Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 30, September 1986
BY C.W. MALCOLM
So much forgotten that when I wrote the History of the Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade for the Historical Society, even I had forgotten it. In these days when the Fire Brigade is provided with the most up-to-date equipment it is hard to imagine with what antiquated means our earlier firemen rendered such efficient service.
The historic firebell which for many years sounded the alarm has been preserved on a handsome stone plinth in front of the modern fire station. Its history has been preserved.
But what of the metal triangle and its metal striker that were suspended from a sturdy wooden post at the junction of Station Road and Rye Lane (now Towers Street) The triangle was equilateral in shape, each of its three sides approximately two feet in length, or maybe three feet. Childhood memories are dim. But I remember seeing it there when I took a back street route to and from school. It certainly was never used in my 21 years in the Fire Brigade.
Its use, of course, was to supplement the fire bell which hung on its fine high wooden tower in the centre of the town where the Post Office now stands. It was Paeroa's secondary fire alarm to be sounded by anyone nearer to it than to the fire bell. It was sounded by striking it with a poker-like bar attached to the post and, especially in the silence of the night, gave forth a surprisingly loud alarming sound.
Apart from the few conflagrations that destroyed large buildings in the town, it is remarkable that volunteer firemen, awakened by the clanging of bell or triangle, found their way to fires, pulling a hand-reel, and so often extinguished a blaze in the room where it had originated. This was so generally the case that the insurance underwriters for years accorded Paeroa one of the lowest tariff rates.
Only a metal triangle on a wooden post: but in the history of the town, and in view of its service, it deserves a mention.