Old time Belize City fire engines, The Old Fire Station Building in Belize City,  long ago
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Thursday October 6, 2016

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Old time Belize City fire engines, The Old Fire Station Building in Belize City, long ago

Noel Escalante said it was taken in 1970, another person said early 1900's, someone else suggested between 1965-1967 and yet another person thought it was in the 40's-50's. So not certain I guess. The three on the right look really old, but the one on the left seems not so old... (to me). The vintage fire engines were for display only, I think the photo was taken in 1970. The three fire trucks on the right are from the 1920's, the left one one is from the 1930's. They are LeFrance fire trucks. These were replaced with CrMichaels later on.

Taken at fire station, now Ocean Ferry terminal at the northern end of the swing bridge. The picture was taken from the intersection of North Front Street and Queen Street, in front of the Swing Bridge!An old beaten up one is still in the present fire station yard in Belize City. The Le France engines are now located in museums in England and Canada.

These were the fire trucks that used to be displayed proudly at the fire station at "bridge foot" on the north side of Belize City. The first Dennis Fire Truck, shown with the ladder, had arrived in British Honduras. The older three models were not in service in the 1970's. They were replaced with the Dennis model in the late 1960's.

In the 1970's two of the Le France fire engines were placed in the open yard at the Yaborough Fire Station. Prince Michael Of Kent came to Belize, representing the Queen for the handing over at the official Indipendence Ceremony in 1981. The Prince was ferried from the Belize International Airport to the Pierhead at The Port Of Belize by a British Army Helicopter. From the Pirehead he was taken in a small convoy to the Goverment House. When passing the Yaborough Fire Station, the Prince noticed the Le France Fire Engines sitting in the yard. The story goes that the Prince asked for them and they were given to him. Nevertheless, today the Le France Fire Engines are in a Museum somewhere in Britain.

Although the Le France fire engines were no longer being utilized to fight fires in the 1970's, they were still functional. The last time two of them were brought out was in the early 1970's to partake in the filming of a movie in front of The Eden Cinema. The lights and bell were made of Bronze. They were really shiny. To the right is a clear photo of what they looked like.

This was a scene I saw five days per week as I crossed the street to go to work at the Belize Estate & Produce Co. Usually, I would see the firemen sitting outside--one very fine gentleman fireman, Mr. Walter Bennett, I remember.

The old siren that the fire station sounded when there was a fire sounded like the air raid sirens. It's main purpose was to let the public get a general idea as to the location of a fire. A single long blast meant that the fire was on the north side of the city. Two short blasts meant that the fire was on the south side of the city. The siren was also used to signal the start of the annual Parade Of Fire Engines on Sept. 9th.

Fire bell #2: There used to be a bell on the wall by the phone. The firefighter on phone duty would ring this bell to alert his colleagues that they must assemble immediately to depart the station to respond to an emergency. Some of the firefighters may be at different locations within the station or sitting or standing outside. Others, especially at night, may be sleeping in the bedroom upstairs.

The main fire station is now near Atlantic Bank Freetown Branch or near Belcan Bridge.

Icilda Jennifer Coye Paredez: I remember my grand uncle Bertie Flowers from i was little he worked at the fire station keeping those engines in top condition, also the boats that docked on the river behind. The Heron H, & other boats that haul the barges either way when the bridge swings at 5:30 every morning & evening. He was an engineer & mechanic. I also remember the chained logs floating up the river with a man riding on top until they reach from the court house. Many of those logs are bedded way down in the river but the tally man said leave them there as thats what keeping the bank side intact.


Neddy Urbina: The vehicles are all English type since the driver sits on the right side. The building beside the Fire Station seems to be the Belize Estate Company. The vehicles are no doubt late 1930s and after the 1931 hurricane.

Penny Keating: When I visited Belize in the late 70s my dad took my son to the fire station. Since Dad was a volunteer fireman he got permission to let my son sit in the fire engine seat of one of those engines.

Jean Burn Yates: The Building next to the Fire Hall was the Belize Estate & Produce Co. where I worked for 3 years before I left Belize to be married in Canada in 1961. At the Fire Hall worked a very fine gentleman, Mr. Walter Bennett. He was a good friend of my mom and dad. I always saw him him sitting outside the door at the fire hall as I passed the Fire Hall to the office. He came to my home to say goodbye to me just before I left Belize. I look back and the memory of that visit touches me profoundly, now in my senior years.

Four fire engines to be delivered to Belize, British Honduras, October 8, 1919

A group of four cars recently shipped to Belize, British Honduras, Central America, by the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, Elmira, N. Y. When the Belize authorities determined to modernize and motorize their fire brigade they turned to the United States in search of suitable fire apparatus with which to equip their department. For pumping equipment two Type 10 pumping Engines were selected. These cars have powerful four cylinder motors and the pumps are capable of delivering 600 gallons per minute at 120 pounds pump pressure. The same type of chassis was used to mount two 60 gallon tanks and added a speedy and efficient chemical engine to their equipment. Their extremely narrow streets presented unusual difficulties for long wheel base trucks. In order to have a ladder truck that could be maneuvered successfully a four cylinder, four wheel tractor was used and a city service truck equipped with a rear steering device attached to the tractor. This rather unusual piece of apparatus can be driven through the most tortuous streets and alleys and negotiate the most difficult turns that can be encountered.

Top photograph courtesy Noel Escalante

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