Bundoran Fire & Rescue Service - Ireland


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1929 Pump
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1980 Hotel Fire
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The History of Bundoran Fire Brigade

Bundoran Fire Brigade was officially formed in 1975 although, there was an old Merryweather Trailer Pump in the town since 1929. From newspapers from years goneby, it was noted that up to 14 volunteers would be available in the town for fire duties. This pump would have been operated by a number of unpaid volunteers in the town and was in operation until the late 1950's when a Fire Brigade was formed in Ballyshannon using a "Green Goddess" Fire Engine and paid crew and it was decided that it would cover Bundoran as well.

However around 1974, after a number of large fires in the town over the years, including the old Atlantic Hotel, the townspeople and local Councillors decided that a Fire Station was needed for the town. In 1974 a site of land was bought for 25 Punts by Bundoran Urban Council and the current Fire Station was built in June 1975. In September a Fire Appliance was made available by Donegal County Council and they took over the responsibility of running the new station.

Currently the old 1929 pump is being restored to its original state and its brass and copper fittings are perfect in every detail. We hope to have it on display in the town very shortly. 

Above is a photograph of the first crew after receiving their First Aid certificates.

From left to right in the photograph, Denis McManus (Deceased, Station Officer), Johnny Mulreaney (Retired Driver/mechanic), Joe Chapman ( Retired), PJ Clancy (Retired Station Officer),

Martin Harte ( Retired), John Delaney ( Deceased),

The first retained crew was made up of six men, and their first appliance was a Landrover, as seen in the background in the picture. We still have in our possession some of their Firefighting rigs and helmets. When an emergency arose, the Station Officer who had an emergency 999 telephone in his house, would be alerted and he would set off the siren on the station to alert the other men. This meant that the men would have to listen out for the siren at all times. This was the way in which all retained Brigades were called out in the early days. This system was used until the "Bleeper" system became available. Each Fireman would now carry an alerter, and this made call-outs more reliable and faster.



The landrover appliance in the background of the photo above, is similar to the one pictured here, which incidentally is an old Donegal County Fire Service appliance.


Interesting information about the Land Rover Fire Engine

Made to carry only 6 of a crew, these were built mainly for the RAF and the British Military from 1969 onwards, it was called a Land Rover 109" IIB Forward Control Fire Engine and made by HCB Angus in the UK and had a 2.6 litre 6-cylinder petrol engine. This "forward control Landrover" was so called because it was based on the 109 series jeep but had its cab over the engine. After military use they would have been sold to Fire Authorities. Its pump was a 450/650 gpm Godiva, and carried 100 gallons of water. Production ceased in the early 1970s. Also known as "Firefly" in the RAF.

The next appliance we had was a Bedford "Green Goddess" as they were known, and this would carry more men compared to the previous smaller Land Rover. These were painted green and used after World War 2. In later years they were bought and distributed among many County Councils in Ireland to be painted red and put into frontline Fire Service. Our Green Goddess was in service with us until summer 1981and was used at the time of the tragic Central Hotel Fire and can be seen in this black and white picture at the St Patrick's Day Parade in 1981.

Reg  ZP ???

Interesting information about the "Green Goddesses"

These originally green-painted vehicles were built by Bedford between 1953 and 1956 for the Auxiliary Fire Service in the UK which was a civilian volunteer force created to fight fires and pump water in the event of a nuclear attack on Britain, and based on the Bedford RL series Military truck. After the AFS was disbanded in 1968 they were sold to Fire Authorities in the UK and Ireland. They had a 4.9litre 110 bhp petrol engine, and 4 speed manual gearbox. They were relatively slow with a maximum speed of around 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), a comfortable cruising speed of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), no power steering, and sensitive on corners. But one advantage that some Green Goddesses enjoyed over most modern fire appliances is their four-wheel drive. Fuel consumption was between 8 mpg and 10 mpg- , depending on driving style and quantity water carried. They also carried less water capacity at 400 imperial gallons (1,800 L) in 4x2 form, 300 imperial gallons (1,400 L) on 4x4 versions, than a modern vehicle, and poorer stability due to a lack of baffle partitions in the water tank. The vehicle cabins were made of wood, and offered very little crew protection in the event of an accident. Mechanically, they were designed to be robust and easy to maintain.

