The Ontario Fire Company is celebrating 109 years of service to the community. Annual donations raise funds for rigorous training schedules from new recruits to seasoned veterans. Firefighters are on emergency call everyday and hour and equipment of many descriptions must be maintained for peak performance.
HISTORY OF THE MALTESE CROSS
The badge of a fireman is the Maltese Cross and is a symbol of protection and honor. Its story is hundreds of years old going back to the Crusades.
When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon–FIRE!
The attacking knights reached the walls of the city and were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. Once they became saturated with the liquid the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst, burning to death or severe injury to those endeavoring to give aid.
Thus, these men became our first firemen and first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor–a cross similar to the one firemen wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on the island known as Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, the cross came to be known as The Maltese Cross–a badge of honor, signifying that his job demands courage and just a ladder rung away from death or serious injury.