This photo of the Peninsula Fire Department was taken in 1945 at the “Fire Barn” on Center Road, just north of the current fire department in Mapleton on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Pictured, standing left to right: Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie.
The fire truck was built by volunteers, most of whom had recently returned home from World War II. While the men fought the fires, the auxiliary group, coordinated by Gwen Watson (wife of Claude; they owned Watson’s Store in Mapleton) brought coffee, food, blankets or whatever was needed.
As soon as an emergency call was received by “Central” (Peninsula Telephone Company), the switchboard operator would ring all the phone lines of the volunteers and let them know the location of the emergency. In 1953, when the phone system went to rotary dial, ten red “fire phones” were installed in homes around the Mapleton area. In an emergency, those ten volunteers were called and in turn, notified others.
A siren positioned atop a 40-foot pole at the fire station notified folks in the surrounding countryside. There were no issues with alerting people, as most of the farming community worked outside in the orchards and fields. One long blast meant the fire was north of Mapleton, and two short blasts sent the volunteers south of Mapleton.
- Classic prints never go out of style, even in the digital age. This print is made with high-quality photo paper in a lustre finish (between glossy and matte). Available in 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 sizes.