Kitley Volunteer Fire Department- 1965 to 1985
The First Twenty Years
On May 6th, 1985, Kitley Fire Department celebrated its’ 20th Anniversary. During these years the Township of Kitley went from being without a fire department to having one of the best equipped and best trained in the Country. Accomplishing this took a considerable outlay of time and money.
Fire protection for the township prior to 1965 was inadequate at its best. Smith’s Falls was paid to respond to calls for help, and respond they did. Their best equipment however was allocated for use in the town of Smith’s Falls, and only their second pumper came to calls in Kitley. Since an adequate supply of water in town was supplied by hydrants, they did not have a tanker to haul water. Local residents had to supply the water unless the fire was close to a creek or pond from which they could pump water. Seeing milk cans of water being hauled to supply the pumper was a frequent sight at a fire in the township. No matter how great the effort, water could not be hauled in sufficient quantity to supply the pumper.
The first hope for improvement came because of a push from the village of Frankville. A group known as the Frankville Fire Brigade was formed to provide fire protection for the village. Thought their equipment was very limited, they had a building and a good well. The well was equipped with a deep lift pump, and was able to provide a continuous supply of water through a 1 ½ inch line.
On August 13, 1964, Reeve Charles Sands met with the Village of Frankville Trustees, The Frankville Fire Brigade and a large group of interested people. The decision was made that changes in Fire Protection were necessary.
The Fire Marshall’s office was contacted regarding requirements for a legal fire department. Mr. Maurice Roussey met with the Council and informed them that setting up an adequate Fire Department was too large a venture for a village and that a Township Fire Department should be considered instead.
A survey of the Township’s requirements was undertaken and provided information that the Frankville Fire Hall and an unused Toledo Fire Hall did not meet standards and did not have room for expansion. The discussion for a new fire hall was discussed at length by Council. Even though they would have liked to have the building in the centre of the Township, this was not possible since the men interested in being firefighters were from the Frankville area. In the end, the location was decided when land was donated on the north end of Frankville for this purpose. The property was of sufficient size and on Hwy#29. The deed was completed and the lot fenced in May of 1965.
With the support of volunteers a fire hall was constructed. The building including heating and hydro cost a total of $7,445. Of this amount Council through taxes paid only $3,205., the Fire Association through fundraising paid the rest as well as 2,222 hours of volunteer labour by 66 men.
The total equipment at this time amounted to a 1946 Mercury truck with a 1000 gallon tank inherited from the Frankville Fire Brigade. This truck affectionately named “Lulabelle” was the complete source of water. Driving ‘Lulabelle’ however required special care, since there were no baffles in the tank, unless it was completely full, the movement of the water would push her through stop signs.
The Fire Department decided a better tanker was necessary, and in November of 1965 a 1959 GMC truck was purchased for $900. as well as a 1200 gallon tank. The money was borrowed from the bank using the signatures of 27 men as collateral. By June of 1966, the loan as well as interest was paid off Volunteers repaired the truck and tank to get it ready for use by the department.
December 14, 1965 was a great day for Kitley Fire Department. The new pumper arrived! This vehicle from King Seagrave carried 500 gallons of water and was equipped with a pump capable of delivering 625 gallons per minute, it was completely equipped with hose, nozzles, ladders and most of the other items a firefighter might need. A new Hale portable pump, to be used for filling the tankers also arrived in December. The pumper at a cost of $17,486. and the portable pump at $610. were both purchased by council.
The official opening of the Fire Hall took place on Saturday, June 223, 1966 at 2pm. Kitley Fire Department now had equipment which would meet all the requirements of the Fire Marshall’s Office.
In order to receive calls an alarm system was needed. Since no system was available through the Lewis Telephone System, the firefighters set up their own. They installed phones in all the firefighter’s homes and then strung their own wire to the old Frankville Fire Hall and to the office of the Lewis Telephone System. Even though the wire was old, the system for ringing the 25 phones was ‘state of art’ for 1965. The wire however was a different matter. Every weekend Ray Ireland and Ken Baker spent many hours climbing poles and splicing wires. Stories still circulate regarding the number of side cutters that Ray left on the cross arms of telephone poles.
The Fire Department would have been hard pressed to succeed without the assistance of the Firefighter’s Association. Since the formation of the Department, the Association has met regularly on the 3rd Monday of every month. Hey have been involved in almost continual fundraising for 20 years. They raised money through raffles, Walk-a-thons, New Year’s Eve dances, Wedding receptions and in numerous other ways. The association has raise many thousand dollars and spent it on necessary equipment for the Fire Department
Women’s Auxiliary to the Fire Department
On April 25, 1977, the Women’s Auxiliary was formed with Linda Brundige as its first president. Their objective was fund raising and they helped purchase pagers and turn out gear.
Extracts taken from the booklet “ Kitley Volunteer Fire Department- The first twenty five years- 1965-1985. Authors and publisher unknown. Thanks to the Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Department for this information.
Unfortunately our photos are not the best, if anyone has some good qualtiy photographs we would appreciate hearing from you.