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The Fire Chiefs were responsible for producing an annual report each year. This example dates from 1961.

Throughout the years, the annual reports differed in content, but the most consistent elements were the record of losses due to fire and a report on the condition of the stations and equipment. As can be seen in this example, there is much detail given regarding inspections, training, community service, and Fire Prevention Week activities.

The reports become more detailed and lengthy over time, and this report is a good example of the sort of extra detail provided. Included in this report is a discussion of service to Paipoonge despite the fact that the Department was not bound by agreement to be there. Also, the report notes the discontinuance of street alarm boxes, due to the mischief that the alarms tended to attract, which made for many false alarms over the years.

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 

The transcription of this report is as follows:

"Annual Report Fort William Fire Department.- 1961

January 25, 1962

D.M. Martin, Esq.,

City Clerk,

Fort William, Ontario.

To the Chairman and Members of the Fire, and Light Committee

Gentlemen:

I wish to respectfully submit my report on the operations of the Fire Department for the year 1961. A total of 524 alarms of all types were received by telephone, 2 by fire alarm box, 3 still alarms, and 18 false alarms were received by telephone. The total number of alarms received during the previous year of 1960 was 556, so that we have a decrease of 32 calls. All these alarms were received and transmitted through our fire alarm office.

Our fire loss for the past year was $11,685.37, this includes both mercantile and residential loss on building and contents. During the five year period from 1955 to 1960 we achieved the lowest loss for any City in Canada. Our average loss for this 5 year period was $90,000 per year. These figures were published by the Dominion Fire Commissioners Office last year in his annual report. The fire loss for each Month on Building and Contents are as follows:

[Page 2]

 Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 2

 

Month  Insurance  Bldg. Loss  Contents Loss  Total 
January 1,245.00  834.59             -  834.59 
February  27,900.00  1,199.47  15.00  1,214.47 
March 356,300.00  2,767.00  75.00  2,842.00 
April 4,000.00  690.59  15.00  705.59 
May 17,500.00  760.00  285.00  1,045.00 
June 10,000.00  100.00            -  100.00 
July 53,000.00  607.00  1,112.25  1,719.25 
August 13,000.00  411.65  400.00  811.65 
September  2,000.00 2,000.00              -  2,000.00 
October  6,000.00 87.50             -  87.50
November  11,000.00 271.32  54.00  325.32 
December           -          -              -           -
Total  504,945.00  9,729.12 1,956.25  $11,685.37 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago was a disastrous one in loss of life and property, with five people losing their lives through fires which could have been prevented. In 1960 we decided to carry out a complete home inspection program throughout the City. Nearly 11,000 homes were visited and inspected for common fire hazards, and pamphlets were given to each householder instructing them what to do in case of emergency. This Home Inspection program showed that housewives in particular must be shown the potential hazards and dangers that exist in the home. There is sometimes considerable apathy, and this requires a tactful selling job to overcome any objections.

Special lectures and demonstrations for Home and School, and Parent Teachers Associations habe [sic] been carried on throughout the year.

In 1961 we concentrated on industrial inspections, lectures and demonstrations. The key to the success of this program has been the ability and effort to develop individual programs for the specific needs of each industry. Our Fire Prevention Bureau have embarked on a plan to develop greater understanding with industrial and commercial establishments to effect standardization of fire-fighting techniques and procedures, so far this has proved very successful. Local institutions such as the McKellar Hospital, Sanatorium, Grandview Lodge, etc., have received extensive consideration during 1961. Their staffs have been trained in basic fire-fighting, fire safety, and evacuation procedures. Regulations have been studied and in some cases, re designed to meet modern standards and requirements.

In industry located on the waterfront, demonstrations of various life-saving methods have been taught, such as the mouth to mouth method of resuscitation. Although not primarily fire-prevention, its use is approved for all types of asphyxiation. Because of its effectiveness and simplicity its use has been taught and promoted as part of our personal interest in the saving of life in our community. All the members of our Rescue Crew are highly proficient in these various methods of resuscitation.

Lectures have been given by members of the Fire Prevention Bureau to classes for Baby-Sitters, usually to young people interested in this type of work. During 1961 we had several instances showing that our efforts in this direction were effective and instrumental in the saving of life and property.

