Historical Perspective of Truro's Volunteer Fire Brigade

The "Honeyman Tub", First pumper in Truro Fire Apparatus in 1868.
  • 1867 - The citizens of Truro held a town meeting to discuss the formation of a fire company.

  • 1868 - A volunteer fire company, the Truro Fire Brigade, was formed. R. Barnhill was elected as Captain (Captain was the senior officer position until 1903, the position then become Chief). Later that year, the "Honeyman Tub" was purchased from Boston. The "tub" was Truro's first piece of firefighting apparatus.

  • 1872 - Truro received an assistance request from the Town of Pictou. A huge fire was spreading rapidly throughout Pictou. Truro sent 30 men and the "Honeyman Tub" on a special train.

  • 1874 - The Town of Truro gained the use of a chemical firefighting piece of apparatus. This horse drawn piece of equipment was affectionately known as "Baby". "Baby" was originally purchased by the Truro Foundry & Machine Company. "Baby" was later fitted onto a motorized vehicle in 1929 and she was retired from use in 1939.

  • 1876 - The Town of Truro installed 10,000 feet of water mains and hydrants. This network of cast iron pipe cost the tax payers $27,000. The year also saw the Town install its first fire alarm telegraph system. The fire alarm system comprised of three alarm boxes. These boxes were located in the Train Dispatcher's Office (in the Intercolonial Railway Station), one at the Mayor's home and one was located in the west end of town.

  • 1876 - The newly installed water works was first used on a oil fed fire that roared through three buildings at Sutherland & Crowe. The new water works was credited with preventing the loss of the whole east end.

The Old Central Fire Station (Now Truro Farmers Market)
  • 1882 - The Town's fire service like most all others at this time, relied heavily on hose carts. These hose carts were comprised of 2 steel wheels that had hose rolled around the axle. These carts were pulled by men and occasionally horses. Truro's Sutherland & Craig was leading manufacturer of these hose carts or reels in their day.

  • 1887 - Truro lost its curling rink to fire.

  • 1889 - Mayor Dr. D.H. Muir approved work a new Central Fire Station on the east side of Young Street. The 2 story, 3 bay engine house was completed in the same year. The current fire station is still on that original site.

  • 1898 - The Truro Condensed Milk Company was destroyed by fire but was completely re-built on the same site in only 64 days.

  • 1903 - N.(Bis) Stewart, has the honour of being the first senior officer to hold the rank of Chief. Prior to Chief Stewart, all other senior officers held the rank of Captain.

1919- First motorized firefighting piece of apparatus "Nancy".
1913- The First Presbyterian Church fire.
  • 1911 - The Intercolonial Railway Station was destroyed by fire.

  • 1913 - The First Presbyterian Church was destroyed by fire.

  • 1919 - Truro purchases its first motorized firefighting piece of apparatus. This piece of equipment, an American LeFrance Pumper, was affectionately named "Nancy". "Nancy" served the citizens of Truro until 1960 and can be found at the Fire Station still today.

  • 1922 - Five lives were lost in the Davidson Bulk fire.

  • 1931 - By the end of the year, Truro's fire service was completed motorized.

  • 1941 - Hoyt's Transfer was destroyed by fire.

  • 1942 - Spencer Brothers & Turners Ltd. was all but destroyed by fire.

  • 1949 - Truro spent $35,000 to upgrade their aging fire alarm system. This new system included fire alarm pull boxes that were scattered throughout the entire town.

1955 - Goodspeed & Davison Ltd. fire.
  • 1955 - Goodspeed & Davison Ltd. (now Pye Chev Olds) was almost destroyed by fire.

  • 1960 - "Nancy" is officially retired and placed in storage at one of the Town's Public Works sheds.

  • 1972 - The Fire Brigade and friends under took the task of rescuing and restoring "Nancy" to her old self.

  • 1977 - The Immaculate Conception Church was destroyed.

  • 1981 - The Brigade purchase a mini pumper. It is this pumper that would be modified in 1996 to respond with the "Jaws of Life".

  • 1983 - M.P. Crowells furniture store was destroyed by fire.

  • 1984 - Truro purchased new firefighting turnout gear to replace their old black canvas long coats hip boots. Unfortunely, the gear had to be used soon after its arrival when the Charm Jewelry building on Inglis Place burned.

  • 1989 - Truro lost yet another commercial business when the Matheson Honda Dealership burnt to the ground.

  • 1993 - The Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrated its 125th anniversary.

  • 1994 - The Brigade welcomes its first female firefighter.

1977 - The Immaculate Conception Church fire on Prince street.
1995 - Murphy's restaurant fire.
  • 1995 - Truro lost another downtown business to fire. Fire crews were on location for 16 hours at Murphy's Restaurant.

