A History of the Guyra Fire Brigade

Guyra's first fire truck
09th Jul 2024

Guyra has been remarkably free of major destruction by fire.
“A disastrous fire occurred on the evening of Tuesday, 24th March 1925 when a produce and timber shed belonging to R. Pearson and Sons was burnt to the ground. The shed, 85 feet by 60 feet, contained about fourteen tons of hay, three tons of rock salt, a quantity of wheat and 17,000 feet of pine lining and flooring boards.
“In the timber shed, almost adjoining, the fine engine, 30hp, saws and belting were destroyed, the cost of replacing these, Mr. Pearson estimates will amount to something like 1,200 pounds. The total loss was some 2,000 pounds, which was only partly covered by insurance. The business was the oldest in the district.”
Guyra Argus March 1925
Then in November 1928 a big fire burnt out four shops in Bradley Street. The report in the Guyra Argus states:
“On Sunday morning, a little before 2 o’clock Mr. W. Little Jnr, while working in his father’s bakery, discovered a fire in premises adjoining the New State Stores. He at once gave the alarm and in a short time fully a hundred people were on the spot.
“The buildings destroyed were occupied by:-Mr. Davis (Confectioner and Green Grocer), Mr. Lavis’ Billiard Room, Mr. E.W. Moore (Hairdresser and Tobacconist), A. McDonald & Son (Tailor), C.H. Chapman (Boot Maker) and R. Wilson (Cycle Agent).
“The sample room at the rear belonging to Tattersall’s Hotel was also razed to the ground. All the destroyed buildings were of wood, being among the first to be built in the street. Messrs. R.Hall & Son Ltd owned the buildings”
After this destructive outbreak, steps were taken with the view to the formation of a Guyra Fire Brigade
Almost a year later in November 1929 the Guyra Fire Brigade was formed. A second-hand engine and accessories arrived from Sydney and temporary premises were obtained from Mr. L.P Archibald.
The first brigade members were L.P. Archibald (Captain), W.A. Roberts, A & L Helyer, P. Jones, D.H. McDonald, Jim McDonald, H. Townend and R. Dixon.
The first fire which they attended was at Pringle and Stevenson’s (Wool and Skin Buyer) in January 1931.
A new ‘Dennis 250’ Fire Engine was received in January 1945.
Guyra Argus reported on 8th July 1945:
“Blaze in Bradley street. Residents were awakened by the clanging of the fire bell and shriek of the siren at about 12.45 o’clock (am), to see flames mounting skyward from Jones Bros footwear shop and adjoining dwellings.
“By the time the brigade arrived and hose was connected ready for action, the fire had enveloped the main portion of the shop. The new Dennis fire engine used for the first time functioned perfectly, and when some 12,000 or 14,000 gallons of water had been played on to the burning timbers the brigade had the satisfaction of checking the fire and saving the line of space rooms on the south side.
“After getting the fire under control the brigade remained on the job until about 5 o’clock (am), putting out the burning coals.
“The cold was intense, freezing the water which remained in the long hose trailed in the street and rendering it impossible to coil. The clothing worn by the fireman also crackled with ice, and a nip of rum, served to each of them by the captain, prior to dispersal, was much appreciated.”

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