[Page 3]

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 3

During Fire Prevention Week the assistance given us by the Board of Education, teachers and staff and particularly Inspector Thos. McKee for organizing our school programs, was deeply appreciated.

The following is a detailed list of lectures, demonstrations, and training periods given by our Fire Prevention Bureau for the year 1961.

Feb. 1st- Thunder Bay Power Squadron. Two hour lecture on fire and first-aid extinguishers to 35 persons owning boats.

Feb. 8th- Franklin School Home and School Association. Demonstrations of Home Fire-Safety.

Feb. 18th- Fort William Public Health Unit. Evacuation procedures and lecture on fire extinguishers to all the members of the staff.

June 26th- Grandview Lodge. Two lectures on fire safety, procedure and evacuation. Practical use of extinguishers to 48 members of the staff. At the request of Supt. J. Hughes, a new set of Fire Safety rules, and an evacuation plan were drawn up and approved.

June 28th- Abitibi Power and Paper Company. Demonstrations of life-saving methods given to 36 employees. Two further classes on this subject were held on, July 8th., and July 13th, with a total of 115 employees in attendance.

July 19th-McKellar Hospital. Four lectures to a total of 275 staff members, on fire prevention, evacuation procedure, basic fire-fighting, and the practical use of extinguishers.

Sept. 11th. and 12th.- McKellar Hospital. A two day school on the fire prevention etc., was given to 149 staff members who were on holidays at the previous sessions.

Sept. 15th- Searle Grain Company. Fire Prevention training, and lectures on the proper use of extinguishers to 53 employees.

Sept. 16th- National Grain company. Fire prevention lectures, and a discussion on rescue methods to 30 employees.

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 4

Sept. 18, 19, & 20th- Abitibi Power and Paper Company. We conducted a 3 day Fire School for members of the plant fire-brigade. This consisted of class room work, and panel discussions covering such matters as fire chemistry, extinguishers, water supplies, fire pumps, sprinkler systems, [Page 4] fire tools, alarm system, etc. Evacuation procedures such as would be needed for the Emergency Measures Organization, with lectures on special hazards and rescue operations. The operation of newly acquired self contained breathing apparatus was practiced by all the members of the plant fire brigade. The third day was composed of fire-ground practices, hose and ladder evolutions, extinguishing of oil fires, and the fighting of fire in a specially constructed building concluded the three day course. A 20 page Fire Safety Manual was produced by the Bureau with the co-operation of company officials. It is now used as a standard for Plant Fire-Safety Rules and Regulations.

Oct. 1st- Kakabeka Falls Volunteer Fire Brigade. A 3 hour lecture and practice for all the members of the brigade.

Oct. 5th- At a special meeting of the Safety Council we presented an outline of our program for Fire Prevention week.

Oct. 10th to 20th- Fire Prevention Week. Activity in the City’s Elementary Schools was concentrated on grade 4-5-6. A film and discussion was held on Fire Exit Drills. While this was primarily school evacuation the discussion also considered safe evacuation from the home. A question period indicated that home evacuation provided considerable interest and thought. Part of our home program dealt with the correct way to turn in a telephone fire alarm. Two properly wired telephones provided a realistic method of learning this important operation. Over 2000 telephone stickers were provided for all of the schools.

The program for Senior and Secondary Schools consisted of a 45 minute live demonstration of fire causes which could occur in normal teenage activities. A discussion on the responsibility of Baby Sitters was used to show the necessity of having a knowledge of fire safety. Over 2500 Baby Sitters cards were given to students who requested them. A grand total of 6395 students received those courses.

Oct. 11th- Fort William Rotary Club. Lecture and demonstration on fire safety to 60 members in attendance.

Oct. 19th- St. Luke’s Men’s Club. Fire demonstration to 30 members of club.

Oct. 23-24-25th- Abitibi Power and Paper Company. A second fire school was held with over 200 employees in attendance.

[Page 5]

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 5

Oct. 24th- McKellar Nurses Association. Lectures and demonstrations on mouth to mouth method of resuscitation. A mannikin for demonstration purposes was provided by the Safety Supply Company, 65 nurses were in attendance. This was considered an honour and a privilege to instruct qualified registered nurses in our methods of resuscitation.

