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History of the
WEST VANCOUVER FIRE SERVICE
Shop Number 34
After the Second World War, Willys tried to find new markets for their jeeps by changing them from Army vehicles into miniature fire trucks. Most of them went to small rural communities near the mountains or forests. We know of two others in British Columbia, one belonging to Sproat lake Volunteer Fire Department on Vancouver Island and the other is at Kitimat Fire Dept. and has been restored.
Ours was purchased by the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver and actively served the West Vancouver Fire Department for over forty years. It was given the shop No. 34 and was placed in service in 1948 as a back up pumper and brush fire vehicle, responding mostly in the Horseshoe Bay Area.
It is a ¼ ton, 4cylinder, 4 wheel drive with a 160 GPM Barton fire pump, made by American March Pumps Inc.
It was originally equipped with a 65 gallon water tank, 2 -10ft. hard suctions, 200 ft. of pre-connected rolled hard rubber hose and an odd size three section, two fly, 34ft. aluminum extension ladder. This equipment was removed while the Jeep was in service as it made the vehicle unstable and prone to rollovers.
It was taken out of service in 1989 and donated to the West Vancouver Fire Service Museum and Archives Society. The society took on the restoration in 1990 with the help of a generous donation from Margaret “Billy” Langley, wife of West Van’s former Mayor, Art Langley. The volunteer time involved in the restoration is estimated at over 6,000 hours.
The last call for #34 was a car fire on the upper parking lot at Park Royal North. It is still the only fire truck in West Vancouver low enough to get under the height restriction barricades of Park Royal Shopping Center.
The West Vancouver Fire Service Museum & Archive Society has just completed a Storage and Restoration Building behind No. 4 Fire Station, 965 Cross Creek Road in West Vancouver. The Willys Jeep is now stored there. The Jeep is in excellent working order and will be making a lot of public appearances during the summer months in and around the Lower mainland.