Alot of these "Green Goddesses" were auctioned off from a estimated fleet of 1000 by the British Government in 2005, as they were no longer needed to cover Firefighter strikes.

(they were famously used in the 1977 and 2005 Firefighter Strikes in the UK and were manned by Army Personnel).  Under a new legislation in the UK, the Secretary of State has powers to make available red engines in the event of a fire strike in the interests of public safety, which means Fire & Rescue Authorities having to provide adequate spare Red Engines for Fire Cover. So the Green Goddess dies into history!

Bedford Appliance1981The Bedford Angus was our next appliance and delivered to us in 1981. It was in service with us until 2000. It was a brilliant workhorse, and for its day, it was extremely well built and had adequate room for 8 Firefighters. It had a manual gearbox. The only drawback was it not having power steering.

Reg  JIH 999

Interesting information on the Bedford HSC Fire Engine

In 1979 HSC Bedford developed its high strength cab with unusually wide doors for access to the front and rear of the cab. This cab was tested to withstand greater crushes and impact loads compared to any other Fire Engine and so being very safe to the firefighters in the event of an accident.. The unique moulding on the front of the cab was made by Moores Plastics in Kent, and so was known as "moores front end". This HSC model was based on the Bedford TK chassis. It had an 1818 litre water tank and a godiva pump.



Here is a picture of our automatic Mercedes Appliance which we had from September 2000 to September 2001. Coachworks built by Hughes in Ireland.

Reg  91 DL 1999


Today's Appliance is our Scania 220 Automatic.

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Pictured here is PJ Clancy (Retired Station Officer) being presented with the keys of our new Fire appliance by Mr Frank Kerrane, Chief Fire Officer for Donegal County Fire Service. The Coachworks were built by Browns Coachworks in Lisburn


Today Fire Brigades in Ireland are very modern and very highly trained and have the latest in up to date Firefighting, RTC and Rescue equipment. We thank Donegal County Council, Donegal Fire Authority, the Chief Fire Officer and our Assistant Chief Fire Officers for the equipment they have invested in the Bundoran Station and the training that we receive constantly and we hope that in the very near future, they will provide us with a modern 2 bay Station which will service the vastly growing tourist population we now see in Bundoran.

We thank our employers from our main jobs who are always willing to let us leave work to attend firecalls and we also would like to thank all our retired and deceased Firefighters, for their dedicated long years of service that they gave to our community, for the vital knowledge they gave to the new recruits, for without them, we would not have built up the professional Fire Brigade we have today. We also thank their families, who from day one become a vital part of the Fire Service.

Thank you from all the crew.

The Irish Fire Service

Brief History of the Fire Service in Ireland

The Fire Brigades Act, 1940 was the basis for the first countrywide fire-fighting system. It made it mandatory for sanitary authorities, urban and rural, to make reasonable provision for the prompt and efficient extinguishing of fires in their areas and for the protection and rescue of persons and property from injury by fire. In doing this they were to take account of all relevant considerations, including their financial resources. A sanitary authority could discharge this duty either by maintaining a fire brigade (in which case it became a fire brigade authority) or by arranging with another sanitary authority (or with persons) maintaining a fire brigade to cover its district.

The then Minister for Local Government was empowered to inquire, on complaint, into the adequacy of the provision made by a local authority and could, in certain circumstances, require local authorities to co-operate in the provision of a fire service.

Modern legislation in the form of the Fire Services Act, 1981 established the fire authorities and made provision for the organisation of the fire service, training of fire personnel, fire-fighting and fire safety, and other matters relating to the protection of people and property from fire.

Fire Authorities

The fire service is operated at local level by 37 fire authorities. There are 220 fire stations throughout the country with 3,330 serving fire service personnel, of whom 1,185 are full-time and 2,145 are retained (on a 24 hour basis). List of fire stations and fire authorities are provided on the right of your screen under publications and documents. 

Fire Service Personnel

Training of personnel is the responsibility of each of the fire authorities. The Fire Services Council supplements local training by providing an annual programme of specialised and general courses at central level for fire service personnel at officer rank.

Last updated Wednesday November 30, 2016  This is not an official Donegal County Fire Authority site and is compiled and owned by

 Bundoran Fire Brigade    www.bundoranfirebrigade.com     Paul Kelly            Best viewed with Internet Explorer 7 1024x768