Westport fire truck gets second retirement in Ottawa
By Margaret Brand
The Review-Mirror
May 1, 2014              

A piece of Westport history got a new home in Ottawa this week with the donation of Patrick McManus’' 1922 Ford Model T chemical car to the Bytown Fire Brigade.

The  car  was  also  a piece of McManus’' history when he purchased the vehicle in 1956 was 36, and owned a gas and fuel oil business in Portland where he lived and was the postmaster.

The  fire  car  found  a safe home inside of the garage  among  the  tank trucks and got fixed up a bit before having a second career as a parade vehicle and sometimes as a drive to work for its owner.

“"Every young kid loved it",” said McManus, a father of seven who continued to drive the vehicle in  parades  until  into  his 80’s.  

A Model T is not as precise  to  drive  as  you might think,” said McManus who decided for safety’s sake he'’d give up that hobby.

He remembered fondly one  parade  in Portland when the car got dressed up as the Beverley Hillbil-lies vehicle.











The McManus car, the third  fire  vehicle  for  the village was used to fight an important Westport fire at a hotel located at Main and  Rideau Streets.  The hotel  was  destroyed  but the village was saved.

The truck  is  equipped with two brass tanks loaded with soda and water. A lead bottle containing sulphuric acid was designed to spill into the soda water causing a chemical reaction and pressure to spray the water. The use of the two tanks was alternated.

The vehicle couldn’t do today’s top speeds to hurry to a fire. The top speed of the 20 hp engine  was 45mph.

The vehicle is a happy find for the Bytown Fire Brigade  which  has  now filled  a  gap  between  an 1885  Silsby  horsedrawn steam pump and a couple of 1930 trucks. The group owns  nine  trucks  which they show in their museum, take in special events and drive in parades.

Members of the Bytown  Fire  Brigade are mostly ex  fire-fighters.

Their facility is open Monday  mornings  and  other times for groups by appointment.

Last Saturday the McManus fire car, a 1922 Model T which began its life with the Westport Fire Department got pushed onto a flatbed trailer headed to Ottawa’s Bytown Fire Brigade’ (BFB) museum and warehouse (l-r) David McManus, John McCarthy (BFB), Peter Ryan (BFB), Ken Langille (BFB), and Pat McManus.

The original chassis being delivered by the Brockville- Westport Railroad in 1922.