The Old Fire House on Bridge Street—Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
It was in 1875 when the Town’s present Fire Company replaced earlier, and temporary groups, as this community’s fire fighting organization.
An attempt to form a Carleton Place Fire Company is of record as early as 1853, when the community had a population of five hundred. It was about 1868-1869 when the Company purchased a hand-pumper that required 40 men to work it. In order to give this unit a fair trail, the Renfrew Fire Brigade was invited to town.
They were a large, fine looking and proud, body of men. The trail took place on Central Bridge and as the men forced the breaks to cry of “heave her down”, and as the great stream rose towards the sky and dam, the late James Murphy exclaimed with great rapture: “The Ocean Wave”.
On that day, so well remembered, the Ocean Wave Fire Company was christened.
The hand-engine thus gave way to the steamer and the “sir John” was purchased. Later, yet another steamer was added to the Company’s fire fighting arsenal. With a first-class water works system, and with Mort Brown’s & Hawthorne Factory’s auxiliary power, we stood second to none as a well-equipped town.
As the great steamers and hand-pumpers started to disappear, the Town purchased its first motorized fire truck. This truck was a Reo Speedwagon and was equipped with a specialized tank that used a chemical mix to develop the required pressure.
The year was 1923, and since then, many fine trucks, some of which have been retired, have served this community faithfully. The Reo remains in the new Fire Hall, in full and proud working order. She has been honorably retired from active service and is now used for historic reference and parade duty.
The first Fire Hall was across from the present day Maple Leaf Dairy and this property was rented for $7.00 per month, for the period from 1st of December to the 1st of April. In 1902, the Company moved from Bridge Street to Mill Street and took up station in the Town Hall. The Company remained there until 1978, when a larger facility was built, further down Mill Street. In April of 1995, the Ocean Wave Company moved to its present site on Coleman Street.
Our Town’s Fire Company is second to none, with only the best equipment, Officers and Firefighters, all who are volunteers, proudly and faithfully serving the community.–
Ocean Wave Fire Dept site
Among the members of the company at the time were: W. Patterson, Alex. Wilson, William Glover, J. S. Nolan, William Rogers, William Pattie, J. R. Galvin, Nathaniel McNeely and others.