps and went up there and found the house was on fire. What what they had here wasn't serious, thank goodness it was a electrical fire when you could smell it. So I went to fuse box and pull the fuse off and then fuse and she had a copper behind every fuse. Anyway that's another story

Unknown Speaker 9:26
we had this phone tear fire department there was two of my own boys Lawrence and Dawn and and Fred done a he was he was come on to down forest a new sporting weather so he was kind of hooked into it too. Don't Laird was and we also had a fella by the name of George posh George but I'm sure he was left for them both feet. So I'd also like to go In credit to Incidentally, the Dodge family, the two boys, dodge Nabil are still on. But his older brother run the garage where Toynbee and he did a lot of work on this, this increase gallonage of we could carry, you know, we had all the equipment show, it did this all volunteer and no charge to it. Like to give them credit

Unknown Speaker 10:45
really finished was the last straw that we had, we were trying to run the the volunteer department on a church purely volunteer, and we ran into a lot of difficulty trying to get money to get it. For instance, an old gentleman came into the gas station there. And they put $20 in the Congress who said I'd like this to go to the fire department. I went over to kill about two 510 Put to five and 10 on his side of the fence. And I said and said, Mr. There's a lot of people are not putting up as much money as this. I think maybe you better save that you said well, you know, that's my pension $20. And I want it to go to the fire department, we should I don't drink and I don't smoke and I don't need it. So anyway, the last straw and kind of winding down was the truck had cable breaks. And we were having trouble with them rushing up so that when you put the brake on, a break wouldn't come off. I'm sure the businessman down the valley, collected $35 and paid a mechanic to fix these up from next time that I went out. There was the same thing. No brakes were fixed. So it was just the last straw. And I want to clear up one other point. Some I would say two weeks after we had dissolved the fire department, the golf club burned down. And nobody attended it. Because if we had we would have been more or less blamed for the loss. It was there. But it wasn't our fault. We didn't have the equipment. We couldn't do anything about it. So thanks for your attention

Unknown Speaker 13:11
Okay, actually, probably thanks to the loss of the golf club house. That's how the fire district got started nowadays. That's why we're in the as far ahead as we are now. The Fire Protection District was formed in 1959. That was following the fire at the golf club. We started with five trustees. And one of them being goodie I guess left the department's he figured he could do more as a trustee, which he probably did. Got a lot going on once he became a trustee. The other trustees are Henry McGill Hart Bradley, Randy young and Bill Nicholson the last two were not absolutely positive, but we figured that they're the two that were the original trustees. That was the five trustees. They hired a volunteer chief and that was Fred donahey. Late and 59 they purchased the 59 le France pumper that's still in use Fulford now and had it stirred in an old shed close by to where the hall is now. In 1961, they built the present Hall, the front half and that was done mostly by all volunteer labor, but 90% was volunteer labor. When they did that. Now they had a fire hall they could put the new truck in. The only problem was that they had the one truck carry 500 gallons of water. It pumps 625 gallons a minute. But they go through it quite quickly and therefore to get more water they didn't have any right. Seen it had to go back, fill the truck up and back to the fire right you can imagine what the fire is like by this time. So after that problem, they got a tanker 1000 gallon tanker and I believe that was acquired from Imperial oil. They had an oil oil truck there and they converted that into a tanker not 1000 gallon. So between the two tracks 500 on one and 1000 on the other. Quite, it was a lot better.

Unknown Speaker 15:38
There was approximately 12 to 15 volunteers in those days. And the way they were alerted, they're alerted by siren on the fire hall. And also telephone call system. In other words, first and had two or three people to call and so on. I believe back then the operators also assisted quite, quite useful. You know how they were they'd be listening in on everybody's phone call so they knew where the fire was. And then it was later updated to the paging system that we have nowadays. The fourth area was man with a few volunteers but they had no vehicle until Ganges trucks got down there. So after a couple of fires down there, I guess they had problems and whatnot. They decided to get a truck and they picked up a 1961 Willys Jeep and that was housed in Patterson's garage heavily down there and they had it there for about two three years until they built the hall that was set next to the shell bought plant. Lovely place to put a fire out right next to it but anyway, it survived never did burn down. The boat plant never caught fire. So 1964 They were able to build that hall and again mostly by volunteer labor, labor again the four by four Willys Jeep that they had down there that was it was a four by four small one to carry 250 gallons of water and had about a 250 gallon pump on it. So it didn't do a lot but it was better than not having nothing down there. And they were just the that one the Willys Jeep and the tanker were just sold in the last five years to people on the island that jeep was sold to Kellogg's over Musgrave. So they've actually got a fire truck over there now, which could be handy for bushfires and whatnot. And a tanker is sold to somebody that was going to use it for water, drinking water. When they got the new truck in the hall up here in Ganges in 61. They got smart and they used to on the back of it. They had a charge an area raised to put a charger connect the charger up to it. So they had this little stand at the back of the hall with a charger on it with a cable plugged into the truck. So in the truck to God was always charging, always a trickle charger to keep the battery charged up. So when the truck drove out it just unhook the plug automatically. One day, the truck went on a call. It didn't have hook and the charger and everything went down the road.

