Volunteer Firefighter International

First All-Black Volunteer Firehouse to be Youth Center

Although the volunteer department shut down in 2013, it was a major fixture in the community

By Alicia Draus, Global News

A fire hall, once used by Canada’s first all Black volunteer fire department, is being sold back into the hands of the African Nova Scotian community in Upper Hammonds Plains.

The fire hall has sat vacant in Upper-Hammonds Plains for seven years, and is now going to be repurposed as a youth centre.

On Tuesday, regional council unanimously voted to sell the property to the Upper-Hammonds Plains Community Development Association for one dollar.

The association’s decision to buy the property goes beyond the need for a youth centre; it’s about reclaiming and preserving a building with cultural and historical significance for the African Nova Scotian community.


“The fire hall came to be because back in the 60s, things were different back then,” said UHPCDA president Gina Jones-Wilson. “[There were] tensions between African Nova Scotians and white communities.”

Those tensions lead to concerns over how emergencies were handled, said Rev. Dr. Lennett Anderson, a senior pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

“Due to the racial climate of that day, other fire departments were not quick to respond to our emergencies, many tragedies happened, many homes were lost.”

Read the full story here.

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