Lieutenant Craig Twidale shows off some of the historial artifacts in the Colwood Firefighters Historical Museum where much of the history of the Colwood Volunteer Fire Department is now stored.

Colwood’s heritage on display

Firefighters Historical Museum tells stories with video, displays and artifacts to stimulate the imagination

An old red bicycle hangs from the ceiling inside a building just off Metchosin Road.

Alongside is a plaque telling the story of Alan Emery, who pedalled the bike to the fire hall every time the siren wailed, calling Colwood’s volunteer firefighters into action. The human-powered transport is dubbed one of the region’s first emergency vehicles.

Hundreds of other pieces of history line the walls at the Colwood Firefighters Historical Museum. They are reminders of the history Colwood firefighters still value today, says Lt. Craig Twidale, one of the caretakers of the collection.

“I’ve learned a lot (from) the past and I’m helping preserve the memories of the fellow firefighters that have come and gone,” he says. “When my kids grow up (they can see) this is where I worked … When their kids and their grandkids come by, they can see (it too).”

A Buckle trailer pump issued to the Colwood Fire Brigade during World War II, old hand-pump fire extinguishers, hundreds of metres of retired fire hoses, a 1944 International Fire Truck and a 1955 one-ton 4 x 4 Power Wagon live at the museum, which sits next to Colwood’s No. 1 hall.

The facility is alive because of community support and volunteerism, Twidale says. “It makes you feel good. I enjoy learning about the department and where it has come from and where it’s going.”

The restored International pumper truck, particularly, has been a labour of love for the volunteer crew, he says.

“(It took) two months to hand-sand the ladder, then there was body work to painting, a year of work, most of it volunteer time. Still have a few little things to do.”

With artifacts from as early as 1939, when the Provincial Protection Committee formed Air-Raid Protection (ARP) units in Colwood, Langford and View Royal, the beginnings of the Colwood Volunteer Fire Department’s are preserved at the museum. Old helmets adorn the walls, and turnout gear that once didn’t even include full pants, just hip high boots, hang as if ready for an emergency. Firefighters in decades past wore boots with just a jacket overtop before entering burning buildings.

“I used to wear that stuff; I’ve been around a long time,” says Capt. Frank Gale, “and the science of fire has grown (by) leaps and bounds. It’s no longer ‘run into a burning building and squirt wet stuff on the red stuff.’ There’s quite a science and an art to attacking a fire.”

A firefighter in Colwood since 1975 and a city resident more than 54 years, Gale points out the history display is open to the public. He hopes more people take an interest in stories and artifacts illustrating the hard work and dedication of firefighters past.

“I wanted to service the community and I am very proud of Colwood, always have been,” he says.

“To keep part of the old Colwood is what I really want to do and what I have done all my life.

“You have to watch you don’t lose your heritage.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Sooke warm clothing program to expand to all SD62 elementary schools

Sooke volunteer works to keep all kids cozy on the playground

Police ready to evict tent city campers from Goldstream Park

Officers expected to begin moving in on campsite area at 11 a.m. Thursday morning

The Victoria International Wine Festival is back!

People can attend Sept. 20-21 at the Parkside Hotel and Spa

Victoria leads B.C. in rise of Employment Insurance recipients

Amount of people collecting EI surged in July

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

United Way asks Victoria to share local love

2018 campaign aims to raise another $5M

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Rural Canada Post carriers could see 25-per-cent pay hike: spokesman

An arbitrator has released a ruling in a long-standing pay equity dispute at Canada Post

Seventh day of searching for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts are concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Freeland brings optimism back to NAFTA talks

NAFTA talks resume in Washington

BC Children’s Hospital warns of possible PayPal fraud

Recipients are asked to forward the emails to PayPal

Still too many B.C. seniors in care facilities, or at home on drugs

Seniors Advocate watching use of antipsychotics, opioids

Officials: 3 killed in shooting at Maryland Rite Aid centre

FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an ‘active shooter situation’

The hunt for online herb: feds seek dope on hazy world of pot’s ‘cryptomarket’

In less than a month, Canada to be first industrialized country to legalize recreational marijuana

Most Read