Doug Lait – Cassiar Cannery’s Fire Wagon

Editor’s Note: Mr. Doug Lait worked for Caspaco from 1975 to 1980 when his family bought a marina in Maple Bay Duncan Vancouver Island.  Mr. Lait worked at head office in Vancouver on Richards Street as the head accountant and office manager.   In 1975, he spent the summer at Cassiar living in what is now known as Coho House.  Now residing in Ladysmith, Mr. Lait has been kind enough to collect some of his photographs and stories to aid our quest of preserving Cassiar’s remarkable history.  Thanks Doug!

Cassiar Fire Wagon (Hose reel)

It seems to have lived near water most of its life.  Probably purchased when Cassiar was young and spent most of its life at the Cassiar Cannery in Port Edward BC.

Cassiar Fire Wagon was made by American LaFrance & Foamite Corp. Elmira New York.   LaFrance (1872) joined with another company and became American Lafrance in 1903   American LaFrance had a plant in Ephrata PA near the head office and plant in New York.  I cannot find any information that the fire wagon was made at this plant but it would have been nice as the address of this plant was 64 Cocalico Creek Road   The plant was next to the Cocalica Creek  so it could have been near water when it was made.

Prior to 1975 it was left abandoned between the Cook House and Bunk House on the land side of the board walk.  When the high tide came in it would stand in the salt water until the tide went out.

In 1975 I had it removed and loaded on the barge that was taking canned salmon down to Vancouver.  It left Port Edward on September 4 1975 on RivTow Barge #42 to Waterfront Holding Ltd at the foot of Pemberton Ave North Vancouver the delivery order was #2918.

It then had a new home in Coquitlam (the only time not near  water)  where it was sanded and the rust removed and given a new coat of paint.  It lived in Coquitlam for five years then had another trip by water (BC Ferries) to Birds Eye Cove on Vancouver Island.  It lived a stone throw from the water for eleven years

It moved to Nanaimo BC  with a view of  Long Lake for a couple of years then moved to Burleith Arm (Ladysmith Harbour) where it resides today overlooking the water. It lives in the middle of a circular drive with the following plants around it Burning or Fire Bush, Firethorn Pyracantha, Royal Purple Smoke tree, Quick Fire Hydrangea , Pink Flame Phlox and Torch Lily Red – Hot Poker.

It seems to be happy not living in the water but overlooking the water.

Doug Lait – November 2010