The volunteer fire department of bohinjska bela
HISTORY OF THE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
In 1897, Bohinjska Bela suffered a massive fire which destroyed a part of the village, burning down six houses in Zgornja Vas. This fire was the reason for the establishment of the so-called fire defence in 1898. Its founders were Matija Mrak (priest), Matija Gogala, Jože Peternelj, Janez Burja, Anton Jamar, and Valentin Mužan.
They immediately started constructing the fire station, which, as such, served for 75 years. They also bought fire-fighting equipment and a fire engine. The first manual fire engine was in use until 1931.
In the Austro-Hungary, the fire fighters' associations or fire defences didn't only have the mission to helping fellow-men in danger, but were also the main holders of culture and entertainment in our villages. Besides fire-fighting equipment, the fire fighters of Bohinjska Bela also had tambours, bugarijas, bass viols, and berdas. They organised theatre plays, concerts, and were the first awakeners of the Slovenian national pride.
In 1957, the farm Pri Anžetu caught fire. The same happened one year later with the farms Pri Kovaču and Pri Hlevarju in Spodnja Vas. In 1973, the factory of wood powder Lip in Soteska, which had emerged from sawmill, was burnt to the ground. The above mentioned fires don't include the numerous forest fires mostly from the time of steam locomotives. The fire fighters of Bohinjska Bela also collaborated with surrounding fire fighter associations. Thus, the history of the department also lists the collaboration in extinguishing the Bled Castle fire.
At the beginning, the purchase of the manual fire engine and fire carriage are mentioned; in 1931, these were joined by a new fire engine (Zupan), which also represented the turning point in fire-fighting. Parallel to that, various tools were purchased that was available at the time. The money was earned by organizing fire brigade parties and tombolas.
During the Second World War, the fire department activity almost died away. There were merely enough members to preserve the equipment, the fire engine and the fire station. Most of the fire fighters, 20 to be precise, joined the Partisan forces; 5 of them fell in action. A lot of material was purchased after the war, as most of the hoses needed replacement. At the same time, a new fire engine (Rosenbauer) was bought, which was passed into active use in 1968 when the fire department celebrated its 70th anniversary.
In 1902, the first flag was hoisted. The commemorative ribbon was worn by men, in 1928 also by women. They were proudly wearing it until 1958 when the association solemnly hoisted a new flag.
At a general meeting in 1975, a decision was made to adapt the fire station due to its decrement. The demolition started that very same year; however, it was soon clear that there is more to do than it was thought at first. The tower had to be demolished, as it proved impossible to merge it with the rest of the building after renovation. Thus, only a small wall in the garage was left of the old building, the rest was new. A lot of volunteers' hours were spent; help came not only from firemen, but also from the villagers. The new fire station was built in 1978. It was also the place for various education purposes, perfecting, courses, etc. The civil defence had its own quarters in the new fire station as well.
In 1979, the first fire truck was purchased (IMV 2200 D) with the help of the villagers, the local community and donations from various companies. It served its purpose for 20 years. Due to the lack of space, a garage was built on the west side of the fire station in 1983.
In 1988, celebrating the 90th anniversary, the association signed a fraternity document with PGD Dolenci.
In 1995, the new, third flag was hoisted.
In 1997, a new fire truck was purchased (Renault Messenger), which was solemnly put into active duty at the 100th anniversary of the fire department. In that same year, another garage was built on the east side of the fire station
Because of the necessity for a people carrier, the old IMV vehicle was replaced by the Peugeot Boxer van in 2000. The need for transporting children and members to various competitions, education-related events and meetings was the main reason to do so.
Besides minor interventions (mostly meadow fires in dry seasons), the fire department members will certainly remember the last big fire which happened in 2003 due to some sparks from a steam locomotive. It was an enormous forest fire, which demanded the collaboration of neighbouring fire departments.
Today, the association has 179 members. The association rejuvenates itself as more and more children are becoming members, who will replace older members in a few years' time and successfully continue the work of our association.
PGD Bohinjska Bela
Bohinjska Bela 56a
4263 Bohinjska Bela