new posts
UER Store
location db
db map
terms of service
privacy policy

Location DB > Canada > New Brunswick > Moncton > Fire Station No. 4
Fire Station No. 4
 Viewing Options
Log in to activate viewing options
 Database Info
created by TurboZutek on 4/19/2006 10:02 PM
last modified by Emperor Wang on 12/24/2016 4:15 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.

 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: not very exciting
 Physical Information
211 High Street
Moncton, New Brunswick
Owner: Private
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features
    remarkable craftsmanship of the building's Acadian architect and tradesmen at a time when such projects tended to be the work of the English speaking community. Number 4 station had horse stalls, a remarkably large bay, the only fire pole of any Moncton fire station and the most firefighting history connected to it.
     Security Measures
     Historical Dates
    Built: 1911
    Closed: 2004
     Required Equipment
     Recommended Equipment

    The City of Moncton just last Monday included the site on a list of properties it was considering for heritage designation under its heritage bylaw. Meanwhile, the Moncton Fire Department Historical Society, a group of active and retired Moncton firefighters, passionately wanted to restore the hulk and convert the property into a firefighting museum.

    But in a twist of fate, it seems to have been an order issued by the Moncton Fire Department (on behalf of the provincial fire marshal's office) that doomed the building. That's right, a fire in a fire hall led to the fire department putting an end to the dream of a firefighters' museum.

    Building owner Jim Dunfield was issued an order from a Moncton fire prevention officer last Thursday morning giving him 14 days to either repair or demolish the building. It came after previous orders from the fire department to secure the building failed to keep it off limits to trespassers.

    Normal procedures require that his application go to the Greater Moncton Planning District Commission for consideration. Among the issues looked at before the City of Moncton's building inspection office would grant a demolition permit is whether or not it is a heritage property, whether there is some other court order against its demolition or whether or not the demolition could pose a problem with right of ways, that is, unduly block a street or sidewalk.

    The project probably would have been granted a permit. Though it was being considered for heritage status, it wasn't a heritage property yet, meaning it would be treated like any other building, according to city solicitor Steve Trueman.

    The point is moot however because the building was largely demolished yesterday morning before the application could be processed. Though city hall was closed Good Friday and again on Easter Monday, Phillips Bros. excavation was on the job yesterday to make sure 211 High Street came down.

    When Times & Transcript staff came upon the scene, employees of Phillips Brothers were asked if they had a demolition permit. They could not produce a copy at the site as is required by regulations but said they had been assured the owner had the proper permits in place. When attempts to reach the appropriate city employees failed on the holiday, the Times & Transcript called Moncton Mayor Lorne Mitton for comment on why a proposed heritage building was being demolished.

    Within the hour, a city building inspector was at the site and secured a promise from the workers to halt while he went to city hall to check on the existence or status of a permit. Forty-five minutes after that, Henry Phillips of Phillips Bros. arrived at the site and demolition work resumed at a much faster pace. By the time the building inspector arrived just moments later, the building was substantially demolished.

    Whether he got ahead of himself or not, it hardly seems to matter, as any laws, even if they were broken, are toothless. The city's bylaws are limited by provincial legislation, and the province's Community Planning Act allows only a $320 maximum fine for proceeding without a demolition permit. And even if the building had been already designated a heritage property, the owner could have demolished it if he was willing to pay a maximum $200 fine, a pittance compared to the cost of demolition, which involved a large backhoe, several dumptrucks and landfill tipping fees of about $50 per tonne. An estimated cost of the demolition, based on similar permits issued by the city in recent months would suggest the demolition will cost between $30,000 and $50,000.

    The question that begs asking is why Dunfield didn't sell it to the historical society for that cost or more rather than paying the price for demolition, as he said yesterday he had no immediate plans for the property. It turns out negotiations with the firefighters has been the subject of a long, complicated and sometimes angry legal battle. Getting to the truth of how the sides couldn't come to terms is a matter of sorting through conflicting accounts.

    Dunfield says the firefighters only wanted to buy the old part of the building and had complicated plans to subdivide the property. Al MacNutt of the Firefighters Historical Society says that was what they tried at first but later secured well-known developer Stephen Gallant, the man behind much of Robinson Court, as a partner. MacNutt says that they then made several offers to buy the whole property but the price rose from $150,000 to $185,000 once Gallant came on board.

    Dunfield says, "the building for all intents and purposes, was demolished by the fire in 2004."

