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History of the Teeterville Fire Department

On July 28, 1943, P.H. Grant and W.S. Seaton purchased a fire truck from Jarvis for $250. This truck, a 1928 Chevrolet with two chemical tanks and 100 feet of hose, was initially kept at Stan Seaton’s garage. A general meeting of Teeterville citizens on August 10, 1943, led to the formation of a fire brigade and solicited donations from all property owners, with M. Malcom elected as the first chief. By August 27, 1943, the brigade conducted its first fire drill with 14 members. Over the following years, the department acquired essential equipment such as ladders, pails, and shovels.

In 1945, after repeated requests, Windham Township Council granted the Teeterville Fire Department financial support, allowing it to serve most of the township. On January 24, 1946, the department purchased an air raid siren to alert firefighters. In 1947, they leased the Hazel Barnes building to house the fire truck. The Teeterville Fire Department Association was officially recognized by the province on May 23, 1949, following an application in 1948. The same year, the first single-bay fire hall was built at the site of the present-day fire hall, and two fire wells were installed in Teeterville.

By 1949-1950, the Township of Windham took over the expenses for the Teeterville Fire Department’s operations and upkeep, while the Teeterville Fire Department Association continued to provide manpower. In January 1949, W.S. Seaton became the new Fire Chief and started keeping records of fire calls. In May 1950, the department acquired its first new fire truck, a 1950 GMC with a triple combination Hale pump capable of 500 gallons per minute and a 405-gallon booster tank. Fireman’s pay was increased from $10 per call to $20, which covered the entire station.

In 1952, the fire hall was expanded to include two bays and an office area. In May 1954, the department added a new tanker truck, a 1953 GMC with a 1250-gallon tank and a front-mount, two-stage, 300-gallon per minute pump. By 1955, the brigade had grown to 21 members. In November 1955, a property numbering system was discussed and implemented over the next three years. In December 1956, the chief proposed a phone and siren system to alert firefighters.

The Teeterville Fire Department played an active role in the village’s centennial celebrations in July 1959 and created an ice rink behind the fire hall during the winter of 1960. In December 1960, the Windham Township Council agreed to compensate firemen for injuries not covered by the township insurance plan for the first five days. However, in December 1960, the Income Tax Department requested a review of the firemen’s income for 1958 and 1959, leading the members to consider resignation in protest.

In February 1963, with the help of the township, the Teeterville Fire Department Association drafted and adopted its constitution and by-laws. That same month, Robert Waldick was suspended from the department. On July 24, 1963, A. Blake gave a brief explanation of radioactive fallout and the use of detectors received from the E.M.O. The fire department again took an active role in Canadian Centennial events held in Teeterville in 1967.

By 1968, the township increased the firemen’s rate of pay to $40 per call and $25 per practice. In September 1969, the department acquired a new pumper truck with a 650-gallon per minute pump for $24,000. The points system for pay was discussed in June 1971 and adopted in August 1971, awarding points for attending fires and practices, with payments allotted accordingly. On April 1, 1974, the creation of the new regional government of Haldimand-Norfolk re-designated the Township of Windham as Ward 1 and the Teeterville station as Station 2 in the new Township of Delhi. A new tanker truck was delivered in April 1974, and A. Blake became the new chief of the Teeterville Fire Hall in July 1974.

In September 1974, D. Sutherland was appointed as the fire chief over the entire Township of Delhi, with each station having one chief and three captains. A retirement party was held for former chief and founder W.S. Seaton in January 1975. A. Blake resigned as chief due to health reasons in October 1975, and R. Bergman was recommended to the council as the new chief in November 1975, officially taking over in January 1976 and serving until 2003.

The fire number system was upgraded in May 1977, and in 1978, the department began transitioning to a radio system while still maintaining the phone system. By 1978, the brigade consisted of 21 men. In August 1979, a tornado hit northern Windham Township, and the fire department played a crucial role in the response. By November 1980, the old phone dispatch system was replaced with a central dispatch in Simcoe, using individual monitors and pagers.

In 1981, firefighters were required to have a D license to drive the trucks. In March 1982, the Windham Township Lions donated a Ford van for carrying extra equipment. A regional fire school was planned for the following year in September 1982. In December 1985, firemen began paying for drinks in the fire hall, and as of January 1, 1986, no fireman was allowed to have a beard. The fire area was renumbered again in April 1987.

In October 1989, a cascade system and MSA test bench were installed in the hall. Smoking was banned in the halls in January 1990. The Hagersville Tire Fire in 1990 saw Chief R. Bergman spending 17 days as fire ground commander, with many hours contributed by firefighters. In December 1990, the department received a new pumper truck with an International chassis, an 840-gallon per minute pump, and a 1000-gallon tank. Chief W. Wittet resigned in December 1991, and R.C. Smith became the new Chief of Windham Township.

By January 1991, new radios and a telephone interconnect system were installed. In December 1991, the department received a new pumper, a 1990 International with an E1 body, an 840-gallon per minute Hale pump, and a 1000-gallon tank with fold-down ladders. In 1995, the old tanker was refurbished instead of replaced. A new 911 system was implemented in August 1995 and became operational in November 1997. The fire department installed a dry hydrant at the Teeterville dam in September 1997.

On January 1, 2001, the Township of Delhi was dissolved, and the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk was split into two counties: Haldimand and Norfolk. Teeterville became Station 4 within Norfolk County, with D. Prevost as the overall chief. The new fire hall was opened in February 2002, built on the site of the old hall, with trucks temporarily housed in a warehouse owned by D. Hare. Chief R. Bergman retired on November 30, 2002, and M. Bergman became the acting chief, officially taking over in December 2003.

In 2003, the department purchased auto extrication equipment, known as the “Jaws of Life.” By June 2004, the remaining MSA packs were replaced with Scott packs, and the brigade had 19 members. A new E1 tanker was acquired in May 2005 for $315,000. The fire department boundaries were adjusted in the fall of 2005 after some contention. Simcoe Station 1 was granted union status in 2006, and the province of Ontario banned smoking in public places and workplaces. In September 2006, D. Prevost resigned as Chief of Norfolk, and R. Shafto became the interim chief, with T. Dicks eventually becoming the new chief of Norfolk.

New fire areas were established in 2007, and Norfolk’s dispatching center transitioned from London to Tillsonburg Fire Department in October 2007. R. Fakelman was suspended in November 2007. In 2008, the Windham Township Lions donated an external defibrillator to the station, and alcohol was banned from all fire stations starting January 1, 2008.

In 2009, a new 100-foot radio tower was installed at the Teeterville Fire Station. The station celebrated its 150th anniversary in June 2009, playing an active role in the celebrations. By 2010, the station began responding to major medical calls. A new rescue vehicle, Rescue Four, was put into service in November 2010. A new pumper for Teeterville was approved in 2010 and delivered in January 2012, featuring a custom cab that seats six and a 6000-liter per minute pump. The department switched to a new pay system in 2011-2012, eliminating the old point system in favor of hourly rates for calls and training.

In October 2012, St. Catharines took over dispatching fire calls from Tillsonburg. The training standards began transitioning to NFPA certification in 2014. A new simulcast radio system improved communication, and three new dry hydrants were installed in 2014. Additional dry hydrants were installed in 2015