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At the time of the opening of the new Fire station on Rochdale Road, in 1960 the Bacup Borough Fire Brigade had been in existence for about 66 years. Under the control of the board the brigade may never have come into existence had it not been for a devastating fire at Beulah Methodist Free Church, Britannia in 1892, which left the building completely destroyed. Despite the effort of Britannia residents and dozens of volunteer fire fighters.A large crowd had gathered and a quantity of hosepipe gathered from Britannia Mill the engine shed at New Line and from Troughgate Mill. Using a donkey engine from Britannia mill and water from the mill lodge it was still over a hour and a half before anything effective could  be put onto the fire. This was due to the bad state of repair of the hoses, especially those of the corporation whose hoses split more or less as soon as they were coupled up.In less than two hours the church was nothing but a smouldering ruin, leading to a public outcry over the lack of  such a large borough as Bacup having no real facilities to fight fires. The council was left with no alternative but to take action, and so in 1893 the council purchased new hosepipes and a manual pump. This still did not satisfy the cry from the public that a proper fire service be provided, and so in October of 1893 the Bacup Borough Fire Brigade came into existence, controlled by the Chief Constable. Still this didn't satisfy the Bacup public and councillors were forced to put plans into place to build a new Fire house and a horse drawn fire engine was purchased. This was a new Greenwich steam fire engine, which was initially stabled at Broadclough until the premises at Henrietta street were completed. Motive power was provided by horses belonging to the waterworks and baths departments of the council and were permanently stables at the fire station in readiness for any calls which may come though. This new engine was the pride of Bacup and was described as having a single jet capable of throwing water to a height of 160 feet and, it was added, four more jets could be added simultaneously. It was called The Irwell.  The Irwell was replaced in 1916 by the first motorised Fire engine in the town. A Leyland costing £1,100 and for which Bacup had waited nearly 18 months. It was named the J.H.Lord after the Mayor of Bacup at that time, Councillor J.H.Lord. The launch in August  being carried about by the Mayors daughter and a appropriate bottle of champagne. Ironically the naming ceremony took place on a day of torrential rain that left Burnley Road flooded.  The J.H.Lord served the borough for 28 years, being replaced in 1933 by a new up to date engine known as Smith. Thursday the 1st June 1933 saw the christening of the new Leyland Fire Engine  the ceremony taking place in Stubylee Park where the Engine was duly christened " Smith " by the Mayoress.  The Mayor speaking after the naming ceremony said. The new engine was known as a Leyland Cub F. K. I and had 27.3 horse power it had a remarkably high output for it's size and it was fitted with a six cylinder engine, dual ignition and one of the latest type two stage turbine pumps. It had a output of over 600 Gallons per minute and sufficient ground clearance for country work. It had a speed of 50mph and this speed could be obtained with safety owing that the centre of gravity was extremely low and the chassis fitted with hydraulic four wheel brakes."The ceremony was followed by a demonstration of the workings of the Fire Engine at Ross Mill.The Auxiliary Fire Service Was introduced in 1939, under the control of the police and for a time they had their quarters in the Rossendale Division Carriage Co's premises at Pippin Bank. During the hostilities of the second world war the auxiliary firemen of Bacup served all over the country.
Council tar wagon on fire on Booth Road. Auxillary Fire Service. The J.H Lord Fire Engine. Incendary fire parctice on Irwell Street.
The early log books of the Bacup brigade gave comprehensive details of the many fires and incidents attended. For each fire there is a bill to be presented for the services of the Captain the firemen, equipment and horses. Step Row Bacup One of the first fires of 1905 was at 3 Step Row in Bacup. A man called Seth Smith had gone to bed only to be awoken by his bedroom being full of smoke. On going downstairs he found a rolled up hearth rug on fire, he ran and woke his next door neighbour a man called Wilson Fielding who carried the rug outside and extinguished the fire with several buckets of water. Whilst looking back to 1904 one of the last fire calls of that year occurred on November 30th.  A message had been received at 9.50pm that the Fire engine was needed at Rockliffe House home of the Mayor. The fire engine arrived at Rockliffe House 9.59pm under the command of Chief Harland with Insp Dowling, Engineer Jackson, and  Firemen Mann, Butler, Kelly, Cutler, Crossley, Wilkinson, and Lord. On arriving at the house the crew were told it was a false alarm and arrived back at the station at approximately 10.10pm.
Bacup Fire Station on Pennine Road. Corn mill fire 1911. Henrietta Street fire station. Ross Mill on fire. Fire Reports