  • 1996 - The Truro Fire Brigade expanded its fire protection mandate to include Vehicle Extrication. The Town purchased a set of Holmatro Rescue equipment (set included; ram, spreader, cutters and air bags).

  • 2000 - The Truro Fire Brigade becomes incorporated under the name of the Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade.

  • 2001 - Truro unveils the new collective name of the Truro Fire Service. This new name will represent the old Truro Fire Department and encompasses the Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade when at an alarm.

  • 2002 - Another downtown building falls to a fire. In May, the Patillo Building was extensively damaged as four other fire departments were called in to assist. The blaze kept crews on scene for 12 hours. One firefighter was sent to hospital.

  • 2002 - The Brigade held one of its most successfully membership drives in recent memory. The membership committee was able to bring in 12 new members.

  • 2002 - The Town experienced one of the worst years with regards to fires in its history. The Fire Service answered a whooping 75 calls in September and saw fire losses much higher than in years past. This was contributed to the Patillo Fire. Tragically the Fire Service had to deal with the fire deaths of 4 people.

2002 - Truro downtown building on fire.
  • 2003 - Work began early in the year planning Truro's new fire station. The station is hoped to be completed in the spring of 2004. The new location of the station will be located on Victoria Street next to the museum and Boys and Girls Club.

  • 2003 - The Brigade was able to sell its mini pumper (Truck #5). The Port Bickerton Volunteer Fire Department in Guysbourgh County now own the truck that was purchased by the Brigade in 1981.

2003 - Firefighters assisting during flood caused by Salmon RIver.
  • 2003 - The spring rain once again caused the Salmon River to overflow its backs. This latest flood not only flooded basements, it came so quickly that people needed to be removed from their homes as streets became the new river channels. Firefighters spent three days after the flood pumping out basements to try and assist homeowners with the huge cleanups.

  • 2003 - Mother Nature dealt Truro another disaster when Hurricane Juan struck the town in September. Truro lost most of its stately trees, which damaged homes and blocked nearly all of Truro's roads. Once again the Brigade assisted the citizens of the Town. The Brigade in addition to providing emergency services during the storm, coordinated and assisted chainsaw crews from the Department of Transportation the following weekend in removing fallen trees from some citizen's properties.

  • 2004 - The Brigade hosted the first annual Martime Firefighters Association's Fallen Firefighters Tribute Service.

  • 2004 - Yet another major storm hit Nova Scotia in February, "White Juan", dropped a whopping amount of snow and Truro was not spared. During the storm, Volunteers answered calls, which included a fully involved garage fire and a vehicle fire.

  • 2004 - The Truro Fire Service began the process to hire its first full time paid Chief.

  • 2004 - The new fire station is finally a reality in the fall. The volunteers and career staff finally were able to move into their new home bringing along all of their 130+ years of history.

  • 2004 - The Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade changes its bylaws dropping the title of Fire Chief. The senior position within the Brigade is now Deputy Chief. A new deputy position was created titled Assistant Deputy Chief. This position is the second highest position within the organization. These changes where made to assist the Town in making way for the first paid chief.

2004 - New Fire Station building was built on Victoria Street.
  • 2005 - On February 21, the Town of Truro introduces its first paid Chief, Mr. Thomas Bremner was the successful candidate.

  • 2005 - The Brigade responded to 10 fires throughout the year that caused significant damages. The incidents that occurred at 160 Glenwood Drive, 99 Brunswick Street, 515 Prince Street and Sylivia's Restaurant were the major fires.

2005- Nancy after second restoration (See Details).
  • 2005 - The antique fire truck, affectionately known as "Nancy" undergoes her second restoration.

  • 2006 - The Brigade begins the year with three major fires in January that saw an electrical fire at the Truro Mall and two residential fires total damages in the millions of dollars.

  • 2006 - In January, David Westlake assumes the role of Deputy Chief after Doug MacDonald does not reoffer. David served as Deputy Chief for 4 years (2006-2009)

  • 2006 - In March, a major apartment fire at 27 Revere Street brought national media attention to our members as they successfully rescued residents and their pets.

  • 2006 - The Brigade's antique fire truck, "Nancy" pumped water for the first time since she was retired from active duty in 1960.

  • 2006 - The Brigade expanded their mandate of fire protection and vehicle extrication to include Ice Water Rescue.

  • 2006 - During the summer months, the Brigade responded to five fires, three in one neighbourhood over a course of 4 days. The final fire was in a 12 unit apartment building.

2006 - "Nancy" pumping water first time since 1960.
2006 - The largest fire at Emanuel Baptist Church.
  • 2006 - The largest fire of the year occurred in December when the old Emanuel Baptist Church was completely gutted. Five additional fire departments provided assistance in extinguishing the blaze.