Oct. 25th- McKellar School of Nursing for Student Nurses. Lecture on fire prevention, evacuation, and practical use of extinguishers, to 62 student nurses. During the month of November the Westmount School, St. Edwards School, St. Elizabeth School PTA, St. Mary’s School were all visited with lectures, demonstrations, proper procedure for Baby Sitters.

Nov. 22nd & Dec. 14th- Fort William Sanatorium. Fire Safety & evacuation, and proper use of extinguishers to 108 members of the staff.

Dec. 3rd- St. Johns Nursing Cadets. Lectures on Baby Sitters to 25 members of a Baby Sitters Course. All these lectures and demonstrations were carried out by the two members of our Fire Prevention Bureau, Arthur Gunnell and Jack Bryant. My sincere thanks to these boys for a job well done.

During 1961 our Fire Inspector Richard Button made 1464 complete inspections classified as follows:

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 6

20 Hotels and Motels, 10 Banks, 11 Hospitals, 14 Dwellings, 160 Apartment buildings, 58 Restaurants, 40 clothing stores, 15 Laundries, Dry Cleaning, 6 Commercial Printing Plants, 38 Industrial Plants, 24 Shoe stores, shoe repair shops, 18 Bakeries, 12 Department stores, [Page 6] 10 Drug stores, 52 Public buildings, 47 Service stations, 14 Hardware electric, 55 Churches, Church halls, 114 Confectionery stores, 17 Taxi stands, 16 Sign, Paint and Glass shops, 34 Garages, car repairs, 11 Lumber Mills and yards, 9 Dairies, 60 Warehouses, 4 Theatres, 3 Furniture stores, 94 Offices and office buildings, 5 Radio, TV. shops and record bars, 493 Miscellaneous.

In addition to regular fire inspections, 169 complaints and information required, were turned in and investigated as follows:

Attend Court re summons over faulty construction of fire-place between owner and contractor

Check high voltage room in regard to sign painted on door as to danger in using water in this area

Check elevator penthouse for type of fire extinguishers installed etc.

R-check on repairs made to masonry chimneys

Inspection of oil heater unit in private house

Re-check on defective exit doors in hotels and public halls

Investigate complaints, burning of refuse in yard without approved burner

Investigate complaint from [redacted], in regards to a stuffed toy doll (this was made in Japan) that caught fire through spontaneous combustion

Check and approve fire escapes installation

[Page 7]

 Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 7

Information given in regard to planning and evacuation fire drill in public buildings etc.

Warn owner of duplex house that has been condemned not to rent these premises under penalty of further conviction

Check and advise on installation of gas furnace in laundry to assure proper protection between unit and combustible floor

Check and advise as to type and number of extinguishers and their location in new transit workshop

Check with gas company, on installation of new gas fired boiler in hospital

Complaint using ordinary garage for spray painting

Heaters close to combustible materials

Defective furnaces and heater pipes

Installation of new fire escape and repairs

Re-check on newly installed exits

Information required re-wiring and over-fusing

Halls checked for licenses

Hall re-carded for capacity

Check re refuse in yards and rear of blocks

Re-check on premises to ascertain if general housecleaning had been carried out

Check fire alarm system with Chief

Check and advise on gasoline storage etc.

Investigate complaints re old open sheds and garages full of refuse

Check complaints, lights out in halls at night

Approve installation of gas meter by fire escape

Investigate gas fumes in basement

Re-inspect St. Pauls Church

Inspect masonry chimney Neebing Township Office, with Chief

Check and ascertain if gas valve behind Cooper building could be protected from hazardous accumulation of refuse

Try and determine cause of fire in restaurant, Donald Block

Advise manager Adanac Hotel, re-installation of oil tank

Re-check repairs to Victoria Hotel fire escape

[Page 8]

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 8

Re-check on various premises for general housecleaning

Re-check on hose, exits, fire escapes, faulty furnaces and heater flue pipes etc.

The work of the Fire Inspector includes year round inspections of all buildings within the City limits, including mercantile, Industrial schools, hospitals, hotels, public halls. Display cards and posters are distributed for fire prevention week.

Our Inspector Mr. Button is a graduate of the Ontario Fire College in Fire Inspections. As the trouble shooter for our Department, he helps to keep down fire loss, our sincere thanks to Inspector Button.