Unknown Speaker 18:52
In 1969, the district decided to hire its first paid fire chief and his name was Dave Smith. He came from Dockyard fire department over in the Sky Mall. And the idea they wanted to pay him a little and let them do a lot of fishing and just work a few days a couple of days a week and whatnot. And this was the intention of the island hiring a fire chief only just to work if you've got two or three days a week. Be there on the fires were but spend the day fishing. Well Dave coming from a place like esquema Dockyard, it's all naval and it's all very he worked eight hours a day. He didn't fish and he spent all his time with the fire hall and of course he wanted more money and then that's how it took off from there. So got to a point after a year so he couldn't get his work done in eight hours. I mean he was only intended to work two or three days a week, but here he's working eight hours a day, five days a week and he still can't get along when. And that's when I became hired by the district. I was previously a volunteer for two and a half years. So when the job came up, I put in four and I was accepted at that time. That was in 1971. In 1973, in addition was built on to the Ganges Hall, and a new pumper was bought at that time. And then nine teen ad the new hold on for her to Bay haul down there to house house two trucks was putting down their nests pretty well. The history of going back on it. We've had all kinds of fires over the years. One of the one of the largest and longest as far as buildings were was the harbor House Hotel that I was involved in. Previous to that it could have been quite a few that good. He has spent a few evenings on over all night long and one of the coolest was a trailer fire down at Blackburn trailer park. And that was the fireman's here was actually had icicles hanging off at the hats are stuck to the heads coach he could take off and just sit there and sit there. It was just it was one of the coldest ones we've ever had. And one of the funniest we had a three storey building the top floor of it on fire. And the fella that was in the top floor, got out the window and he just dropped down to the ground. He broke his ankle in the fall. When we got to the scene he'd hobbled from where he came out the window around to the front and he was standing on the ground in the garden hose in his birthday suit. With a stream going about five feet up in the air. He's trying to hit the third floor it wasn't too funny for him but it was quite hilarious to see this

Unknown Speaker 22:27
the village

Unknown Speaker 22:28
no comment and some large bushfires we've had we had won a mountain Bruce in 1961 again prior to this I'm not too familiar what I imagined are some pretty large ones and wish bushfires

Unknown Speaker 22:53
made Bush Bush yeah

Unknown Speaker 22:54
yeah Well Bruce

Unknown Speaker 23:01
nothing looking down looking down from leaves hell right that whole mountainside

Unknown Speaker 23:07
Yeah. My Bruce Yeah, that was 61 or one

Unknown Speaker 23:10
hour long Harbor that went around a lot and oh pullback driver ever gone referred for

Unknown Speaker 23:25
and then maximal we had to on maximal, which went on about two weeks, two week duration for their put out. And the latest one was Stuart road 1989, which lasted two or three days. So no, I was informed. To get me up here. I could do a little fire prevention. So I'll leave that as the history and just get a few things in. When it

Unknown Speaker 24:02
was serious was about

Unknown Speaker 24:07
roughly around 80 to 83. Yeah, that was a pretty good size into it wasn't as big as a Harvard house but it was. It was big enough. There were there.

Unknown Speaker 24:25
Cars was never definitely determined, although we had our serious thoughts of how it start. At the time, the new park was built up to the old park so the old park conveniently burned down in the new park day because there's a brick wall on that side. When we arrived, the fire was in the basement crawl space area. And we tried to get in the entrance but there's no stairs they have a couple of metal posts with a two by four in the only way is just to smash your way through which we finally did. By the time we were able to get in there and again, main floor, the heated got so intense that it just it just blew just just the doors started to get open it just took right off. So we didn't really get to getting the chance to stop too much. And once it got going it just burned furiously and all that dry wood is there any other questions on the history before getting built in 1961 the original part and then in 1973 the addition was put on the back part two more vase

