Since the turn of the last century, through two World Wars and on into the new millennium, the Ladysmith Fire/Rescue Service has been protecting property and saving lives. This is their story.
|Picture this - you're a young man in Ladysmith at the turn of the last century, trying to carve out a life for yourself and your family. Chances are, you work in the coal mines - long, back-breaking hours of toil for very little wage. But you're building a dream, and you'll do anything to protect it.|
Some of your friends tell you that the town is forming a Volunteer Fire Brigade, and you happily join up, wanting to do your part to serve your fledgling community. You are among the fourteen men who form the first Ladysmith Fire Department. You are given a wool sweater with "LFD" stitched on the front, which you wear proudly. And this sweater will be your only protection when you are called, day or night, to extinguish a blaze.
You and your comrades do not have any easy task. This is a coal town - built of wood, with coal dust everywhere. Any spark, at any time, could ignite a catastrophe. There are no fire hydrants, only two "fire wells" set aside for the use of the volunteers. You have three large, heavy hose carts that must be pulled, often up steep hills, to reach a fire.
But you have taken an oath to protect the lives and property of the people of your community, and you do what is necessary, with whatever equipment you have, at no regard for your personal sacrifice.
You are a Firefighter.