We cannot emphasize too strongly to all our citizens that the Fire Department is vitally interested in the preservation of life and property in the City of Fort William. We are indeed fortunate though the generosity of Council to have one of the finest and best equipped Rescue Trucks in the country. All of our staff, particularly in the Central Station, are well qualified in various types of rescue work and resuscitation. During the past year we had one fire death. This was on May 19th, 1961 at [redacted]. A young boy [redacted], aged 5 ½ years, lost his life playing with matches and fire crackers. Shortly after this tragedy occurred Council acted swiftly to supplement the old fire-cracker by-law by putting some teeth into the new by-law. We attended to 28 calls for the Rescue Truck mostly for young children, however we worked on 3 adults for carbon monoxide poisoning and coronary heart attacks.

We answered 30 calls to the Municipality of Neebing with whom we have an agreement for attending fires at a cost of $5,000.00 annual payment to the City of Fort William. We answered a call to Paipoonge Township at the Dutch settlement on Arthur Street, a small garage burning set fire to two near-by homes, also threatening the new Dutch Reformed Church. While this is not in our district I decided to answer the call for help as a very strong wind was blowing at the time and would have resulted in the complete wiping out of this settlement. We extinguished the fire with two high pressure fog lines. The Municipality of Paipoonge sent us a cheque for $200.00. Also letters of thanks from the people whose property we saved, and a personal thank you from the Insurance Company. We cannot enter into any agreement with Paipoonge as it would mean deploying too much equipment away from the City, but the Committee agreed that we could not stand idly by and see a community wiped out by fire which we could have prevented.

[Page 9]

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 9

Our equipment is in good shape. During the summer months we had a complete overhaul of the engine on the Aerial Ladder, and a new booster pump and tank installed on the Pacific Avenue Truck, with the result that these trucks should now give us good service for many years to come.

With Councils permission we have discontinued the obsolete [sic] street fire alarm boxes, and the industries who were equipped with Master Alarm Boxes are now connected to our new alarm switchboard, which was installed by the Telephone Department under the supervision of the Manager Mr. Joe Otway. This new system is working out very well and is producing a revenue of over $4000.00 annually for the City of Fort William. The telephone department provide us with a 24 hour repair service.

Four members of our staff attended courses at the Ontario Fire College Gravenhurst, with most of them passing with honours. It is my intention to send about 10 of our Officers to the College this summer, for Officers training courses. This Fire College has a large staff of competent instructors, and is the only Fire College on this continent where an officer or fireman can attend with all expenses paid by the Provincial Government.

At the request of the Ontario Fire Marshal Martin S. Hurst we are holding a Regional Fire Training School next September for paid fire-fighters and industrial fire-fighters in the Thunder Bay District. This is an honour we have had on several occasions, that of being the host City for the Regional Fire Training School. We are hoping to have the pleasure of seeing the new Fire Marshal here to open this school.

Thirty eight school classes have visited each station at various periods throughout the year. The children were shown how the apparatus worked, and also lectured on the basic rules of fire prevention.

We have a very excellent training program which continues each day throughout the week, and also on the 4 to 12 shift each evening. This new training manual has been prepared by the Deputy Chief W. France, assisted by the Officers and coincides with the exact type of training taught at the Ontario Fire College.

We are looking forward to a good year of training and home fire inspections, and to render to our citizens the best service that we can possibly give.

Fort William Fire Department Annual Report 1961 pg 10

In closing I would like to thank Administrator, Mr. S.H. Blake, City Clerk Mr. D.M. Martin for their help and advice during the past year. My thanks to Police Chief Earl and his staff for their cooperation and assistance at fires. [Page 10] To Inspector L.E. Cottenden of the Fire Marshal’s Office, who is the resident inspector here, a very special thank you for his help in investigations.

During our Publicity Campaign for Home and Industry, the Press, Radio, and Television gave us wonderful coverage in all our endeavours. Our sincere thanks to all of them.

The Fire, and Light Committee under the Chairmanship of Alderman J.O. Booth, gave me every support and consideration during the year.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

[Signed] H. Lockwood Chief of Fire Dept."

City of Thunder Bay Archives Series Number: 16
TBA: 5225-59