The firemen of Herve in the past.
Before 1950 1950 to 1966 1967 to 1972 1973 to .... In short The Commanders
Until now no study has been carried out about the communal fire service of Herve.
For this period some spread links, of this centenarian corps of firemen, can be established, thanks to the memory of our veterans which have disappeared by now, and three original documents.
To begin with, two of these three documents are about Civic Medals granted by decree of 03 march 1926 as “a reward for the good and loyal services rendered to the country during a career of more than 35 years”.
to Mr. Jean TIMMERMANN
Commanding Officer of the Corps of Volunteer Firemen of Herve,
Mr. J.L. LERUTH
Corporal at the Volunteer Firemen Corps of Herve.
1926-35= 1891 This proves that in 1891 there already were volunteer firemen.
The third original document is an announcement of death of André Joseph Denis, Husband of Ursule Beydel, Honorary President of the corps of Volunteer Firemen of Herve, who unexpectedly died at Herve on 28th of November 1900 age 47.
The information we could gather about the equipments used in the first half of the 20th century, are also very small, but they allow us to prove the existence of:
- an arm powered pump, which was destroyed in the fifties! Why??
- no arsenal, unless a small shed under the town hall.
- individual equipments, such as steel helmets worn by Belgian Soldiers during World War I.
- an operation area spreading out to the neighbour villages;
The fire corps acquired, after Second World War, their first engine powered pump from the British Army. It is the Coventry pump which is still kept in the “archives “(see topic Vehicles).
From 1950 to 1966.
During the fifties a siren was put on the roof of the town hall. It was activated by the personnel of the town hall during business hours. On other hours it was the rural policeman on telephone duty, or the commander himself who activated this siren. On siren call the firemen hooked the pump to the truck of the communal road maintenance crew and loaded the ladders and material into the truck. At times the communal road maintenance crew had to empty the truck, wherever it stood, before going to the shed where the fire fighting material was loaded. Then the truck could go, “siren roaring”, to the place where the fire started. This siren was hand activated by a fireman standing in the back of the truck.
The first fire fighting vehicle arrived about 1955, as a loan from the civil protection. It will be the pride of the communal firemen, even if it only had a low-pressure pump and no water tank.
The first fire engine acquired by the town of Herve was inaugurated on 15th of August 1958 with “pump and circumstances” A splendid Ford Big Job.
In this period a Ford F5 with towed fire engine is also acquired, and both vehicles and materials are transferred from the Town Hall to a double but small garage in rue des Ecoles. – This place will be called the arsenal until the next removal in1971. The arsenal was not equipped with radio nor with telephone.
When the siren called the firemen had either to wait the arrival of Commander DEMONTY, which came with the necessary information, or leave the arsenal with the fire engine roll down the rue Chinville, and fetch the address of the disaster in the Town hall.
A field telephone line between the arsenal and the town hall will be a perceptible improvement. Indeed on Christmas evening1966 we were called by this way for a fire at the cinema ESSOR in Soumagne.
From 1967 to 1972: first test to establish “ zones “
Between 1967 and 1972 because of a reorganisation of the fire services, the fire corps of Battice ,Herve, Pepinster and Theux will depend from VERVIERS. But the merging venture of the firemen corps which were surrounding Verviers, to a “widened zone of fire Services” ends up in a disappointing failure.
The only advantage which came out of it was a remote controlled siren.
In those years, the protected area was: Herve, Bolland, Xhendelesse, Grand Rechain, Soumagne ( upper and lower), Mélen,Micheroux and Ayeneux. But in 1967, the reorganisation of the sectors, transfers Micheroux and Ayeneux to Liège, but Mortier was added to our list.
In these same years before the merging of communes it is the fire corps of Battice created in 1948 which helps Bruyères,José,Elvaux,Gurné and Noblehaye The firemen of Battice had to cross Herve to reach these villages, so they had to meet the communal obligations of Herve. !! –
The transfer to the avenue DEWANDRE.