    MacNutt says the firefighters hired a structural engineer who pronounced it sound. A delay facing the historical society, however, was getting environmental inspection ahead of getting a mortgage. The firehall used to have underground gas tanks because for many years it is where city fire trucks and police cars gassed up. The question of whether or not the gas tanks are still underground is not resolved. MacNutt says the society's lawyer sent Dunfield's lawyer a letter last Tuesday offering to pay for environmental testing.

    The Number 4 Fire Station served the city from 1911 to 1968, but the past week has probably been as busy for it as any in its history. In the course of a week, it debuted as a potential heritage property from one part of city hall and got a death warrant from another part of city hall.

    Fire prevention officer Mike Swetnam said yesterday he felt terrible issuing the repair or demolish order knowing what the building meant to his fellow firefighters, but said he couldn't show favouritism.

    "The fire was almost two years ago," Swetnam said. "If this building had been in a residential area it would have been torn down long ago."

    He said the fire had left the structure with no roof and holes in the floors where either the fire had burned through or firefighters had to cut through. He said if someone, even though they would have been trespassing, had fallen through a couple floors, people would be asking why Thursday's order had not been made sooner and saying the department was in a conflict of interest.

    "We were put in a position of damned if we do and damned if we don't," he said.

    Swetnam added the recent actions had come after city hall started getting complaints about the eyesore.

    "We would lose all credibility with other building owners if we didn't act," he said.

    Al MacNutt recalled yesterday that firefighters wanted to save this building over the St. George Street station that was just restored as Youth Quest. He spoke of the remarkable craftsmanship of the building's Acadian architect and tradesmen at a time when such projects tended to be the work of the English speaking community. He noted the Number 4 station had horse stalls, a remarkably large bay, the only fire pole of any Moncton fire station and the most firefighting history connected to it.

    He said the Fawcett sisters, two women in their late 80s who grew up in the station, would be devastated to hear of its destruction. In a different era, their father was the firefighter who drove the horse team and cared for the animals. When the fire bell rang in the station house, he slid down the pole from his upstairs apartment and raced off to the fire, while his wife or daughters would then go down and close up the station's big doors.

    Meanwhile, one of the building's neighbours could only shake his head at what he was witnessing yesterday morning. Roland Robichaud is the manager of the Economy Glass shop across the street. Like the building's other neighbours at Hub Autobody, he said the building had been a terrible eyesore over the years. Nevertheless, "I think the City of Moncton missed a golden opportunity by not getting involved in the museum."

    Saying how valuable it could have been for schoolchildren especially, he asked, "What's the point of having heritage laws if you can't enforce them?" Robichaud asked. "They have to make the laws stronger."

    In recent years, the place was used as a fitness club until it closed in 2004.

     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Appartment buildings

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Wed, Apr 19th, 2006
    posted by maZe
    1 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Wed, Apr 19th, 2006
    posted by maZe
    3 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Fitness Freaks!
    Thu, Apr 20th, 2006
    posted by TurboZutek
    5 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links


    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 12/24/2016 4:16 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Dec 24 16 at 4:16, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Dec 24 16 at 4:15, Emperor Wang changed the following: Display Name, Owner
  • on Apr 29 06 at 4:45, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:22, TurboZutek updated gallery picture Bog Shot
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:21, TurboZutek swapped pictures 1 and 2
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:21, TurboZutek updated gallery picture Exit.jpg
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:21, TurboZutek updated gallery picture Bog Shot.jpg
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:20, TurboZutek updated gallery picture LifeCycle.jpg
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:20, TurboZutek updated gallery picture D Tests Equipment.jpg
  • on Apr 20 06 at 21:20, TurboZutek updated gallery picture Scary Lady.jpg
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
    New Thread
     Who's been looking?
    Click here to see who'se been looking.
     Report Problems
    Is this location inappropriate / broken / missing key info?
  • If it's something you can fix, please scroll up and click the EDIT button.
  • If this location was only posted a few days ago, give the creator time to work on it.
  • Please try sending a message directly to the creator of the location. You'll find that info at the top of this page.
  • Otherwise, ONLY if you've already tried to contact the original creator,: Click here to notify an administrator.

  • All content and images copyright © 2002-2024 UER.CA and respective creators. Graphical Design by Crossfire.
    To contact webmaster, or click to email with problems or other questions about this site: UER CONTACT
    View Terms of Service | View Privacy Policy | Server colocation provided by Beanfield
    This page was generated for you in 93 milliseconds. Since June 23, 2002, a total of 738581918 pages have been generated.