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Early years of the Kaleden Fire Department - Part two

Part 2 history of the Kaleden Volunteer FIre Department


In March of 1972 a committee, chaired by Bert Hall and residents who had a financial interest in the 1942 Chev fire truck, met to see if they could reactivate the fire department. It was decided that a department would have to be supported by taxpayers in order to survive, and  another referendum was held.  A news circular was sent out to all residents explaining the Kaleden Fire Protection proposal, which involved borrowing $32,000 over ten years through the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen. The May 13, 1972 referendum was 77 per cent favourable, and the Kaleden Fire Protection Area was formed. Bert Hall was appointed Chairman to implement the referendum, and the RDOS would acquire all real estate, equipment, etc., and lease it to the brigade.

In June 1972 the department was registered with the Registrar of Companies with a new constitution and bylaws and under the Societies Act became the Kaleden Volunteer Fire Department. With Bert Hall as Chairman, Erle Gardiner as Fire Chief, and 14 volunteers they began the task of building the department. Equipment that met the Fire Marshall’s minimum standards was ordered and plans for a fire hall were put out to tender.

The RDOS authorized the purchase of the ‘42 Chev four by four from the former Skaha West Fire Department. A number of residents gave firefighting a try and ultimately, a number of volunteers, including some women, made themselves available to take on the duties.

Erle Gardiner was  the department’s first chief and remained so until 1986. Garry Sharpe took on Deputy Chief’s duties, being replaced by Bob McKeever a few months later. He held the assistant chief postion until 1978.

It was decided at the first organizational meeting to hold practices every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. Practices to this day total 51 per year.

The first fire practice took place on July 26, 1972 at Bob McKeever’s farm, since the fire hall had not yet been constructed.

The KVFD holds its 40th anniversary open house on June 17 from 1-3 p.m.