Our Department: Yesterday,Today and Tommorrow
The New Ross Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1946 and is the second oldest department in the Municipality of the District of Chester. The department started up with very basic equipment and only a few dedicated community members.
In 1946 the Farmers Association held a meeting. They came up with a fire hall for the New Ross area. The first fire hall was built to hold their original equipment. The building was only 20 ft x 30 ft, and not large enough to hold any fire trucks. Some basic equipment and a hose was bought from the War Assets Board for a cost of $254.27. Additionally, 3 sets of rubber boots were bought for $5.00 and a step ladder and 30 fire buckets were acquired.
Unfortunately at this time there was no fire truck within the Department. Mr. Phil Barkhouse therefore took the initiative and wrote to the War Assets Board to determine if any apparatus could be made available to New Ross. He was able to acquire a fire truck for the department in 1948. It was a 1945 Ford.
The First Fire Chief was Sperry Sefferns. The original members of the newly formed Department included Rex Meister,Fred Meister, Harold Meister, Pat Boylan, Roscoe Potter, Clarence Boylan, Basil Elliott, Leverette Baroni, Ronald Barkhouse, Otis Keddy, Cliff Whynot, Stewart Russell, Creighton Saunders, Frank Rines, John Collins,George Baker,Chester Elliott, Charles Meister, Albert Elliott, Lewis Elliott, Otis Meister, Cedric Mister, Gerald Thorpe, Edward Turner, Donald Baker, Anson Elliott, Scott Barkhouse, Arnold Boylan, Phil Barkhouse and Cecil Turner
In 1955 the fire department came up with an alarm system. A continuous blast meant it was a General Alarm. Three blasts, repeated four times meant there was a chimney fire. The call would go to a central switch board station that was answered by an operator. This call would set off the switch for the siren that was located at the Cross.
This alarm siren system was eventually replaced with improved communication systems. Good communication is very important to effective emergency response. In 1979, new radio equipment was purchased for the department followed by the acquistion of emergency pagers for the firefighters in1982. Later, in 1993, they hired Valley Communications to replace the existing fire phones. A few years later they became part of the Provincial Emergency 911 system.
In 1959 the first Board of Fire Commissioners was established. In the following year the department purchased a second fire truck. The second fire hall housed two trucks.This fire hall was built in 1959.
Having outgrown the existing fire hall, construction of the current fire station was completed in 1975.
Recognizing a community need, the New Ross Fire Department formed a rescue unit for response to medical and other critical non fire related emergencies. In 1984 the Department equipped a rescue unit using a van donated by Lindsey's Funeral Home.
In 1993 an Automatic External Defibrillator was donated by Mrs. Violet (Bud) Veinot. This is when women first joined the fire department to be on the medical team, soon after becoming firefighters as well.
The New Ross Volunteer Fire Department continued to grow over the years, acquiring apparatus and equipment as required to meet the community needs. A full complement of fire fighting equipment was eventually realized.
In 1992 Mrs. Violet (Bud) Veinot donated land behind the fire hall so they could extend the building. This addition was dedicated to Russell Hiltz. Needing more space for new apparatus and equipment, the Department completed the extension of the fire station in 1995.
The New Ross Volunteer Fire Department currently protects the citizens of the community of New Ross itself, and the surrounding areas, providing mutual aid to the other Departments within the Municipality of the District of Chester. The Department is also a proud member of the Kings County and Lunenburg County Mutual Aid Associations.
Over the years the Department responded to several veery serious incidents within our communityand continues to be prepared for others that may unfortunately threaten our citizens. The department is on call at all times for your protection.
This fire was at Pat Larder's Store which was started by a flue fire.
This fire occurred at the Murray Reeves Mill.
Today, the Department responds to over 100 emergency calls annually within our community, which include fires, motor vehicle collisions, technical rescue, medical first response, and other miscellaneous calls.
The Department also provides many non-emergency services, supplying information and training on public safety, public awareness, and technical expertise on a variety of issues. We work closely with our community, supporting the activities of many local organizations.
Over the next few years we recognize that we will be faced with new and even more challenging risks. The technology for responding to these situations continues to advance, especially in the area of safety for our volunteers. Through our active training programs we are committed to stay current with the most recent standards in emergency response.
Our volunteers work hard to provide these services to our community. We are proud of our community, its citizens and the role we play in protecting and preserving our way of life.
* Special thanks to Kelby Russell and Jeff Harvey for contributing much of the historical information.