The A.F.S. Throughout the War Years and A.F.S. Outside Stations
(1940 - 1945)
The Auxiliary Fire Service's duties throughout the war as well as firefighting was to supply the local hospitals with water. Water was pumped to St. Luke's Hospital from the River Nore by means of their trailer pump. The A.F.S. also had to provide fire cover for other towns in County Kilkenny, Castlecomer being the only town with a trailer pump of it's own. This was owned by Mr. John Byrne and was housed in the Castlecomer Sawmill. It was made available to the public in the event of a fire. In late 1940 a second Fordson tender arrived in Kilkenny City. This was not put into operation and in early 1941 was sent to Waterford. It was collected and driven to Waterford by Mr. Tommy Butler. Mr. Dan Barry, at the time, started a programme to equip small country towns with trailer pumps and a fire crew. These towns were Thomastown, Urlingford, Graiguenamanagh, Gowran, Callan and Ballyragget. They each had one small trailer pump. All during the war years a taxi was hired or a fireman's car was used, if available. Kilkenny City A.F.S. gave cover to these units if required. The most common type of fires the Kilkenny City A.F.S. unit attended were chimney fires, house fires, grass fires and haybarn fires. In 1945 the Kilkenny A.F.S. unit was disbanded.
The following are two documents dated between 1943 -1946.
10th January 1944
There was a telephone call from the Garda Barracks in Thomastown to my private house at 9.30pm last night stating that there was fire in Mrs. Fitzgerald's of Kilbline. I asked the Sergeant in Thomastown to get in touch with you through the Garda Barracks and he informed me that he had endeavoured to do this but you were not available. I then asked him to ring No. 202 and inform Dan Murphy, the driver of the engine. He told me he had rung this Number and that Mrs. Murphy had sent word to have her husband available, and also that her son was at the Savoy Cinema I then rang the Savoy and John Murphy went to the Fire Station I proceeded to your house then and rang several times but there was no reply. When I arrived at the Fire Station both Dan Murphy and John Murphy arrived soon after, as well as T. Connolly. I sent the light Trailer Pump and twenty four length of hose with Messrs. Dan and John Murphy. The present system of organisation is most unsatisfactory. If you are leaving Kilkenny it is necessary that you should notify somebody in authority, and also you should appoint a deputy to act in the case of fires, as you are responsible for the smooth running of the Fire Brigade. Besides, last night out of our fire crew there were only two available as T. Connolly did not go with the engine. It is most necessary to have a scheme of organisation drawn up and put into force immediately. and you will have to make some arrangement when you are leaving your house at night so that the Gardai will know where to find you in case of fire,
Mise le meas,
D.P. Barry, Esq.,B.E.,
Chief Fire Officer,
4th April, 1945
Mr. James Walsh,
Public Health Section,
I attach hereto Pay Sheet for the hire of two cars to a fire at
Ballyconra on the 26/11/44. These cars were used to convey the
Members of the Regular Fire Service in Castlecomer to a fire at
Ballyconra. One of the cars also towed Captain Wandesforde's
engine to the scene of the fire.
I recommend that this be paid.
Chief Assistant Surveyor