Collection 2018-100 - Belleville Fire Department photographs

Identity area

Reference code

2018-100

Title

Belleville Fire Department photographs

Date(s)

  • c.1920-1990 (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

49 photographs

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Name of creator

Administrative history

The earliest recorded by-law No. 1 of the newly incorporated police village of Belleville (1836) outlined the fire regulations and safety measures for its residents. Able-bodied men were expected to assist with drawing the hand-pumped apparatus to the scene in all types of weather and bad road conditions. Every business and dwelling was expected to have a bucket to hand and assist with putting out fires.
By the 1860s the town of Belleville had horse-drawn equipment and a steam-powered pumping engine. The independent fire companies were under the direction of the Chief Engineer appointed by the town council. In 1878, a volunteer fire department was organized and the fire companies were merged into two with a Hook and Ladder company. Chief Engineer William H. Campbell was the first fire chief, serving in this capacity until his death in 1915.
The volunteer fire service that had protected Belleville since 1878 was organized on a permanent force basis on January 1, 1916 under Chief William Brown. At this time there were 10 men and two fire pumpers.
The 1920s was a transitional period for the Belleville Fire Department when the city approved the purchase of two motorized vehicles to replace horse-drawn equipment. The last horse was retired in 1926 with the purchase of a ladder truck.
From the 1920s onwards the Belleville Fire and Emergency Services has continued to respond to the changing needs of the municipality.

Archival history

The photographs were collected by Fire Chief Gerald Vance and his son, Captain Allen Vance.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Jeff Russett, grandson of Gerald Vance, in August 2018.

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Scope and content

Photographs of Belleville Fire Department activities and personnel.

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