An old picture, blown up to nearly life size, adorns the wall of the new fire station in Logan Lake. It’s a picture of a group of ordinary people, all new members of a new community, who volunteered their time and learned to be first responders. It’s not unlike it is in Logan Lake today as dedicated volunteers come together to keep their community safe.
The Logan Lake Volunteer Fire Department
Logan Lake’s original fire and ambulance station was in the building attached to City Hall. Reg Malmas, Frank Saunders, and Willis McBride were among the first members. Pauline Thompson also started with that early group, becoming the first woman volunteer with the Logan Lake Fire Department.
“We had one fire truck and one ambulance at that time,” Frank Saunders remembers. “In September they brought a person in from the coast – a trainer to train the guys in Logan Lake who wanted to be on the fire department. We went through the basic training for fire departments. How to handle hoses, how to hook up fire hydrants, how to get the water from the hydrant to the truck, out to the end of the other hose, through the pump and so on.”
Reg Malmas recalls the challenges when the town first opened and the weather started to get cold. “It [the firehall] had been built but there was no heat in it yet. So we had to drain the pump on the fire truck so it wouldn’t freeze. We had to have the tank full because we didn’t have any hydrants yet. They weren’t in existence early on.”
“And then our first little service station,” Malmas adds, “the Petro Can up on top of the hill across from the arena – that’s where the little plywood first service station was and that was our first fire call. This little place, the little building caught fire. We had Frank and myself and the others had just finished taking our training on this fire truck that the company had brought in from Quebec. There were no English words on the fire truck. The people who came and trained us with it had to explain what each one of [the buttons] did. Given where the fire hall is and where our house was, I could cut through the backyards and I was always first to the fire hall. So I got to drive,” he chuckles.
“So, this first call,” Malmas continues, “John Boe was the RCMP officer and he was there, and we come roaring up there and couple three people grab the little one-inch line. I’m trying to give them water and this thing’s coming off like this,” Malmas indicates a sad dribble of water, “because the pump hadn’t been primed and there was no English words [on the buttons] for primer. I finally figured out after I had the truck roaring at about 3000 rpm. ‘Oh! You pull this!’ I pulled it and it lifted a guy right off the ground and hit John Boe standing on the far side.”
Reg’s wife, Sheron, laughs, “Soaked all the people that were watching!”
“But we got the fire out!” laughs Reg.
In the beginning there were six emergency phones in town. These had a different number so when someone had an emergency they dialed the number and they were either looking for the fire department or the ambulance.
Sheron Malmas remembers the phones well, “There’s quite a story on that because everybody from the fire department would hang up if someone wanted an ambulance after we got the ambulance from the mine. So that’s why I went and got my first aid, I was the first woman on ambulance.”
The need for ambulance and first aid services in town during the week was recognized by the town’s doctor, Dr. Baker. “He said to me,” Sheron recalls, “‘You women have to do something about this. Because with the guys working…’”. There was a need and Sheron and others filled it.
“Rich Courtney was the original person,” she recalled. “He worked straight days so he was available in the evening and a number of us that had some first aid training were volunteers.”
When the town of Logan Lake came into existence it was the community and the volunteers who made it happen, much like it still is today.