To serve and protect the citizens of St Catharines from the ravages of fire, to prevent their property from becoming less valuable, and to allow for a continued quality of life through a knowledge of fire safety.
The St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services provides fire and emergency service for the City of St. Catharines. The highly trained individuals of the St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services deliver public education and fire safety programs, emergency response, including technical rescue, and ensure the City has current emergency/business continuity plans to maintain essential public services.
Although the first fire company was organized in 1822 it was 170 years ago today on Jan. 8, 1846 that the St. Catharines Fire Department was official established by council through By-law 22 "Fire Department".
As with many early settlements throughout North America, St. Catharines (Shipmans Corners) was not immune to devastating fires. In fact in 1819 much of the community was destroyed in a fire which swept through the village and surrounding woods. This fire contributed to the catalyst for the organization of the first fire company in 1822. The fire company was founded by Henry Mittleberg, originally from Montreal, and who later developed the Mills races which would became a boon to local industry in what is now our Downtown. As part of his efforts he raised monies which were used to purchase the first piece of firefighting apparatus, a hand drawn and operated Jenny Lind pump which took 16 men to operate and remained the sole piece of firefighting apparatus for 28 years.
Although St Catharines continued to be served by various fire companies over the next couple of decades it was in 1844 that the first incorporated Fire Company, the "Protection Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1" was formed. This was followed in 1846 with the passing of By-Law 9, "Relating to Fires (Prevent fires by accident) dated July 5 and followed on October 9, 1845 by-law 17, "To prevent accidents by Fires" was passed - exactly 26 years before the Great Chicago Fire. These by-laws were the first official fire prevention related activities in St Catharines.
On Jan. 8, 1846, 170 years ago, council brought all the separate fire companies under one banner and the St. Catharines Fire Department was official established by council through by-law 22 "Fire Department".
This by-law stated, "Whereas it is expedient to make regulations to organize the Fire Department, for extinguishing fires, and for regulating the conduct of fire, hook and ladder companies for the Town of St. Catharines are established."
The Fire Department was to consist of three Fire Wardens, to repair to any fire or fires immediately, and to take all proper measure for the extinguishment of any such fire or fires; and the said Fire Wardens are hereby empowered and authorized to cause to be demolished, or taken down, all buildings or fences which they may deem as necessary, etc."
Each Fire Company will consist of one Captain, one 1st Lieutenant, one 2nd Lieutenant, Secretary, Treasurer and one Engineer with men not to exceed 50 men in one company, or less than 20 men.
Officers are to wear a dress cap to distinguish them. Drills must be held once a month. Captains will enforce By-Laws and Regulations of the companies.
That the Engine Company, Public or Private, who shall arrive first at any fire and play water there on with their engine, shall be awarded a premium of 20 Shillings, if the Fire Wardens see fit. And to the Carter, or other person, who shall draw with his horse the fire engine there, shall be awarded the sum of 5 Shillings. Others arriving later would be paid 2 Shillings and 6 Pence.
On or before April 1, 1846, all owners, lessees or occupants (over 12 hours) must furnish, maintain and keep in good repair for event of fire - 1 bucket for 1 storey; 2 buckets for 2 stories, etc. to each hold 2 to 2 ½ gallons of water. Guilty of infractions or refusing to comply shall results in fines as set by the Police Board.
On November 2, 2013, the city's newest Fire Station, Station 4, was officially opened by the Mayor and Fire Chief. This station, in addition to housing one fire pumper, is also home to one spare vehicle, the departments training division and city training rooms as well as the main corporate data centre.