McGregor Says: Always room for a visitor at the firehall

Disappearance of the old Milner fire hall building stirs up memories for a retired fire chief

I drove through downtown Milner the other day and I noticed another piece of the town was gone.

The house and sheds on the southeast corner of Glover and 216th, have been torn down and the old rectangular building that had an old race car on the roof for many years has disappeared as well.

Many old timers will recall when that building was located a few feet south and proudly did its duty as the Milner Fire Hall, an important piece of fire protection area, Zone 1.

There were no shiny kitchen facilities where firefighters prepared gourmet firehouse meals.

There was no recreation area where local residents could hold a dance or a community dinner.

There were no sleeping quarters for firefighters and no offices or dispatch room.

It was just a garage for a fire truck with an air raid siren on the roof.

There were coat hooks along the back wall for heavy black coats and black fibre glass fire helmets, and barely enough room to walk around once the truck was backed in.

But to the farmers, the homeowners, and merchants, it was a first line of defence if a fire broke out in a hay loft or a garage or an over-filled oil stove.

Local men manned the hall and responded in the middle of the night, going to work tired and smelling of smoke the next day.

If the siren sounded during the day, they left the fields, the churches, the backyards or the grocery store to get that truck on the road.

On evenings or weekends, you seldom beat Evan Young into the driver seat because he lived right across the road, often driving to the fire in pyjamas under his big black coat and rubber boots.

The truck sits now in the museum at the Langley City Fire Hall, surrounded by a lot of other memorabilia from my career.

But I recall responding from that Milner Hall, strapped on the tailboard of the truck wearing blue jeans, a baseball cap and running shoes, looking around the side for the smoke.

With the siren blaring and the dome light flashing and the wind in your face, there is nothing more exciting. It’s all gone now, but big or small, every community needs a fire hall.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

 

Visitors Welcome

In every town, either big or small,

You’ll always find the fire hall;

See the hose tower silhouette against the sky,

Hear the snapping flags as the wind blows by.

If the doors are open, take a peek inside,

You’ll see trucks maintained with a sense of pride,

While the Firefighters complete their daily chores

Come on in, walk through the doors.

That’s when you’ll notice the keen bright smiles,

As they show you air packs, gauges and dials;

They’re eager to talk and show you around,

Lift your kids to the cab and gently back to the ground.

It’s not just a garage, a shop or a hall,

It’s a part of your life, it belongs to you all;

It’s a safe place of refuge, built on duty and care,

Always ready to serve you anytime, anywhere.