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Langton’s Firefighting History

North Walsingham Volunteer Fire Brigade History

In the late 1940s, volunteers in North Walsingham took a discarded truck to create a functional fire truck. They received support from the township, and by 1948, when a fire was reported, the truck was in operation. The motor, initially problematic, was converted for fire service. Mr. Knutson remarked on the necessity of having such equipment to save buildings.

Initially, fire calls came from surrounding areas. The truck, often led by Roger Neyens or James, was the go-to vehicle until a critical incident where the hood flew off during a fire call, making it difficult to drive. Subsequently, a new 1949 Fargo truck was purchased and equipped with the necessary fire-fighting gear.

A garage was constructed behind the Orange Hall to house this truck. On November 21, 1950, Don Money relocated the garage to a lot purchased from Clayton Collings on James Street. An addition was later built for a furnace and meeting room. A cement block building was eventually constructed, featuring one door, with another door added later.

In 1953, a Volunteer Fire Brigade was formally organized. Fire equipment was purchased from Bickle-Seagrave of Woodstock and installed on the 1949 truck. Five concrete cisterns were built in the village to provide additional water for fighting fires. Residents were notified via newspaper about the firemen’s contact numbers, although Langton was still on the old Glen Meyer and Delhi party lines at the time.

The initial roster of firemen included:

  • Fire Chief: Roger Neyens
  • Others: Mark Lounsbury, Blake Thompson, Harry Maddel, Art Dewaele, Cyriel Dewaele, Don Money, George Emerick, Charles Jonckheere, and others.

In 1959, a resuscitator was donated to the Fire Department by the Langton Lions Club for emergency use. By 1961, the Township Council had funded the purchase of a second fire truck. In 1963, a new truck chassis was bought, and campaigns were launched to build a tanker. In 1969, the fire department was issued new uniforms, marking a new era of professionalism and readiness.

In 1970, a new pumper truck was purchased at a cost of $23,438, and the old pumper was sold. Fire Chief Fred Young retired in December 1972, and Max Moore took over as Chief in January 1973. Over the years, the department lost three volunteers: one in a truck accident in 1958, another in a hunting accident in 1969, and Larry Young, who passed away in May 1973.

In 1973, the firefighters purchased a plot in the Langton Baptist Cemetery and placed a fire hydrant with a plaque inscribed with the names and years of death of all deceased firemen. Each year on Decoration Day, firefighters place a wreath by this hydrant in their memory.

The Township of North Walsingham purchased a double lot at the corner of Queen and James Streets, demolished the existing house, and erected a new fire station at a total cost of $53,885.00. The new station included bays for trucks, a classroom, a kitchen, the Chief’s office, a storage room, and two washrooms. Construction by Gilvesy Construction Ltd. began in September 1973 and was completed in the spring of 1974. The official opening was held on April 6, 1974, with Lloyd O’Grady as Master of Ceremonies. The invocation and blessing were given by Rev. B. Robert and Rev. C. W. Gilvesy. A flag, donated by William Knowles, was raised during the ceremony. Greetings were brought by H. W. Hunter, Warden of Norfolk County, and George Ross, Coordinator of the Norfolk County Mutual Aid Fire System. The ribbon-cutting was done by Jerome Van De Slyke, Mayor of the Township of Norfolk.