Project 365 – day 71: Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

March 11 2012

I’ve often passed by the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal but never visited. I’m finding one of the great consequences of doing this blog, together with the 365 project, is that I’m discovering hidden treasures in Montreal. The Fire museum is such a treasure, and in my view, not promoted enough as a place to visit. Note though, that the museum is only open on Sunday’s between 1.30 and 4.30. There weren’t many visitors when we went today and had an auxiliary fireman provide us with a personal tour of the museum.

The museum is situated on blvd Saint-Laurent on the corner of ave Laurier Ouest and provides a great insight into the history of the Montreal fire service. Entry to the museum is free but there is a donation box for visitors to make a donation toward the upkeep of the museum.

The museum is located in a working firehouse (Station 30), so you never know, you may actually see the station respond to an alarm while visiting – not so during our visit though, which was good as it meant we got to view (and sit in) some modern day fire trucks – every small (and big) boy’s dream…and i’m still a kid at heart.

Fire hoses at the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

Fire hoses at the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

The heritage building housing the museum and Station 30 was originally the city hall, fire station and police station for the Town of St. Louis which merged into the City of Montreal in the early part of the 20th Century.

The Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

The Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

The Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

The Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

Entrance to the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

Entrance to the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal

Your entry to the museum is announced with the fire alarm bell sounding as you open the door – unless  you live in a mansion. I wouldn’t recommend having this bell installed in your home,

Fire alarm bell at the Fire Museum in Montréal

Fire alarm bell at the Fire Museum in Montréal

In the old days, fire call boxes were situated in the streets around town and were connected to a central control station that would then relay by telegraph the location of the fire. The museum has the original telegraph equipment that was used from the mid 1800′s. The call box and telegraph system was taken out of service in Montreal around 1975, – technology had a longer working life in the old days.

Original fire alarm system

Original fire alarm system

The gear mechanism of the original fire alarm system

The gear mechanism of the original fire alarm system

Original fire alarm  telegraph system

Original fire alarm telegraph system

In addition to the antique alarm system, there are a number of original fire fighting items on display, including the first hand pump purchased by the Montreal Fire Department in 1856.

First fire hand pump purchased by Montreal's Fire Department in 1856

First fire hand pump purchased by Montreal’s Fire Department in 1856

Antique hose reel

Antique hose reel

1887 Merryweather Steam Pumper

1887 Merryweather Steam Pumper

Antique firefighter lamp

Antique firefighter lamp

Old Fire helmet

Old Fire helmet

On display (and still functional) is an early automatic fire extinguisher produced by Guard-X.

Guard-X Automatic fire extinguisher

Guard-X Automatic fire extinguisher

There is a tribute to the emergency services personnel who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the forma of a flag containing the names of each emergency service personnel together with a piece of metal recovered from the twin towers.

Tribute to emergency personnel who gave their lives on 9/11

Tribute to emergency personnel who gave their lives on 9/11

Tribute to emergency personnel who gave their lives on 9/11

Tribute to emergency personnel who gave their lives on 9/11

Along one wall is a cabinet of the helmets of all the Montreal firefighters who have lost their lives since 1948.

The helmets of fallen Montreal Firefighters

The helmets of fallen Montreal Firefighters

As I mentioned, the museum is attached to a functioning fire station, so you also have the opportunity to get up close to modern day equipment. A visit to a fire station wouldn’t  be complete without seeing the iconic fireman’s pole.

Fireman's pole

Fireman’s pole

And of course, if the station is not currently attending a call, you get the chance to get a close up view of some modern-day firefighting equipment.

Firefighter's jacket

Firefighter’s jacket

Inside a fire engine

Inside a fire engine

430 Fire Engine ID plate

430 Fire Engine ID plate

283 Fire truck ID plate

283 Fire truck ID plate

Fire hoses

Fire hoses

Fire hose drying tower

Fire hose drying tower

If you haven’t visited the museum, I highly recommend it.

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

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Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

- Martin

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2 Comments

  1. Steve Garnett March 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Martin,
    Although we have never met, i would like to extend a warm and heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montreal for this article. I agree with you when you said in your article “not promoted enough as a place to visit”. We are in the process of generating ways to promote the Museum more. A place this beautiful need smore exposure.
    Once again thank you.

    Steve Garnett
    President Pompiers Auxiliairs de Montreal
    Director of the Fire Museum

    • Montreal in Pictures March 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      It was my sincere pleasure to write and post some pictures of your great Museum. I hope the post goes a little way in helping promote the Musée des Pompiers Auxiliaires de Montréal…If I can be of help in any other way, I would be more than happy to lend a helping hand. Let me know.

      Best regards,

      Martin