Our History

The Brantford Fire Department started in 1836, when Brantford was a small village. A fire safety group was formed by 40 to 50 men. They built a fire engine, which resembled a gooseneck. Soon the firefighters were nicknamed the Goose Neck Company. After a series of issues within the group, a petition from 114 citizens led to the formation of the Independent Fire Company. This Independent Fire Company was a group of 24 men and a captain. In 1857, more groups joined to form the United Fire Brigade. The members wore uniforms, consisting of a white shirt, black trousers and a white hat. When they were on duty, they wore leather helmets.

In 1854 the Independent Fire Co. was organized with a Captain and 24 men. In 1857 a series of companies amalgamated with the title, "United Fire Brigade".

In 1860 the Independent Hose Co. disbanded and the Washington Independent Engine Co. was organized in March, 1860, with Ignatius Cockshutt as President and 36 members.

Several issues developed between the different fire companies during the years. Council took action in 1871, to help them. The Hose Company and the Ladder Company competed in the Volunteer Firemen's tournament. The Hose Company won most competitions, and bitterness grew between the groups. As a result, council abolished all companies in 1888, and passed a by-law creating a permanent fire department. This department had 3 paid men and 25 runners. The three paid men were Chief G.D. Calder, D.J. Lewis and Sandy Bremner. On New Year's Day 1889, it became a brigade. This department included Chief G. D. Calder, Foreman William Allen, Assistant Foreman D. J. Lewis, and Firemen Wm. Gardner, George Bremner, Wm. Bremner, Dave Henderson, Fred Lang, Wm. Gillespie and Joe McIntyre.

The motor driven fire apparatus was introduced in 1916. In 1939, Brantford won first place in Ontario for the category of cities with a population of 25,000 to 100,000 and first place in Canada for the all city category.

Chiefs

  • Chief George Calder (1889 to 1898)
  • Chief Dan Lewis (1898 to 1938)
  • Chief Gordon Huff (1938 to 1954)
  • Chief William Lambert (1954 to 1961)
  • Chief Charles Townson (1961 to 1975)
  • Chief Wesley Wood (1975 to 1980)
  • Chief Joseph Simon (1980 to 1992)
  • Chief George Hammond (1992 to 1995)
  • Chief Ross Bennett (1995 to 2001)
  • Chief Garth Dix (2001 to 2011)
  • Chief Jeff McCormick (2011 to 2016)
  • Chief Shane Caskanette (2016-Present)