Unknown Speaker 26:01
I like to say we're here to look Mr. Elliot, by whom I knew very well knew who I think was the back prop probably heard his name if he was a remarkable man. Saltspring was always a very loyal violent when hard times. In the First World War many, many people you know were sent overseas Saltspring in the Second World War, they've just as loyal or perhaps even boiler when Japan came into the war, we then came in the frontline Saltspring just felt that almost any time the Japanese planes might arrive. And so we started to branch at the ARP air raid precautions here. And of course if you've got very precautions, you must have some way to put out fires. And as a result of this Mr. Eliot became the sort of a one man ARP to start with the Red Cross was busy training people to help the casualties. Australia had to prepare to fight fire. Now it's already been mentioned by goodie that Mr. made the first fire truck now that was our three jobs. There was no government money, no look money went into it. As What do you said said Charlie or donations his old McLaughlan viewer, which had the news for a number of years, then had to turn that into the fire truck. He had no money with which to do this. However, he didn't want the band to give up easily. And he went around looking for scraps that could be used to make the water tank. Less mentioned as being rather a sport Redux was a good enough 60 gallons was good enough to actually be a much bigger tank to start with. It's only when you find its way back to my dad who he didn't have a loading machine itself Mr. Eliot. And so he came from my father who ran 20 his garage, Ganges garage, it's cold. And he had my father uses his cutting torch to cut the end off it take out about three feet and will the end back in place. Again. You can follow this but he said that putting a tank on the back and filling it with water. It was a it wasn't a truck at all. It was a car and it just went down. And so he went around and he found some old springs and took leaves out of them and added them to the leaves and McLaughlin Buick and the tank was safer. He managed to get a pump. I think that was one of the few things the government gave. I might also say, at the same time or just before this even that he was had to help to see that the blackout was carried out. We got very little warning as you may remember that oh, oh, he's blackout precautions. I remember. I was a young teenager, I expect to be a teenager working in both store. And I remember we were all summoned down for the beating and Gilbert bought my uncle who was the manager of notes. Those of you who knew him know he was confined to a wheelchair most of his life, wheeled up to the front of the store and had all the staff there and told us about the blackout starting and that we almost closed the store early that afternoon. If we had to be at work that majority or the following morning, they come to the time last businessman. But the blackout, Mr. Elliott pop couldn't start unless you had a siren of some kind. And so he you couldn't buy a car and so he had to make a siren. And he got an old cream separator and he took off the part that went through and he got to kick hands sizes made holes in one nibble. And this turned around could make quite a noise I can remember as a boy wheeling this down onto the wharf at blackout time, and turning this in my mother who lived across the harbour, could scarcely hear it. But she she would have, she would go to the point and listen for it. And then she could go home and put up her blackout shutters and all was well. This was the first siren. But when Elliott got the firetruck, almost ready, it was ready to go onto the road. No, sir. You couldn't buy one, you had to get permission from the federal government, which meant filling in a form. So he wrote off for the form and it came and he filled it out, send it in, and they sent back and other ones wartime prices and trade board. And he filled that in. Well, when about the six four came, Elliot was getting to come to the end of his care. And he so he wrote a long letter in reply. And he had asked him, given my reason for justifying this. This having this privilege of more time and things were scarce. And so he told me, and now for God's sakes, he said, either say yes, or saying no, but don't send any more of those down cool letters. Well Saltspring paid for the first time ever. Why'd you never, but boy, you drive it. And Walter said, Norton said, Well, you've got to go. So I rounded up the other two assistants or two, composite competence, I guess. And we got into track and we got away, it was very slow going up to you. I think we know how to shift from one gear to another. And it's a rather odd gear system that we got out of Ganges, a long lasting, came flying up the hill by the Anglican cemetery. And we got to fire it up to the fire, just to the point where the roof was all going up. And so it was far too late to try and stop the host going but we did see the garage was very badly put out it was dry timing here. We jumped the grass fire out. And so we didn't do something. But I do feel that we must always look at Arthur Eliezer being the sort of grandfather of firefighting on Saltspring he he was a person who he wouldn't give up on any little thing that there wasn't money for him but I think in the case of the fire truck I didn't remember he got boys to get the paint red paint painted. So it was a charity war given the truck for not the vehicle for nothing. A man with remarkable power and I think he should go down Saltspring history don't think so. Goodie. I don't like we tell him goodie about your I think previous freedom

