The fire station in Baranovichi

Fires are a scourge for a growing town

The fire station in the town of Baranovichi of Brest region appeared in 1907-1908. And it was extremely late, as there had been a vital need of fire support by that time. The town received a great impetus of development in the late 19th century. Here was being formed a large railway junction of a national scale, grew population and the city was being built.

However the layout of the terrain was chaotic, there was not a clear division into streets and areas. Almost all buildings and constructions were wooden, even the railway station. As a result fires were a frequent disaster.  With such a construction of the town the fire was dangerous not only for the house, where it originated, but also to spread to neighboring ones. The fire took away the lives and property of people.

A fire team of Baranovichi was formed on such distinguished people’s initiative as Shimansky, Shilayner, Gurvich, Chernikhov, Turetsky and others. All these people were representatives of the nascent bourgeoisie, whose property interests, real estate, houses, shops, enterprises, were located in the center of the town.

Firefighters of Baranovichi acquired a roof over their heads

The fire brigade was voluntary and it was called «Rozvadovsky Free Fire Society». At the end of the 19th century it numbered over a hundred members. The firefighters were equipped on the money of the townspeople. They were allocated a one-storey building for a depot. The townspeople have been calling the building of the fire station “a fire shed”.

But the fire station has ceased to be a shed since then. A stone building with all distinctive features of firefighting belonging, a fire tower, a courtyard, an ample space for cars and equipment, a high door under the arch at the entrance, was built in the 1920-1930-ies. It became four storeyed in a new variant:  the fire tower has three floors. Viewing windows were on each floor, and under the dome there was arranged an observation deck. In the new building there were underground water tanks. Water for extinguishing the fire did not freeze in them even in winter.

Once buildings in Baranovichi were no higher than three storey. That is why almost the whole territory of the town could be seen from the tower of 25 meters height. Firefighters carried out “a monitoring of the situation” with greater vigilance, and they could even keep order in the town.

Nowadays the fire station is a monument that continues to serve honorably

Now the building is painted in bright orange color, keeps clean, the territory is fenced with a beautiful metal fence. The station is considered a historical attraction as there are no more such buildings in the Republic of Belarus.

It is situated in Thalman Street and continues to function. Today, as all previous years, almost 300 firefighters work here. The firefighters use only the first floor for their fleet, which, by the way, is very modern. The fire tower is idle, lost among the “grown up” multistoried buildings.

It is interesting that the voluntary fire brigade was disbanded only after 1944 and fire stations began to include only professionals. And before that people had worked and taken risks associated with this profession on a completely voluntary basis. So that the building of the fire station in Baranovichi has not only a historical and cultural value but also it has a town-wide one: it is a monument to the courage and feeling of civic duty of the locals.