In 1952, an apple barn fire caused a significant loss on Long Reach. Despite the best efforts of many people, it was obvious that the tools and organization required to battle such a blaze were not available. The community responded by purchasing a portable pump along with a few lengths of second hand hose. The pump arrived at Westfield Railroad Station with a $5.00 outstanding balance due COD. The the members did a quick round of residences, passing the hat to obtain our first piece of equipment The equipment was kept in various places in the Long Reach area; it was a simple start for what would become the Long Reach Fire Department.
The first big test for the new equipment was to extinguish a fire that threatened Fred Long's house. Ray Redmore, one of the original members of the department said it worked well, as it shot a stream of water right over the roof of the house, However, when Russell White, another founding member, used the pump on another occasion he "Blew the hell out of it", according to Ray.
In 1972, the department expanded with the community's purchase of a 1959 GMC forestry truck. This first response vehicle carried 800 gallons of water and was a step up from the portable pump. However, with nowhere to store the truck in cold weather it had to be drained after Halloween, and remain empty until spring. A solution was found in 1981 when a steel 30 x 30 Quonset type building was purchased and erected by the department volunteers. The land for the building was donated by George and Hazel Reid. This became the first Long Reach fire hall, providing a year-round home for the truck and equipment.
In 1984 the department's growing needs required the purchase of another truck; a 1979 dodge 3/4 ton was bought and the volunteers equipped it with a 250 gal tank and a portable pump. In 1987 the forestry truck was replaced with a 1987 GMC 7000 from MetalFab with a 1350 gallon tank and a 375 GPM pump - a big step forward for a department with growing responsibilities.
In 1991, with its full complement of emergency vehicles, equipment and large group of volunteers, Long Reach needed a "real" firehall - one that could accommodate their needs. Again, volunteers and the community joined together, designing and building a 40’ x 90’ fire station, with 3 bays, a training room, office, kitchen, and bathrooms.
In 1992 the Dodge half-ton was refurbished; volunteers lengthened the frame, changed the rear end to dual wheel, and added an aluminum cabinet type body. That same year a 1985 Ford with a Detroit Diesel engine was purchased. Bronwyn Crandall, a local artist, painted huge images of the cartoon characters "Tasmanian Devil" and "Yosemite Sam" on the sides of the tanker, making it a big hit with children at parades and at fire prevention sessions at local schools
In 2004, we retired our cartoon tanker, and replaced it with a 2003 Stirling which carries a 1200 gallon tank and a 1050 GPM pump. We also were donated a Ford van which had formerly been used as an ambulance to use as a command centre and utility vehicle.
In 2009, Chief Bud White retired after 45 years at the post. He continues to serve as a firefighter on the department, recently receiving an Exemplary Service medal for 65 years of service. The role of Chief was passed to Randy Gowlett. who commands a contingent of 22 volunteers covering approximately 40 miles from the Westfield ferry to Kingston.
At the end of 2010, our 1987 GMC pumper/tanker from MetalFab was decommissioned and replaced with a 2009 Freightliner. This truck is essentially the mate to the 2003 Sterling.
In the fall of 2014, the residents of our coverage area voted to give the fire department the mandate to perform "Remote Rescue", this allows us to provide rescue service to hikers, hunters, ATV drivers and others who are injured or in need of help in the more remote areas of the Kingston Peninsula. Eventually, we will also be able to provide water and ice rescue service for our lakes and rivers. In the past, we were often dispatched for these types of calls, but until we got the mandate, our members had to perform these rescues using their personal vehicles and equipment, and without any coverage from the department or province. Since receiving the mandate, members have become trained in advanced medical first aid and rope rescue, and have already had calls where this training has been put to use.
As the role of the department continued to expand, the additional equipment requirements, along with the increasing size of apparatus, meant that the department was once again outgrowing it's station. In the summer of 2016, two bays were added, and the station received some minor renovations and maintenance. The most noticeable change is that our original grey siding has been changed to a brick red color. The additional space allows the department to have a proper work-site for the maintenance of our self contained breathing apparatus, as well as enough room to work around the vehicles.