Unknown Speaker 33:16
I have here the letters. This we have several of them in our collection at the hall and whatnot. This is the one letter to Mr. Arthur Eliot Fire Chief Fire Department Salisbury on DC. A recent news item tells of your troubles in obtaining a siren for alarm purposes. The item quoted your reified Ottawa relative to forms to be filled out for priority. We would greatly appreciate having a copy of your letter together with any of the other information that may be useful in aiding other fire chiefs when they find themselves in a similar situation. We plan to use the material as the basis of a news article for our magazine for your information digest is national distribution throughout the fire service and as the only Firemen's magazine edited and written by firefighters trusting we may hear from you soon that the siren if you have received it is operating successfully. Letters Is there any other history? One thing that goodie maybe could the ladies fire brigade that you

Unknown Speaker 34:29
well, their work and they were they would reflect on the equipment out there. So they were supposed to hold a fire drill we got there. We put it on some hoses. They put in about five or six, one a quarter inch out of that watering system there. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 34:56
Is there any other questions on the history of the party party? Oh no. Okay, I'll get a sneak in some fire prevention here. Just some causes of fires over the years, not just in my time but goodies and Matson and Arthur Elliott's within cleaning ashes out of the store, they clean the stoves out and put them in paper bags, plastic containers, all kinds of neat things that burn. And you either forget to take them out of the house. Or they put them outside on the porch because it's wack or it's snowing or whatever. And next thing you know you, you get your house on fire. And these ashes, they'll stay hot coals will stay hot for a couple of days. We've had people clean them out and they'll say, Well, we had a fire in it two or three days ago. Why should it still be hot? You know, but they do. They stay very hot for long periods of time.

Unknown Speaker 36:08
On Fire just within the last couple of years, was it that's what happened.

Unknown Speaker 36:12
We have probably two or three years from now. We had a we had a judge call us up one day, come home. And he found the site of his court Joburg. And they put it up with a garden hose. But they phoned us to tell us and so we went down and he thought maybe somebody had lit it because you know judge him too popular and whatnot. So we went down there and we looked at it, you know, you know the person was going to light a fire and trying to burn somebody's house, you're not gonna start on a woodpile side, front entrance and that you know not to do wise to do it there anyway. And so we got looking around and looking at it. We asked him, you know, have you done, what were you doing this morning or anything is it was clean was still about you. Right now, I remembered what he done, he gave me I'll put them in a paper bag, took them outside, put them on the woodpile, and he was gonna go do something. And he forgot, he forgot. Of course it started firing on, it's so easy to do. Now that one out America where the people are there. For the weekend, they're staying in one of the eight brands out there, the parents went back, the kid stayed did the rest of the day. Guess the parents said make sure you clean everything up before you leave, cleanup stalls everything. So they did put it in a paper bag again, forgot to take them outside. Of course the eighth remember that's a very common cause should have the Chimneys cleaned. Masonry ones we recommend about once a year, the the metal ones two or three times a year, depending on the amount of use depending on the kinds of wood that you're using. There's all different reasons for how long they should, when you should get them cleaned and whatnot. And another problem is, it's okay to clean the chimney. But they all have you know, the last door at the bottom of the chimney. It's a little metal door you take off and you can see all the acts of the bottom on this one. One way that really struck home quite a few years ago now this fella phoned up Mrs. I got a chimney fire. I got smoke coming out of the chimney. I haven't had a firearm for three days. And he says why should it be? You know, why should smoke become an opportunity? We got home man. We got to see this. So we went out there sure enough and drove in the driver. There's smoke coming up the chimney. So this is nice green chimneys all the time. You know? You haven't had a chimney fire on for about three days. Why is there smoke coming up. So I went down the basement, a typical little door, I could feel the chimney is really hot took the door off. And that was just red hot, right between the thimble and the cleanup. They've cleaned the chimney, but they had never clean between the cleaner and the thimble. And it was so full that it just burns and burns and burns gets hotter and hotter and hotter and close any wood or anything. It'll ignite it. So I've had to tell chimney cleaners to make sure they clean them out. Because if they're in a hard to place, some of them are in a crawl space. You don't think those guys are gonna go down there and clean them up. So if you're getting your chimney clean, make sure they clean the whole chimney not just part of

Unknown Speaker 39:48
your question about that. You know, what do you mean by clean? I mean you know I use a wire brush pulling up and down wire brush and try and get it you can get on All that loose sort of crumbly stuff. There isn't a lot of it. But what do you do with that hard, bright, shiny, nice creosote cooked on there? And cooks on there year after year after year? And in that part, I know is there a way to get them off? We had the fellows the professional so called, yeah, came up there, they didn't do a thing they

Unknown Speaker 40:20
did as well as it's just about impossible. Unless you do actually,

Unknown Speaker 40:25
paper in that permanent out every year.

