There has been a fire service in Bridgetown since its beginning as a community. Originally, the service was referred to as a "Fire Brigade". Water was obtained from several creeks and wells throughout the community, with fires being fought by a hand pump and buckets.
In 1873 the fire service in Bridgetown was referred to as a "Fire Engine Company" and consisted of "11 Gentlemen". By 1880 the company consisted of 19 "Members" led by Fire Warden, John Sanction. By this time and after several dry years, water was stored in three 7,000 gallon tanks located in various places throughout the town. In 1886 a water system was installed in Bridgetown, including 22 hydrants, and hoses came into general use for fighting fires. There was a fire engine house to the west of The Church of England (Anglican) on land owned by Jacob Foster. In 1901 a new fire house and council chambers were constructed on Middle St., which is currently a wood working shop. In 1929 the first modern fire truck was purchased, as was the first motorized pump.
in 1951 a new fire station was built on McKenna St. under the direction of Fire Chief W.A. Hicks. This project was in collaboration with Public Works with half of the building being for Fire Department use and the other for Public Works. During the 1980s Bridgetown's Public Works moved to their current location on Church St. allowing the fire department to expand. This building served the fire department well over the years, allowing us to expand the number of trucks we managed and allowing more space for functions and activities. However, in later years the building began to deteriorate. Coupled with the ever changing fire service, apparatus size and training requirements the building was not able to meet the needs of the department. In 2001, The department and the Town Council of Bridgetown formed a Fire Hall Committee to begin the process of building a replacement hall.
Information above compiled by Jerry Lutley
New Fire Station Project
In the 1990s it was well recognized that the Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department's station on McKenna St. was nearing the end of its life. With the ever changing fire service, training requirements and size of apparatus, the building was not meeting the needs of the department. The building was beginning to deteriorate as it was nearing 50 years old. Structural, plumbing and electrical systems would have to be upgraded to meet building code and make it safe. Even with the upgrades, space would still be an an issue. With such limited financial resources the department and The Town Council of Bridgetown formed a Fire Hall Committee in 2001 to begin the process of planning a new building.
The Fire Hall Committee met regularly for almost two years completing research, doing engineering consultations and visiting other new fire halls in the province. In May of 2003 the Fire Hall Committee sought further help from the community at large and formed a Fire Hall Fundraising Committee (FHFR). One of the primary goals of the FHFR Committee was to raise the necessary funds to provide the Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department with a debt free fire hall.
The fundraising efforts began in mid 2003 and continued throughout 2009. Although there were disappointments and road blocks along the way, the level of participation of the entire community was significant. Contributions were received from individuals, from local service clubs and community groups, from local and broader- based business entities, from fundraising efforts of small groups in the community and from donations in memory of loved ones. Added to the significant contributions of the community were the contributions of the fire department itself, the Town of Bridgetown, the Municipality of Annapolis County, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada.
New Fire Hall Project Promo Video 2006(C)
In the year 2007 the final design of the new building was approved by the committees involved as well as the Bridgetown Town Council.
On December 22nd, 2007 a sod turning ceremony was held at the new location on the west side of Bay Road on land previously occupied by the former Acadian Distillers. In February 2008 a call for expressions of interest from contractors was advertised and contractors were encouraged to make in-kind contributions to the project.
During 2009 and 2010 the construction work was carried out. Again there were delays and barriers to overcome but substantial completion of the building came in June 2010.
October 2nd, 2010 marked the official opening of the New Fire Hall at 31 Bay Rd. - an occasion that represented the patience, perseverance, and determination of the people in our community.
Information Obtained from
Chair, New Fire Hall Construction Committee