  • 2006 - The year ended being one of the worst years in our history for fires. We recorded a record number of fire losses and had 14 fires that caused significant damage.

  • 2007 - The Brigade adopted an Executive Committee, which separated the fire service from the Brigade operational business.

  • 2007 - The Brigade responded to nine signficate fires during the year, with the major incidents being at T&R Truck and Trailer, Hero's Pub and Headexperts.

  • 2008 - The Brigade celebrates 140 years of volunteer service.

  • 2008 - The "Walk in our Boots" campaign was founded as our main membership recruitment. This event brought three new members to our organization. In total 5 new recruits joined the Brigade throughout the year.

  • 2008 - The year had only six significant fires, with a residential fire on Smith Avenue being the only major fire.

  • 2009 - The first female officer of the Brigade began her tenure in February.

  • 2009 (August) - Fire Chief Tom Bremner, Truro’s first full time, paid fire chief resigns to take a position with Salt Spring Island Fire in British Columbia.

"Walk In Our Boots" campaign was founded in 2008 (Click for more details)
  • 2009 (August) – An electrical fire at Townsview Estates resulted in injuries to one firefighter. He was taken to hospital for treatment.

  • 2009 (Dec) - The Town of Truro hires Blois Currie for the position of Fire Chief for the Truro Fire Service.

  • 2010 (Jan) - Alan Sutherland assumes the role of Deputy Chief after David Westlake does not re-offer. Alan served as Deputy Chief for three years. (2010-2012)

  • 2011 (April) - Five TVFB member attend the National Firefighters Curling Championship in Calgary, Alberta. Representing Truro and Nova Scotia was David Williams, John Congdon, Mike Hennessy, Shawn Hale and Craig Matthews.

2011- TVFB members in National Firefighters Curling Championship In Calgary , Alberta, CA.
New custom-built platform Ladder Truck #4 (Click for Details).
  • 2012 (Feb) - Truro hosts the Nova Scotia Firefighters Curling Association Championship. Truro won the event to qualify for the National Firefighter Curling Championship which was hosted by Truro and area.

  • 2013 (Jan) - John Congdon assumes the role of Deputy Chief after Alan Sutherland did not re-offer. John served as Deputy Chief for four years (2013-2016)

  • 2014 (Feb) – The Truro Fire Service takes possession of a new custom-built platform ladder truck, built by Pierce.

  • 2014 (Sept) - Truro Fire Fighters take top spot in eighth annual Walk In Our Boots Firefighter Combat Challenge.

  • 2016 (Apr) - Truro Volunteer Firefighters take on key roles with the organizing committee to host the Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship. It was the fourth time the National Championship was played in Truro and the second time in four years after the organizing committee agreed to host the event after the host province backed out.

  • 2017 (Jan) - Geoff (Slim) Fisher assumes the role of Deputy Chief after John Congdon does not re-offer.

  • 2017 - The Brigade creates a new crest, with the 1919 American LaFrance truck (Nancy) featured as the centerpiece and our founding date, 1868, proudly displayed.

Brigade's New Crest
Celebrating 150 Years of Establishment (1868-2018)
Brigade's 150th anniversary limited edition commemorative coin.
  • 2018 (Sept) - Truro Fire Brigade celebrated the organizations 150th anniversary. Three feature events were held on the open house/Walk In Our Boots weekend, including a History & Memorabilia Display, the Walk In Our Boots Open House and Combat Challenge and a Fire Truck Fire Truck Show & Shine

  • 2018 (DEC.) - Brigade releases a limited edition commemorative coin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brigade. The front featured the recently created Brigade Crest and the back featured the old, young street fire station with different apparatus from the past.

  • 2019- Nancy, our fully operational 1919 American Lafrance fire truck pumped water for the first time in 12 years as we celebrated the units 100th birthday

  • 2019 - The Brigade votes eliminate the fire position of fire ground Lieutenant and to add a 4th Captain position.

  • 2019 - Our long serving Brigade Chaplain, Rev. David MacNaughton, who started his service in 1975 retires from the position. He is given all Honorary Retired Member privileges.

  • 2019 (Sept) - Truro Fire Fighters again claim wins top spot in the Walk In Our Boots Combat Challenge.

  • 2020 (March) - Volunteers agree to take on a stand-by role to assist in the response to the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The goal of this was to ensure that as many members would remain available and the citizens and properties would always be protected should members began to contract the virus. This remained in place for three months.

  • 2020 (June) - Volunteers return to active service

  • 2020 (Aug) - Rev. Valerie Kingsbury is selected as the new Brigade Chaplain.

  • 2020 (Aug) - This new website is launched. A collaboration that we are excited to have represent our proud and storied history.

Brigade Chaplain Rev. David MacNaughton's retirement
Brigade's Champions won top spot in WIOB 2019