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.”

Just Posted

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Good things come in small, strong, fast packages

Sierra Gillis hopes to represent Canada one day in fastball or rugby

New UVic study to track decline of insects in Metchosin

Traps will be set to catch and weigh flying insects

Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Paralympic dream for rider with cerebral palsy

Kim Scott’s goal is to represent Canada and won’t let anything, including cerebral palsy, get in her way

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Lower water pressure, discolouration expected Friday in Gorge-Tillicum area

McKenzie interchange work could affect water for up to a week

Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Motorists warned to be on the lookout for roadside workers

The most “Victoria” way to watch baseball?

HarbourCats fans can now watch games from double-decker buses

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

BREAKING: Cassie Sharpe adds world championship to Olympic gold

Mount Washington skier defends her crown in France, wins overall halfpipe title

Most Read