A Fire at the Nanaimo Fire Station – September 28, 1894
With donated land and materials, Nanaimo’s first fire station was built on Wharf and Front Streets, near Nanaimo’s downtown waterfront. Unfortunately, and a bit ironically, the original fire station was burnt down by a fire started at the Royal Hotel. Luckily, the fire station’s major equipment was saved, but the building was left in ruins.
The fire had quietly crept up the back portion of the Royal Hotel in the early morning hours on September 28, 1894. As the fire rapidly spread, surrounding buildings were immediately immersed in flames. The Royal Hotel’s next door neighbour, the fire hall, was destroyed. One person was killed and another individual, a young girl, sustained crippling injuries as she jumped out a window to save her life.
Because of this tragic event, the Fire Escape Act of 1894 came into effect on October 1, 1894. All Nanaimo buildings exceeding one storey or buildings with the rear portion facing the harbour had one week to install fire escape doors located in the back portion of their premises. (From the Collection of the Nanaimo Museum)