Unknown Speaker 40:29
You got the machines over here. I can't say that.

Unknown Speaker 40:35
Over 10 years, or newspapers in his company, every week,

Unknown Speaker 40:38
lots of people do it. If it's a good chimney well built and not. It's got the clearances from awake, many wood and everything. And it's got a liner in it, that it doesn't hurt, really, but it can't. I couldn't recommend it in my position to tell anybody to do that.

Unknown Speaker 40:57
You know, when you hear build up in there, you can find out creosote, we've got a burning fire.

Unknown Speaker 41:03
Did y'all hear the story the chimney cleaner that always does that this is a true story is in one of the columns to the sun or something. The guy hired him to clean the chimney saw, I did this all the time. So he goes in and he sticks the paper in there and gets it wrong and real good hot fire there. And I guess he took it off fine. Went home a few hours later, he got a phone call saying that the house had caught fire and burnt right down. So it was very apparently sued and

Unknown Speaker 41:37
recommends that there's some liquid substance that you put on

Unknown Speaker 41:41
fire when burning a fire. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 41:48
I don't know, I haven't. I've never come across any good chemical or any kind of material that is, does a good job that way. I don't know. If you read on the label, it says use with a hot fire. But it's actually the hot fire that's doing the work. Not so much cleaner, but don't quote me there could be some good ones out there. I don't know that. I've never been proven that it is a good one there. I've never found anybody, the little, you get a quarter of an inch or half an inch of it around the outside of the chimney. It's not too bad. It's when they're really chock full. And you can't even you can't get nothing down there. And there's a little hole like this, the flue is about this big six by six or eight way and you gotta hold up two by two or two by three, then you got a problem. If you're to burn that out, it would burn for days. And the longer it burns hotter. Yes. So there's any kind of combustible material Near and Middle it could ignite

Unknown Speaker 43:00
no creosote build up the hall in the chimney, because we use auger and other partners and you know for nothing that burns slowly so we always have a bit of hot fire and so on.

Unknown Speaker 43:16
As well yeah, it depends on the wood a lot. kitschy for we'll we'll do it. Green Alder if it's not dry, because they tend to smoke and then the smoke turns creosote and that's how you get you a lot of people will put a fire on at night middle smolder all night long the Turner right down crank it right down little smoulders all night long. And they get up in the morning throw a few more pieces of wood in and go to work crank it down again on the small resolving along again well that's really the worst thing because it's it's doing a lot of smoking and not actual burning. And that's a lot of problems a lot of times they have problems with what do you say about ParaType summer good summer. It depends how they're put in and what to put in right there. And they're pretty well governed now. The building inspector inspects them all the time. You have to get a permit to put even the stove and now not just a chimney but the stove as well as the correct label. Yeah, it's got to be inspected before they have trouble some people loan the money to to the buyer, unless the stove is approved. And it's helped me a lot to get good stores but in but it's not just putting the good stove in. It's we had a fire down south end of the island. And we know it was caused in the area the stove we don't know whether it was the towels and things hanging over the stove. The fishing tackle box underneath the stove plastic Fishing Tackle Box Shoes tucked around the store with piled up against the store. We're not sure which one cause we know it's caused around the stove area. And it was only about a foot drop between the stove and the wall so it's about four or five things that could have caused it and we're not sure which one we couldn't prove which one actually did it fishing tackle box underneath the stove was completely melted. So it was just so it doesn't matter how good the stove is, if you put stuff around it, a lot of people put towels in that and hang them over top of that to dry in that niche, get dry and then they fall down and fall on it and then they fall on something. This is this is how a lot of problems start. Okay, lamps are another bit of a problem. They can put two, two larger bulbs in them. They see these lamps that say maximum involve 60 Watt. Some people have bad vision, like a lot of light come along and then put 100 and 150 in it for all shades about that far away from the ball but of course it starts to burn and and also these ones that are attached to the bed with the swinging arm you can I don't know whether anybody has one but you can adjust them and they can be there and people push the pillows and whatnot up against them. And of course with the ball getting hot, it just ignites bedding or wherever it's near. Or the thing gets to loosen that falls down and lands on the pillow and lightbulbs have been known to start quite a few fires with the bear ball. Oh really? See lectricity is much heavier than the old ones. Yeah, they're they still get pretty warm. Some of them some of them get pretty hot. I got into a lot of places and I felt actually we we had an alarm in one night and we were down in the mall and then there's several antique places down there and we were looking at one of the bulbs you know as a big ball in the shade was there. So the next day I went in and talked to the fella that shop and I told him I hope he doesn't keep the lights burning all night long because that thing was hot. It was just

