The Fire Chief has the most authority in the district Department and has important duties as a result. He has custody of all equipment and vehicles, determines the cause of fires, has the power to fairly punish wrongdoers, and keeps administrative and complaint records. He is given a vehicle for the job, known as the “Chief’s Car”, which is provided by the City. This had not always been the case, however: before 1925, the Fire Chief of Port Arthur had to use his own personal vehicle while on Department business.A man sits at a desk wearing a white shirt and tie

Fire Chiefs of the Fort William Fire Department

  • 1904-1909: Hugh M. Piper
  • 1909-1941: Archibald D. Cameron
  • 1942-1954: Ernest H. Dean. He died while still the Fire Chief, and was succeeded by Deputy Chief Lockwood.
  • 1954-1964: Harold Lockwood. He later went on to become an alderman after retiring from the Fire Department on December 31st, 1964.
  • 1965-1969: William G. France

 

 

Fire Chiefs of the Port Arthur Fire DepartmentA man sits for an official portrait wearing a suit and tie

  • 1884: George H. Kennedy
  • 1885-1886: William Frederick Davidson
  • 1890: James Woodside
  • 1891, 1894-1899: William Vigars
  • 1892: William C. Woodside
  • 1900-1903: S. J. McCutcheon
  • 1904-1911: William J. Strachan. After leaving the Fire Department, he continued as a painter and decorator for Strachan & Tweed, Painters and Decorators.
  • 1911-1932: Roderick McLeod
  • 1932-1940: Alexander Hope
  • 1940-1947: George Chastey. He joined the Department in 1910, and served in the First World War as a sergeant of the 52nd battalion. He retired from the Fire Department in 1947, but passed away two weeks later.
  • 1947-1954: James Arril. He joined the Department in 1912
  • 1954-1959: Fred Ligate. He joined the Department in 1920 after serving in the First World War. He retired after 39.5 years in the Department.
  • 1960-1969: Walter Drew. Before becoming Fire Chief, Walter Drew had served in the military during the Second World War, and became Deputy Chief to Fred Ligate in 1955. Drew continued his post as Fire Chief after the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur.

A typed report detailing the equipment and services rendered

 

Fire Department Annual Report, 1943

This 1933 photograph shows members of the Port Arthur Fire Department. What is particularly striking about this photo is that a great number of the men present would become Chiefs or Deputy Chiefs.

A group of firefighters sit together in uniform

  • Left to Right, Front Row: R. Brown, J. Jamieson (captain), George Chastey (Assistant Chief), Alex Hope (Chief), A. McClelland (Senior Captain), J. Arril (Captain), and C. Richards.
  • Left to Right, Second Row: H. Campbell, N. McLean, H. Hatley (Department Electrician), G. Massau, G. Bingham, J. McNee, and S. Wilson.
  • Left to Right, Third Row: W. Pascoe, S. Wright, H. Trotter, J. Johnson (Department Mechanic), A. Tebbenham, F. Ligate, and E. Irvine.
  • Left to Right, Fourth Row: W. Arril, A. Ligate, W. Wigmore, W. McLeod, J. Simpson, V. Thorne, and T. Gove. One member, George Wigmore, was absent when this photo was taken. (Info by E.J. Gilbert)

City of Thunder Bay Archives Series Number: 1992-01#18 Accession Number: 129

 

For more information on this subject, or any other subject of interest, please visit or contact the City of Thunder Bay Archives.

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