25 Years Ago This Saturday – May 7, 1991 Kitsilano Coast Guard Station Destroyed by Fire


Photo Credit: Dave “Mad Dog” Scoular

Jericho Rescue Team members were taking first aid training in the Surf and Turf room of the Jericho Sailing Centre on May 7, 1991. Someone had accidentally left their handheld marine VHF radio on which abruptly interrupted our exercise when a squawking Mayday call came over Channel 16. It took a moment for us to process that the Mayday call was actually originating from the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, having heard them respond to so many Maydays in the past. When they described the nature of their distress as a fire, we collectively looked out of the east facing windows and saw the early stages of the dark black creosote filled cloud (above) rising up over the city like Godzilla. 

Jericho Marks, JSCA’s aluminum boat, was on the water north of Jericho and was one of the first vessels to respond to the Mayday. The fire happened at the most inopportune time for Vancouver as CoV had just sold and delivered their fire boat to San Fransisco and had not yet taken delivery of the two new fire boats. Later that afternoon the Vancouver Fire Chief contacted me to say they would require the use of our boat and operator for a few more hours to get firefighters and their hoses in under the large wooden wharf structure. On that day, a quarter of a century ago, Jericho Marks was Vancouver’s only active fire boat.