Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 30, September 1986

On 23 October 1895 the Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed and this anniversary was marked with a function held in the fire station.

Chief Fire Officer Noel Thompson extended a warm welcome to those gathered to partake of the evening's festivities. He also paid tribute to the service given by the former firemen.

The Deputy-Mayor of Paeroa, Cr Norm McMillan, congratulated the brigade on reaching its 90th year and on behalf of the town and district, thanked past and present firemen for their unselfish and devoted service to the community. He recalled his first association with the brigade was at the old Paeroa Central School when Bill Malcolm was the teacher there and also an officer of the Brigade. "Every time the fire bell went while we were at school, Bill used to make a dash for the fire station", he said.

He also recalled the Model A fire engine and expressed a note of sadness that the machine was not still held by the brigade. Former fireman/driver Jack Pascoe drove the Model A engine referred to by Mr McMillan and he said that "she was a great machine".

"I worked with Ben Gwilliam when he had the garage in Belmont Road, and when the fire bell went I ran to the station. The Model A always had the crank handle at 3 o'clock, and it just took a flick downwards and the engine would start.

"I would leave the station with two of us aboard, and always picked up others, no matter which way we went. And even though the old machine was doing 25 mph flat out, we would get to the fire as quickly, if not quicker, than today.

"Admittedly today you have got to wait at the station for at least four men before the machine can leave", he added.

Chief Fire Officer Len Matthews recalled many a humorous incident during his period, stretching over more than 25 years with the brigade.

"I never regretted being talked into joining by one who served this brigade with distinction, the late secretary, Eric Pett.

We have had a wonderful time in this brigade, we have always worked as a team", he said. He went on to pay tribute to the firemen's wives over the years.

"They also form an important part of any volunteer brigade, and we have had an exceptionally good team here", he said.

Several other former firemen spoke of their association with the brigade and all were warm in their praise for the present day brigade.

On display were several brigade scrapbooks and these attracted a lot of attention during the evening. The brigade's events and fires for the last 40 years were recorded in the books. A supper was served, after which the cutting of the 90th birthday cake was undertaken.