Unknown Speaker 47:33
might not ever cause a problem. Getting to that stage where I couldn't see it and of course children playing with matches is caused by electrical cords. They can either be get worn to get in a doorway where they traveled on all the time and they start to get frayed and whatnot. And even if you can't see it the inside insulation can wear and the two wires can touch and then great you got a fire breaker breaker panels is a good one. One of the businesses quite a few years ago were they had the the breaker blue so the young fella one in the back put the breaker back on again. It flew again and tried it again it kept on blowing so it took a broom handle and shoved it between the wall right but a half an hour later smoke was coming up and they get all these packing slips or they stick them all in and around the electrical power and everything and they're burning and so they're just about had a nice fire but luckily somebody saw put it out and when I just heard about the other day well I had a VCR and the front of it was mounted. Push the on off button few buttons in front of us were melted. So he gave his wife hack and said you put the curling iron or too close to it you better watch what you're doing. No, I haven't No, I never I wasn't around it. So But two weeks later, the same thing except it was worse this time in front of the VCR it just all melted and everything else. So he's given his wife hack again. Yes, you've done it again. You know you're almost putting out a hairdryer there is no I haven't even used it since you told me about that. So they got looking around and whatnot. And they saw one of these beauty mirrors. Ladies do their faces and he has the magnifying side of it. And this sun was coming in through the door hitting the mirror bouncing off the hit hitting the VCR I actually ignited the Vizio and the guy tried it just a couple of times and it actually did it. And then he put a piece of paper in front of it and the piece of paper actually caught fire. So that's I mean the weirdest things. Who'd ever think about it it's the house had a burnt down we've been wondering what caused the last thing you think about after the one about No Nobody puts irons in their dad now to warm them up. We had him on one time. That's dangerous, very dangerous. Heat the heat the the iron up second in the bat. And if she went in the bedroom, there are no beds on fire. It is ignited the bed, just in the heat of the iron. So it's not a good thing to do. Hot water bottles work better and cause less fire. The major cause of loss of life that I've run into on the island has been the combination of alcohol and cigarettes. Nine, I'd say probably at least eight out of 10 of the deaths that we've had over the years have been the combination of drinking and smoking. So it's nice if you can do one, do one, not the other. Smoke, don't drink, drink, no smoke. Okay, just a few safety ideas. And then I'll pack it up here. Have smoke detectors in your house, y'all got them, hopefully. And check them monthly. If it's wired in when you see a little light on. And if it's a battery type one, you can just use a test button on it, you can test it to see that it works. Have an escape route. If you're in the bedroom, and you're thinking of sleeping at night, and you got the door to go out, have another way out. If you can't get out that door and have another way that you can get out the window, think how high it is from the ground and whether you can drop down or whatever. If you got to crawl off, it's smoking you got to get out, get down on your hands and knees and crawl. If you're in bed and you wake up in the smoky, it's better just to sort of flop out on your knees not to stand up because you get a layer of smoke and heat coming down so high. And if you happen to jump up at night, as soon as you get up out of bed, your head is into that area where it's extremely hazardous. And you're going to be excited, you're going to take a deep breath and since you do that, you just filled your lungs completely with smoke and heat and down you know and that's that's normally what kills most people is getting up out of bed and nine times out of 10 we find them near the bed. They're just fallen over from the heat and smoke. So it's better just to crawl out and go on your hands and knees. Because it's always a lot cooler down the bottom part. Keep backups and basements clear and not too many combustible materials around metal burn. Keep the chimneys clean like I mentioned and place the ashes in a metal container and place them away from the building and check extension cords and if there's any questions financial

Unknown Speaker 53:49
when Why don't you tell me when this Arthur? What period are we talking about? When you first had a volunteer fire department? Right after World War One. World War Two Ecuador chooses no fire around the nation at all for a combat fire.

Unknown Speaker 54:10
There was a roll of polio reports on a tree

Unknown Speaker 54:17
very recently okay, if

Unknown Speaker 54:22
there's no more questions in the all the pictures, little letters and stories are all there's one here you probably all remember just here's when Donner and for three Q these phone numbers we used to 135 M 116. Why? Okay, I'd like to thank you last

Unknown Speaker 54:51
time that good he very much for most interesting presentation. Good, nice anecdotes are great. And thank you very much.