Departments // Summury presentation with a focus on the period
BVBO - Bombeiros Voluntários do Beato e Olivais (name since 2010: Bombeiros Voluntários do Beato)
The official foundation record of this VFD dates 1932, although there are indications pointing to an earlier operational activity, possibly under a different statutory nature or designation (fire brigade/works brigade/industrial brigade, within a local manufacturing facility?). This is one case where (similarly to the VFDs of Ajuda, Campo de Ourique and Cabo Ruivo) the designation of the FD clearly describes a well-defined urban area within the city of Lisbon: the south-eastern part of Lisbon, a section of the city that used to be an important industrial and harbour-related hub in past decades (Beato and Oilivais Districts).
In 2010 a statutory modification has occurred under which terms the official designation became VFD of Beato (without Olivais thus). This is probably the consequence of the establishment in 1977 of a new VFD in the north-eastern part of the city: the VFD Cabo Ruivo.
The unavailability of organized historical records did not allow for a timely and comprehensive description of the automotive apparatus used throughout time, chiefly in the early decades, as no data or images could be found with regard to that period. Therefore and despite the good cooperation received from this VFD, there are very few images fitting in the 1930-1979 time-frame set for this platform.
It is however trusted that future contributions may improve the illustration and brief description of the apparatus that this platform is intended to divulge. With this purpose in mind additional inputs and comments, namely from former volunteers or officials, are highly appreciated and most welcome anytime in the future.
By merit of memory it is understood that the prevailing (if not the only) operational service provided by this VFD, between the 30’s and the 60’s, was the Health Service (notably immediate health-care and patient transportation in cases of illness or accident), under which framework the designation adopted was Cruz Encarnada-the Maroon Cross, as it shows in the crest.
As a curiosity it was unveiled that, during a short period, the VFD Beato e Olivais has owned (with the aim to convert it into an ambulance) an armoured car that was originally assigned to the transportation of the long-time Prime Minister Oliveira Salazar. The project was however abandoned for technical and budgetary constraints (a picture of the original vehicle can be found herein).
Later on (decade of the 70’s?) until present time, the fire-fighting service became a very significant component within the VFDs action, namely with regard to the dimension of the fleet of apparatus progressively assigned to it. As for water rescue it is noted (without surprise, considering the immediate vicinity of the mighty river Tagus) that, in recent decades, specific equipment was operated (eg. inflatable boat carried trailer; water rescue/divers support apparatus), while a Divers Team was also created.
With regard to apparatus motorization in general it is understood that the quantity and variety of the vehicles progressively placed in active duty throughout time has been very significant (namely in more recent years and thus beyond the scope of this platform), despite the strong constraints that have hampered for many years the development of this VFD. In the first line of such restrictions is indeed the minimal dimension of the (single) fire-house, where no apparatus can be parked. On account of this the visibility of the fleet by the citizens is total, as all vehicles are parked in the street…
It is assumed (no evidence existing, though) that, for the purpose of coordinating operations between the then BSB and the VFD Beato e Olivais, the latter was initially assigned the complementary co-designation of Lisbon’s 2nd First Aid Auxiliary Division (by serial order, after the VFD Cruz de Malta). It is not known when the assignment as an Auxiliary Fire Division took has actually taken place and which serial number within it (likely 6th Division, as the 5th Division was assigned to the VFD of Cabo Ruivo in 1982).
Ref #1: F. H. Santos (Coord.); Bombeiros Portugueses-seis séculos de história (2 vols).SNB/LBP Lisboa 1995
© LIS50 | 2016 50 years of Lisbon’s motorized fire & rescue apparatus - 1930 through 1979 // (an history-aimed, not-for-profit private initiative)
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