Station 445... Continued from page 39
opening the new Fire Station #3. The LaFrance pumper and quadruple combination ladder truck from the old hall on Dundas Street were transferred over to the new hall. The old building at 5000 Dundas Street West would be sold to offset the cost of the new facility. Etobicoke’s new “Central Station” was found to be well situated to provide quick service to both the new sub-divisions of Central Etobicoke as well as the busy Highway 27 (which would be greatly expanded into the present-day Highway 427 in the 1970’s). The increase in automobile extrications on both the many highways that serve Etobicoke, as well as its suburban streets, resulted in the Etobicoke Fire Department disbanding the aerial truck at Station 3 in May of 1989 and replacing it with a third rescue truck. This arrangement worked well and that rescue company remains in service to this day as Toronto Heavy Squad 445. The amalgamation of the Etobicoke Fire Department within the new Toronto Fire Services in 1998 resulted in major changes for Etobicoke Station #3. The Station would eventually be-
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come T.F.S. Station #445—the highest number in the new amalgamated numbering system. Senior staff were replaced with a West Command Platoon Chief, while a District Chief was later transferred into the hall from Station #443. The Etobicoke Communication Division moved out of Station 445 on November 18th, 2001 with the consolidation of communication services at 4330 Dufferin Street. Etobicoke’s lone quartermaster would also be reassigned to a new facility on Rotherham Avenue. From a small farming community in 1923, the fire fighters of Station #445 today protect a wide variety of both residential and industrial areas on the west side of the City of Toronto.
APPARATUS ASSIGNED TO STATION 445 Pumper 445 – A 2003 Spartan/Smeal triple combination pumper. Shop # 24111. Squad 445 – A 2004 Spartan/Seagrave heavy rescue squad. Shop # 28013. Car 44 – A 2003 Ford E350 District Chief’s van. Shop # 20277. Car 40 – A 2001 Chevrolet Impala. Shop # 20235.
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THE KIMBERLY-CLARK TRAGEDY It would be remiss to write an article focusing on the Etobicoke Fire Department without mentioning the recent 30th anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall Etobicoke’s Fire Fighters. The morning of Monday, December 4th, 1978 started early for fire fighters in the north-end of Etobicoke when they were dispatched to a report of a structure fire at the Kimberly-Clark paper warehouse at 10 Disco Road. The building had been the scene of two other recent, suspicious fires. In this instance, a fire had started among 600-pound, 15-foot-high rolls of paper. The building’s sprinkler system had essentially extinguished the blaze by the time crews from Stations 7 & 2 had arrived, but in the meantime the rolls of paper had become soaked with water—making them profoundly unstable. Factory supervisor Ross Peach would later testify that he warned fire fighters of the danger of the rolls of paper falling over but fire crews followed orders and placed a ground ladder against one of the stacks with the intent of getting above them. One of the swaying stacks collapsed on top of the fire fighters, crushing three men. District Chief Lloyd Janes was found almost immediately, while it would be some time before Captain Donald Kerr and Fire Fighter John Clark were located. All three were beyond help. Chief Janes had been a war veteran who had risen through the ranks of the New Toronto Fire Department to become Deputy Chief before that department was amalgamated with Etobicoke in 1967. Captain Kerr had joined the E.F.D. in 1955, while Fire Fighter Clark—who had just recently been married—was a fourteen year veteran. The tragedy remains the second largest one-time loss of life of Etobicoke Fire Fighters, surpassed only by the deaths of five volunteer firefighters in the swollen Humber River during Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
WINTER 2008 | FIRE WATCH 41
DRAWING BY FIRE FIGHTER CAMERON SHARPE - Profile on Page 32