Fire Engine

Three tradesmen standing around historic fire engine which has hand levers for them to push to pump water

In Doctor John Allen's statement of 1816, the first item in his inventory of Fort utensils is "1 Fire Engine - ₤70." This is the earliest known documentation of a fire engine in Canada west of Sault Ste. Marie. No further description of this specific machine has been found in any documented source. However, fire engines used in facilities like Fort William were almost certainly of the common manually operated hand pump variety that had a pressure tank and long brass nozzle mounted on top.

Many variations of this type of engine can be found in museums and in the contemporary scientific literature of the period. The style of the Fort's reproduction Newsham Fire Engine is based on the monetary value of the original engine which indicated that it was one of the largest, if not the largest, models available at that time. The engine measures 7' in length, 22.5" in width, and has a deck height of 25."

The Fort's fire engine is a fully operational reproduction that is able to pump 170 gallons per minute to a distance of 40 yards and is used in demonstrations on the historic site. Visitors can take part in exciting simulated fire drills as they provide the pumping power and man the bucket brigade. As many as twelve people can be employed pumping and the numbers on the bucket brigade are almost unlimited.