The Narromine Fire Station marks a milestone today, turning 80 years old.
Located next to the swimming pool in Burroway Street, the station was officially opened on June 29 1932 by TJ Smith
Captain Ewen Jones said the Narromine Brigade celebrated the occasion at its regular fortnightly drill when the brigade was issued with the latest “Drager” breathing apparatus sets.
“The Narromine Brigade was first issued with breathing apparatus sets in 1984,” Captain Jones noted.
“We all enjoyed a cup of tea and cake to mark the occasion and Inspector Robert Jansen from the Dubbo Zone Office was also in attendance.”
The initial Narromine Fire Brigade was formed on November 26 1929 and operated from AT Hawkins’ Engineering Works in Derribong Street until the Burroway Street Fire Station was built.
Records identify that the first major fire which occurred in Narromine was in 1899 when a business known as The Arcade was completely destroyed by fire.
The fire covered an area from the corner of Meringo Street to what is now known as the Blue Cross Church (formerly the Narromine Holden site). Eleven businesses with residences attached were destroyed by the fire.
The next big fire in 1921 occurred in the area from the Blue Cross Church (formerly the Narromine Holden) site to where the Commonwealth Bank is now located.
“It’s clear to see that without a designated fire service that destruction from fire which cannot be contained leaves the community almost defenceless,” Captain Jones said.
A third fire in 1923 burned from the ANZ Bank corner in Dandaloo Street into Burroway Street and was finally stopped at the Imperial Hotel - further emphasising the need for a Narromine Fire Brigade.
Later in 1923 a fire commenced in a baker’s shop and destroyed an adjoining butchery shop, cafe, fruit shop, wool and hide store.
These buildings were also located in Dandaloo Street between the Western Stores and the Royal Hotel.
The latter end of 1938 and early 1939 brought a number of fires. Several houses were burned down and in February 1939 the Macquarie Stores were completely gutted.
Treseders Mill was destroyed by fire in 1951. The mill was again destroyed by fire in 1981severely disrupting production.
In 1964 the flour mill, the largest building in Narromine, was totally destroyed by fire.
This four-storey building certainly gave arriving crews a challenge to extinguish the blaze.
On January 13 1967 the Timbrebongie Shire office was partially destroyed by fire and later that month the grandstand at the showground was totally destroyed by fire.
On Wednesday September 13 1967 the Western Stores, which was recently acquired by Myer, was also destroyed by fire.
The Narromine Fire Brigade, assisted by the Narromine Airport tender did well to keep the intense fire from spreading to the adjoining butcher’s shop, pharmacy and café which all formed the same building.
In 1992 the Mungeribar Station homestead caught on fire, totally destroying the building.
Brigades from Narromine, Dubbo and Trangie attended the scene. Investigations into the cause involved the Zone Commander from Dubbo, a Fire Investigation Officer from Sydney and an insurance investigator.
“The last big fire that the Narromine Brigade has faced was in 1996 at the Imperial Hotel,” Captain Jones said.
“The building was totally destroyed by fire, however crews were able to save the front façade of the hotel which has since been re-built.”
More recent incidents for the Narromine Brigade include; Narromine High School Fire December 22 2009, CDEP Shed Fire April 29 2010, vehicle crashed into ANZ Bank on December 10 2010, three house fires in one week during February 2011 and Pioneer Seeds Fire April 3
Commissioner of Fire & Rescue Greg Mullins AFSM visited Narromine Fire Station on March 7 2012, and for the third year a combined Open Day was held with the Rural Fire Service on May 5 2012.
Throughout the years there have been a number of extensions and renovations to the Narromine Fire Station.
“The most recent extensions were significant to the original building and today we now have one of the most modern stations in rural brigades in New South Wales,” Captain Jones said.
The then Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly opened the extensions to the Narromine Fire Station on September 10 2004 and the station is now equipped with a separate motor bay, cleaning area, office and locker room and the original motor bay has been turned into a mess room/lecture room combination.
“The roles required from a firefighter nowadays are far more complex and demanding than previously,” Captain Jones said.
“We’re not only a service that provides fire protection, but we also provide secondary rescue capability, and HAZMAT incident response.”
Retired Captain Ted Jackson (deceased) served Narromine Brigade for 46 years, followed by current Deputy Captain Bob Treseder also with 46 years, and Retired Captain Robert Hawkins 40 years service, are the longest-serving members on record at 401 Station Narromine.
Currently the brigade has 12 members; a captain and 11 retained firefighters.
The honour board in the station acknowledges the dedication from 104 firefighters who have resided in the Narromine town and were willing and able to protect their community.