Kenora Firefighters

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Fire Fighters

[Additional information regarding fire fighters and fire fighting and major fires in Kenora including pictures that could be added to this site would be appreciated and may be sent to]

As in any small community fire fighters were first volunteers who eventually organized themselves in brigades in each of the three constituent towns, Rat Portage, Keewatin, and Jeffray Mellick.

The first fire hall in Rat Portage was located on the west side of Main Street, south of Second Street. It burned down in 1885. The next hall was build at the foot of second street. It too burned down two years later in 1887.

The next hall built in 1887 was located on the west side of main street on land donated by the Hudson's Bay Company on the site of the current (2013) Kenora Library. This hall was an impressive stone structure. It had a large room for fire appliances, a large public hall, a municipal and clerk's office. The fire Brigade by this date boasted 25 dedicated citizens. The equipment consisted of a Donald steam engine, three hose reel with 2500 feet of hose as well as axes and ladders. This building as well burned down on Jan. 19th 1912.

Later in 1912 a new Fire Hall was built on the North side of Second St. opposite Fourth Ave and this station continued in use over the next hundred years until 2012. In 2013 it was converted into a Micro Brewery called Lake of the Woods Brewery.

The exact tenure of volunteer fire chiefs has not yet been ascertained.

George Barnes an early fire chief

F.A. Hudson was Fire Chief from 1912-1917.

Baxter was chief from September 1917 to Septermber 1917.

The first paid fire chief was Fred Dubois (Frederick Alfred Dubois 4th child of Joseph Dubois and Angelique Johnson born January 4 1880 in Sault Sainte Marie. He married Rose Dale (b. Jul 1894, daughter of James Dale and Sarah Douglas) in Sault Ste Marie on 14 Aug. 1912.

As yet it is uncertain as to when he arrived in Kenora but he acted as Kenora's first paid Fire chief from 1917 to 1946. His son B. Dubois also acted as chief from 1969 to 1978.

Writing of Chief Fred Dubois in Lake of the Woods, History & Heritage, page 26 Stuart King indicates,

Fire chief Fred Dubois also had a staff of four to assist him that year (1933)- plus a number of volunteers , some of whom slept in second floor rooms of the fire hall. Horse drawn rigs were phased out in 1932, which also witnessed the retirement of Bill Setterington, who looked after the two teams of well trained horses.

Fire Chief Dubois lived for his work; teaching and preaching prevention to his capable staff which included Reg Davie, Keith Affleck, Earnie Chandonet, son Buster, Harold Skead and others. He talked "shop" at home when I boarded with the family stressing the need for a meaningful safety code.

Chief R. Davis followed Fred Dubois serving from 1946 to 1965.

Chief L. Whiting served from 1965 to 1969.

"Buster" (Frederick James Bernard) Dubois, first son of the first paid chief Fed Dubois, born 17th August 1913 become fire chief from 1969 to 1978.

Chief G.Neale served from 1978 to ?

The current Fire Chief is Warren F. Brinkman

The current fire Hall called Fire Station 1, located at 100 Fourteenth St N. was constructed in 2012.

In 2013 The City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Service is deployed from four Fire Stations, with each Station having an initial geographic response area, defined as a Fire District.

Fire Station 1 (Administration Headquarters)
100 14th Street North, P9N 4M9
Business Calls: 807-467-2090
One is the only station that is staffed by career fire fighting personnel twenty-four hours per day, three hundred and sixty-five days per year.

Fire Station 2
214 Eighth Street South (Keewatin)
Business Calls: 807-547-2905
Two is staffed by volunteer firefighters on an on-call basis.

Fire Station 3
100 14th Street North, P9N 4M9
Business Calls: 807-467-2090
Three is staffed by volunteer firefighters on an on-call basis.

Fire Station 4
2866 Highway 17 East
Business Calls: 807-548-5801
Four is staffed by volunteer firefighters on an on-call basis. This Station is located on Highway 17 East, approximately 8 kilometres from the center of the City of Kenora.

Fire Chiefs

Chief F.A. Hudson 1912-1917
Chief Baxter Jan 1917-Sept 1917
Chief Fred Dubois 1917-1946
Chief R. Davis 1946-1965
Chief L. Whiting 1965-1969
Chief B. Dubois 1969-1978
Chief G. Neale 1978-
Chief Warren F. Brinkman -2013

As well there have been Chief Cowie Engstrom and Chief Ed White whose dates are as yet unknown to me.


Common Grounds Committee, Common Ground: Stories of Lake of the Woods, Kenora: Lake of the Woods Museum, 2010

Hylnski, Sharon, Cheryl Barnard, Bonnie Bowiec and Lori Nelson, Early Settlers of Rat Portage, 1881-82, Call Letters in Kenora Public Library 971.311HLY

King, Stuart Lake of the Woods, History & Heritage, October 1993

Mead, Florence, Through the Kenora Gateway, Kenora: Bilko Press, 1981

Nelson, Patricia and Lori (1978) A Colloquial History of the Lake of the Woods. Kenora Public Library 971.311

Robertson, Heather & Melinda McCracken Magical, Mysterious Lake of the Woods, Winnipeg: Heartlands Associates, 2003