Thursday, December 6, 2012

Halifax Explosion - 95th anniversary and Memorial

When two ships collided in Halifax Harbour on December 6, 1917, one ship caught fire. Halifax firefighters responded, but before they were able to extinguish the blaze, the ship Mont Blanc and its cargo of explosives and ammunition created what has been called the greatest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb. Nine firefighters died, along with  more than one thousand civilians and military personnel. The north end of the city was flattened,  leaving many thousands homeless and injured.(1)
Today, marking the 95th anniversary of that tragedy, there will be many civic ceremonies, one of which will take place at Halifax Regional Municipality Fire and Emergency Services, Station 4. In front of the station is the memorial stone which gives the names of the nine men killed in the explosion.
Just before the service this morning the Fire Department lined up some of its vehicles:

1. Station 4, with the granite memorial stone, just behind the flagpole. Unit 07-414U is a Dodge Dakota crew cab, classed as a Utility vehicle.

2. Veteran Thibault, carrying Number 1 (its official roster number is 76-11A)  was a long time front line engine. It has now been beautifully restored for ceremonial duty.

3. Roster number 34-04A is a Bickle engine, carefully preserved, and named "Queen" after its marathon duty fighting the Queen Hotel fire. (2)

4. Engine 4 is one of the latest series of rescue pumpers. 11-530E was built by Carl Thibault on a Spartan Metro Star chassis. It has a 1250 gpm pump and 500 gal tank, and is based at Station 4. 

(1) For a brief summary of the Halifax Explosion and Memorial Services, see:
(2) For more on the Queen Hotel fire see:

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