Remembering the old days

Rose Willigar
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Fader looks back at his time with the Parrsboro fire department

Remembering the old days

Parrsboro - Imagine being a firefighter here more than years ago.

Gerald Jump Fader doesnt have to imagine.

Having joined the Parrsboro Fire Department at 16 years old in the early 50s, the 80-year-old Parrsboro resident recalls how things used to be.

The difference between then and now... he said. They have everything, we had nothing.

The corner of Victoria Street and Queen housed the fire hall for many years until a new building was erected and opened for business in 1988 on Willow Street.

In comparison to present day firefighting, Fader recalls fighting grass fires.

We used to gather brush in the fall every year. That way, when spring came and grass fires would get out of control, we would have something to beat the fire out with. We had no tanks on our trucks therefore using water was out of the question.

The Parrsboro Fire Department in the 1950s was armed with a 1936 truck from an old paving company and a 1940 old army truck, a trailer with a hose to haul behind one of the trucks and ladders.

There werent hydrants everywhere like there is today either. If there was a house fire in town, it would depend on where as to whether or not there was a nearby hydrant. On Western Avenue, there was one fire hydrant. In Whitehall there werent any, but then the water was right there, he said.

No one had phones, or vehicles and the only way we knew there was a fire was the whistle or bell would ring. When that happened you had to make it to the department on foot. The only protective gear we had when fighting fires was we were issued a long trench coat style raincoat, and that was it, the former firefighter said.

Because of the lack of equipment available in the 1950s, Fader said it was amazing how they fought fires at all.

He was a firefighter with the Parrsboro Volunteer Fire Department for a little over ten years before hanging up his raincoat.

Organizations: Parrsboro Volunteer Fire Department

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Victoria Street, Willow Street Western Avenue

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