Vancouvers Bravest: 120 years of firefighting history
Vancouvers Bravest: 120 years of firefighting history
Vancouvers Bravest: 120 years of firefighting history

Vancouvers Bravest: 120 years of firefighting history


Regular price $29.95


By: Matches, Alex
ISBN: 9780888396150
Binding: Trade Paper 
Size: 11" X 8.5"
Pages: 352
Photos: 518
Illustrations: 15
Publication Date: 2007


PR Highlights: Signed copies available
PHOTO Highlights: 16-p color, 40 color/478 bw photos, 15 illus

Sample Chapter 

Description: Comprehensive yet concise, this account informs readers about the challenges faced and advances made by the city's dedicated department members since its inception in 1886.

Non-fiction, Vancouver's firefighting history, 1886 to present-day. On June 13, 1886-just two months after the city of Vancouver was incorporated-a raging fire obliterated the town as a tiny fire brigade tried to fight the wind-whipped blaze with axes, buckets, shovels and ladders. The disaster destroyed almost 1,000 buildings and left more than 2,000 people homeless. The city and the fire department alike had to rebuild. By 1911, the Vancouver Fire Department was rated one of the world's best behind London, England, and Leipzig, Germany. Vancouver's Bravest tells the story of the men (and now women) who helped develop this fire/rescue service into one of North America's finest.

A well-researched and comprehensive history of the department since its inception in 1886 to the present time, this volume informs the reader about the many challenges Vancouver City firefighters have had to face over the 120 years of the department's existence-challenges which have often been taken at great personal risk. This book's vast collection of rare photographs and well-told narrative traces the city's growth from the early hand-drawn wagons to the powerful diesel apparatus of today. A thorough history written in a concise style, the book is presented in a chronological format starting in the late 1800s and continuing up to present-day. The first chapter presents the years 1867 to 1899 and describes the beginnings of the department's formation. Chapter 2 covers the years 1900 to 1919, highlighting motorization and the war years. Chapter 3 covers 1920 to 1936, focusing on the Roaring Twenties, amalgamation and the department's 50th anniversary. Chapter 4 covers the years 1937 to 1945, new chiefs, another war and some major fires. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 cover the years 1946 up to1964, with information on post-war progress, new fireboats, new personnel and new goals in fire prevention. Chapters 8 and 9 focus on the years 1965 to 1974, covering major fires and new equipment. Chapters 10 and 11 look at the years 1975 to 1995, with a focus on advances in equipment, the city's major fires of that time, and the end of the fireboats. Chapters 12 and 13 look at the years 1996 to 2005, including comments on the incidents of September 11, 2001. There are also a number of appendices that offer details and lists of department members, firehalls, alarms received, and union presidents. In addition to the appendices, there are scores of historical photographs and a foreword by historian, author and journalist Chuck Davis. As the department's unofficial historian/archivist, author Alex Matches has been amassing and collecting the written and pictorial history for more than thirty-five years, compiling and safeguarding it for future generations.

Author Biography

As if being a firefighter with a last name like Matches wasn't challenge enough for Alex; he also took on the additional challenge by writing a book about the job he loved. After working with the department for thirty-three years, he retired as Battalion Chief from VFD in March, 1995.
He has always had an interest in history and in 1974 he self-published his first book, It Began with a Ronald, which showed the growth and development of Vancouver's fire apparatus up to that date. At the present time Alex is working on another pictorial history of Vancouver's fire apparatus that will cover 120 years of firefighting equipment.