The accident made people living in Upper Fort Garry uneasy. If any other building had caught fire, the flames could easily have engulfed the crowded Fort! These worries led to the purchase of a new firefighting machine: a steam-driven, chemical fire engine, from the United States. The machine likely used acid and soda dissolved in water to produce carbon dioxide, which expanded rapidly, pressurizing a tank and spraying a chemical-water mixture from a hose. Two opposing sets of handles called “brakes” had to be hand-pumped in unison at a steady pace to ensure that water flowed properly. This procedure was hard work and required a lot of stamina.
The engine was installed in a new building, the Engine House, located next to the well house, a key source of water for firefighting. In the early 1870s, the engine was transferred to the citizens of the new city of Winnipeg, resulting in the formation of the Nor’West Engine Company No. 1. Soldiers staying at the Fort also manned the engine at times, such as when the Manitoba Parliament – then located in the home of A. G. B. Bannatyne – caught fire in 1873.