The Fire Depot

The volunteer fire department in Pargas was founded in 1894. The Fire Depot was completed 1907 and served as a fire station and a storage until 1926 when a new, larger firse station was completed at Kalkholmen. A horn blower would climb up to the tower on the Depot roof and alert firefighters to immediate assembly. Old fire-fighting equipment is still preserved in the depot.

After the Depot was vacated the church took over the building and used it for storage. The Depot was moved to its current location when the Söderby road was widened. The Fire Depot was made in to a fire museum in 1977 and the whole building was renovated in 1977.

Members of the Fire Brigade in Pargas, from the left G.A. Stenberg, K.R.Ljungqvist, J.V.Engblom, E.Jeansson & A.E. Danielsson.

The collection includes the volunteer fire department’s first water hose with a copper cistern, the first horse-drawn engine-pump from 1907 and a utensils trolley from 1912.

Brandkåristernas marsch längs med sundet ca 1920.
The march of the fire brigades in 1920, at a time there were two fire brigades in Pargas.

Firehazard in Pargas

The densely erected houses in Old Town constituted a real fire hazard. Houses and cottages were erected on church property without supervision or permission. The houses were timbered and covered with a birch bark roof. Any sparks that flew out from cracked chimneys and landed on the roof could cause a serious fire. Thatched roofs were considered most hazardous and were banned Old Town as early as in 1838, but it took a long time before all thatched roofs were replaced. At that time the only crude fire extiguisher was held in the church but was available for others to use. Given the circumstances, it is a miracle that the town was not ravaged by devastating fire, which was a relatively common occurence in  19th century Finland.

The Fire Depot in the 1910s.

In the early 20th century candles and gaslamps were gradually replaced by electric lights, but the new technology could sometimes be as fire hazardous, especially as people were not yet accustomed to it. In 1924 the shop owner, Fritjof Eklund´s house caught fire because a electric clothes ironer had been left plugged.

Fires frequently broke out at the lime kilns as fireing lime in hugh temperatures was part of the production process. The Pargas Lime Stone Company establised its own Industrial Fire Brigade in 1914. The Industrial Fire Brigade took charge of monitoring the mining industry. The two fire brigades often collaborated. One night in 1919 a cylinder kiln started burning at Kalkholmen and the fire was in danger of spreading to other buildings. The two fire brigades cooperated and managed to extinguish the fire before it spread. 

The fire in Bläsnäs village destroyed eight buildings and several outhouses in 1929.

There was a high frequency of fires in Pargas in 1929. A large fire that ravaged the Bläsnäs village was the most devastating fire in local history. The fire started from a spark from a chimney that landed on an old wood shingle roof. The fire spread from rooftops to rooftops and devastating a large part of Bläsnäs village. A house admist the fire was spared as it had a new metal sheet roof. People who came to the rescue formed a long chain of water from the beach and the fire was extinguished by throwing buckets of water over the fire.

Nedbränt hus i Bläsnäs maj 1929.
A burnt down house in Bläsnäs in 1929.

Later the same year in August a fire broke out in the house of the Fire Chief Petterson in Old Town. Petterson was able to fight the fire by himself and the damaged was limited to one room.