She’ll wail again
Iconic fire department siren in Harbour Grace revitalized
In an era before pagers, cell phones and the like, members of the Harbour Grace Volunteer fire Brigade were alerted to calls for assistance by a blast from a siren. Two sirens were used to notify firefighters of emergencies.
One of these mammoth sirens was mounted on the old Liquor Store on Bannerman Street — now the Hydrant Club — and the other mounted on a tower atop Pike’s Hill — an area known locally as the plantation.
Over time, these were replaced by newer technology and taken down.
One was kept by the town to be used as the noontime siren and for the “emergency measures plan.” This lone siren was moved around due to renovations ended up on a pallet behind the S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium.
The Brigade’s retired membership — the Top of The Ladder Club (TOLC) — were upset with this neglect and decided to take on the project of restoring the unit and putting it back into service.
The unit was taken to apprentice electrician Gerald Sullivan Jr. who, following an inspection of the device, told the TOLC members that while it needed work the unit was very salvageable.
At the TOLC quarterly meetings a committee was formed and a motion passed to approach council to propose refurbishing the unit. Council was very receptive to the plan and found funding to have the unit refurbished.
It was agreed that the unit should be installed on the roof of the Fire Hall where it will once again return to its former duties, which included the noontime whistle that townsfolk will remember from the days of the fishery and the more important role of a blast announcing a call for assistance in the event of modern equipment failure or a disaster.
The restoration project fell into the hands of recreation and maintenance supervisor Dave Regular.
“We had the unit’s housing work completed by AirCo Sheet Metal Inc. in Green’s Harbour, Rebuilt Pumps and Motors from Carbonear rewound the motor and C and E Electrical from Harbour Grace ran the wiring for the project,” he said. “I would like to acknowledge the TOLC for there initiative in starting the project and the town council for its support of the restoration of the unit, there aren’t many like it around and I am proud to have been a part of the project.”
Regular, a 36-year active member of the brigade, explained the process to refurbish the unit.
The first blast of the noontime whistle is schedule for Tuesday, July 16th 2013 at the Fire Hall on Bannerman Street in Harbour Grace. Robert Lynch writes from Harbour Grace
and is a retired fire fighter and the president of the Top Of the Ladder Club