108 VFD Siren - 108 Mile Ranch, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 51° 43.633 W 121° 20.002
10U E 615105 N 5732013
Quick Description: The town of 108 Mile Ranch itself didn't really exist until 1969, when it blossomed forth under the guidance of a pair of real estate developers.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 7/25/2019 2:40:39 PM
Waymark Code: WM110R8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 2

Long Description:
A Volunteer Fire Department of sorts was established not long after construction of the town began, the fire hall not being completed until 1973. Originally consisting of the two bays on the west end (left end in the photos), in 1978 the fire hall was expanded from two bays to five bays, plus maintenance area and larger meeting area. Now the department has one more vehicle than it does bays in its fire hall.

Even before the fire hall was built, a makeshift group of volunteers were summoned to fires by telephone and by a siren. That was likely the siren which now rests atop the fire hall and probably is used today for the same purpose. Where it was mounted prior to construction of the fire hall and from whence it originally came we known not. It has now become a handy mounting spot for communications antennae.

The equipment roster is as follows:

  • Brush 2 - 2018 Ford F-550 4x4 / Hub (85/300/10F) (SN#5865-1244)
  • Tender 11 - 2001 Freightliner FL80 / Hub / American Lafrance (840/1570/30A/20B) (SN#2930-825)
  • Brush 11 - 1981 GMC K3500 / Hub (250/200)
  • Rescue 11 - 2009 Ford F550 / Hub (SN#4065-1064)
  • Engine 12 - 2012 Freightliner M2 106 / E-One (1250/1000)
  • Tender 12 - 2017 Freightliner M2 112 / Fort Garry (port./2500) (SN#M859)

108 VFD History
One thing you could always get people to agree on was the need for fire protection in our community. That was especially true back in 1970 when wood heat and chimney fires were much more common. In those first years, if you had a fire you called the Block Bros. Sales Office and a makeshift crew of local volunteers would be summoned by a siren and telephone. They would show up in their pickups, with shovels and buckets and try to help. The need for a fire hall with firefighting equipment was obvious to everyone. By December 1970 there were about 700 lots sold and almost 75 homes or cabins built. The community was still very small, but everyone was supportive and engaged in this effort to create an effective fire department. It was a time of bake sales, bingo, dances, and other fundraisers to support a new fire department.

In April 1971, plans were underway to have a water tank truck standing by at all times, along with hoses and some other fire suppression tools. By mid-1972 there were almost 300 buildings at the 108, including the motel and several stores. While planning had long been under way, the decision was taken by the 108 Council to get started. The 108 Volunteer Fire Department was officially formed in June and at that time had at its disposal one modified flat deck truck as well as Block Bros.’ tank truck. It was time to build a hall and buy the used fire truck Fire Chief Karl Lysell had been looking at. Block Bros. provided the land on Easzee Drive as well as another $3,000 worth of equipment. Olaf Hansen of 108 Supply was providing building materials at cost. There were many, many local volunteers who put in long hours to bring the 108 Fire Hall into being. The cost of construction for the original 1,000 square foot Hall was under $10,000.

We have had some memorable fire here at the 108 over the last few years. Two large fires at the 108 Resort, apparently arson related, happened in 2009 and 2010.

The wildfires of the summer of 2017 were of historical proportions for the South Cariboo region. We became aware of the first fire in the morning of July 6th when a fire was detected near the OSB plant NE of 100 Mile House. A small tower of smoke became visible and the call went out to neighbouring fire halls for mutual aid. It was busy on Watson Lake as choppers and skimmers buzzed around loading water to fight the incoming fire. But the winds grew the fire quickly and before the night was over the fire had grown to over 500 hectares. The next day around noon, the order to evacuate the 108 was delivered. Later that day the fire arrived, and two homes were lost on Block Drive. The tireless 108 fire department, plus a fortuitous wind change saved our community from disaster. To get a full story of the Gustafsen and Elephant Hill fires, check out the 100 Mile Free Press 2017 Fire Supplement.
From the 108 Ranch

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