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PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE FIRE DEPARTMENT

Mr. Reuben Roxburgh (shown here) was called the Dean of City Employees. He, with a rope, pulled the first fire engine to come to Portage from the railway to the fire station which was located at that time on Dufferin Avenue. He had command in fighting some of the fires which destroyed the landmarks of the early site of Portage.

During the years he was connect­ ed with the city, he saw many changes take place, not only in con­ ditions generally, but in the equip­ ment; from a horse-drawn fire en­ gine to motor equipment through­ out.

Even though he left to operate a farm for a short time, his heart seems to have been in city service and in the fire department, to which he re­ turned.

Mr. Reuben Roxburgh. In 1919 he accepted the position of

city weighmaster and market superintendent, which position he held until he passed away in 1929.

When we speak of 'firsts' in the city fire department we should mention Charlie - the first city owned horse, who played an important part in many a fire-fighting manoeuvre. Fireman, George Burns, is the driver in the picture shown here.

Many people never consider the importance of the City Fire Department until they are in the unfortunate position of having to call for help.

Mr. Roxburgh walked westward from Rat Portage (Kenora) in 1877 and went as far west as Minnedosa. In 1879 he came to Portage la Prairie where he entered the blacksmith busi­ ness with J as. Hossack. He gave up this line of work to become Fire Chief in 1890.

The firemen's business has always been to save buildings, homes and lives, often at the risk of their own. They have always been soldiers on the home front; soldiers who are constantly on the alert

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