In 1971 the firemen leave the rue des Ecoles which became too small. Indeed the trucks Big Job F7 and Bedford are parked in the syrup factory Meurens, where they have to be fetched for each intervention. – During school holydays they are simply parked on the playground of the school, next to the arsenal.
It is in the former shoe factory “Patriote”, bought a few years earlier by the town Herve; that the firemen store their vehicles, materials and equipments. There is more space but it is not comfortable: no heating, walls, roof and ground are in rather bad shape; there is only one shutter which is rolled up and down laboriously by hand. Moreover we recall a beginning of a fire in the recreation room which we installed on the 1st floor.
It will take ten years to develop the idea to fit up a real fire station, especially with the merging of the communes.
During these years other vehicles will be acquired at the “Service de la Protection Civile “: another Big Job F7 which will remain in service till 1991, and a Bedford. In the same period the Firemen’s Association buys a small general purpose truck. In 1975 a firm of the region, of which the manager was the president of our Association, offered a tank truck.
1973 to ....
The merging of the communes on 1st of January 1977
By decision of the national authorities the communes of Herve and Battice are merged in the new entity Herve. Both neighbouring fire services,- which were in the past rivals –are from now on forced to throw each others lot in . They will share now their destiny. i. e.: - same commander – same communal authority-and same name ( Service Regional d’ Incendie de Herve ) ( Regional Fire Services of Herve ). Both sites are kept for reasons of efficiency (not of economy).
Under the presidency of the Burgomaster mister Georges Gramme, new vehicles will complete, renew and/or improve the car park: a ladder truck in 1979, - a tank truck of 8000 litres in 1981, - a light pump truck, - a rescue truck for extraction of entrapped victims, and a light truck for general purpose in 1984. Indeed in such a new vast sector of protection we have now several industrial zones, rest houses for elderly people and several schools.
Arranging the fire station in avenue Dewandre will happen in three stages:
1980 Creation of the entry and the porch roof.
1981 Outfitting of the inside of the station.
1988 Parking yard and surrounding walls.
The outfitting of the fire station of Battice will happen in two stages::
Renovations in 1987 and 1988.
Extension in 1995.
1955 settlement rue des Ecoles.
1958 acquisition of the first vehicle FORD BIG JOB.
1971 installation of the fire station avenue Dewandre.
1975 acquisition of a heavy pump truck DODGE
1977 merging of the communes: the fire corps of Battice and Herve are now regrouped..
1979 acquisition of the ladder truck Metz Mercedes.
1980 beginning of the outfitting of the fire station avenue Dewandre.
1981 acquisition of a tank truck.
1982 inauguration of the fire station avenue Dewandre.
1987 restoration of the fire station Battice.
1988 four firemen from Herve at the Marathon of New York.
1988 renovation of the outside fence of the fire station Herve.
1989 organisation of “Pompiers sans Frontières “(Firemen without Borders)
1990 the Regional Fire Service, as a common group, wins the 1990 Prize of Sport’s Merit.
1993 exercise Pland’ ur. Home for elderly people.
1995 extension of the Battice fire station.
1995 exercise catabus “ turned over motor coach.
1999 acquisition of a pump truck 4x4 made in U.S.A.
1999 inauguration of the extended fire station avenue Dewandre.
2000 acquisition of a second pump truck U.S. 4x2.
2001 first professional Commander in Herve (1st September).
2002 acquisition of a lift truck of 32 m Bronto Sky Lift on Scania frame, double cockpit.
The Commanders ( those known -*- most incomplete list )
Commander Jean TIMMERMANN
Commander Firmin DEMONTY (+/- 1950/1971).
Commander Jean LEMAIRE (1971 /1981)
Commander Léon CLERDAIN (1981/ 2005)
2nd lieutenant Emmanuel LIEGEOIS (du 1 avril au 31 mai 2005)
Commander VINCENT BASTIN (1 juin 2005 au 30 novembre 2005)
2nd lieutenant Emmanuel LIEGEOIS (1 décembre 2005 ......)