The Welsford District Volunteer Fire Department was formed as a result of several organizational meetings, the first being on December 18, 1973, among a group of concerned citizens who felt the need for fire protection services to the villages of Welsford and Clarendon. We had previously been covered by Westfield but their area had expanded over the years and they were no longer able to serve us as well. A committee and a Board of Directors were elected to take charge of and control any equipment that might be obtained.
Through 1974 several more meetings were held noting other appointments to Committees as well such as: Robin Stewart, Jim Connell, Lloyd Muzzerall, Richard McAleer, Fred Jones, John Thomas Nutter, Ken Gates, Ken Cooper, Jack Parker, Dennis Holden, Edward Speight, John Spinny Sr., Walter Kay.
On February 7, 1975 a meeting was held at the Welsford School and a Fire Chief - James Connell; Deputy Chief - Glenn Dunham; and Captain - Ken Gates were elected. This initiated the beginning of the Welsford District Volunteer Fire Department. A Constitution and By-Laws were drawn up and these were adopted at a meeting on April 14, 1975.
A truck was donated to us by the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department and temporary storage of the vehicle was donated by Lohnes Enterprises at the Gulf Service Station in 1975 until the following spring when a new facility must be found. Therefore, on Match 17, 1976 a deed was signed by the Department of Municipal Affairs, after approval of a government loan to the Fire Department for the purchase of a building on Highway 7 from Donald Parker. A new home was now established for the Welsford District Volunteer Fire Department.
In the following years the fleet was increased as trucks were bought and sold and at the present day we have two Fire Trucks and one Rescue Truck.
Around 1992 we were responding to over twenty motor vehicle accidents in our area every year with the number rising all the time, and thus saw the need for a "Jaws of Life" ( a hydraulic powered tool that will allow a Rescuer to cut a person out of a vehicle should they become trapped inside after being involved in a motor vehicle accident ). The cost at this time was approximately $22,000. After many fund raiser and public contributions we were able to purchase the equipment in 1993.
In the fall of 2000 it was decided that a new Fire Hall was needed as it was no longer feasible to keep expensing repairs to the existing building. Therefore construction on a new Fire Garage was started and it was finished by the fall of 2001. This, however only housed our three trucks and equipment with no excess room; Therefore, in 2005 a partially constructed building was purchased and moved up the road from the site of the Esso & Convenience store which had burned in December 2004. It was attached to our present fire garage and finished our needs. This now contains a kitchen, washroom-both male and female with showers, offices for the Chief and Deputy-Chief and a training room / meeting hall. Our fire department is 24 hours, 365 days a year. Our members are invaluable to the department and the community as they are the contact between the public and the emergency service and for this we are extremely grateful.
Our members also get involved in the Community such as helping maintain the Douglas Valley Cemetery, cleaning the Veterans' Monument, and distributing fire prevention material for public safety and fire awareness.
We have supplied and installed smoke detectors to the elderly and those who could not afford them as well as a battery replacement for smoke detectors free of charge. The hall has been used for meetings and elections, and the volunteers have also put on suppers.
The level of training required by the Fire Marshals guideline for Local Services District Fire Departments has far surpassed what the average volunteer would expect. Today's volunteer Fire Fighter is expected to train at a level equalling that of a professional Fire Fighter in a major urban center - Level One Fire Fighter, First-Aid / CPR, Auto Extraction, Hazardous Materials, Ladders, Ropes, Knots, Vehicle Operation, Pumping, and Hydraulics to name a few.
There are many people who have in one way or another been involved in the Department over the years and have served the Department and the Community well. Some of these people have retired, or have stepped back to let the younger generation take over. We cannot forget these people, for the knowledge that they have passed down to the new recruits has helped in the development of our fire service personnel.
The Welsford Volunteer Fire Department has proven its worth over the years and its members are always there ready to put their lives on the line to serve the community.
To them we al owe a huge dept of Thanks and Gratitude for a job well done!
- October 2006