Voice of America Fire Department

In 1962, construction of the world’s largest radio broadcasting station was completed in eastern North Carolina. Built by the United States government for its Voice of America shortwave service, the facility was spread across three sites in two counties.

Site A (Beaufort) and Site B (Pitt) housed the transmitting facilities. They were nearly identical, each about 2750 square feet. Site C, also in Pitt county, was smaller with 644 acres. It housed the receiving facilities, program master control, communications center, and station main offices. The three sites formed an equilateral triangle, approximately 23 miles on each side, around Greenville, N.C.


The facility and its three sites required a robust infrastructure, which included rigging teams; electronic, electric, and mechanical shops; on-site manufacture of certain parts; warehousing and stock needs; security and guards; road maintenance; field mowing; and firefighting capabilities.

Shown below is Hose Company No. 1, which operated a pumper with an International Load Star chassis in 1968. Each of the three sites had hose companies. Read more in this short history of the VOA fire department.


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Locust Fire Department Early History

Random history. Locust Fire Department in Stanly County. Reprinted from the booklet Locust, N.C. – Centennial Celebration – 1869-1969, via Digital, NC. Download original.

Original Text

The idea for a fire department originated with the Locust Lions Club, under the direction of President Pete Burleson. The club raised the first $500 of the goal of $2,500. Con1ributions were sought and within a few days $2,800 had been raised.

Hugh J. Little, Pete Burleson, Harold Furr. Glenn Almond, and A. J. Furr were on the committee which handled the campaign and went to Camden, S. C. to arrange the purchase of a truck.

It was a former Air Force crash truck which had been utilized as a fire truck by the Camden department. [The 1943 Ford] was a 650 gallon capacity. Click to enlarge:


The Lions Club appointed the first fire chief, Ritchie Tucker, to serve. Then Volunteer firemen were asked to join the department. The Locust Fire Department was the first rural fire department to be organized in Stanly County.

Under the leadership of Chief Ritchie Tucker, the fire department and assets grew by leaps and bounds for the next 6 years. The support from the whole community was tremendous.

Continue reading ‘Locust Fire Department Early History’ »

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Northern Wake Fire Department Ceremony – Sunday, July 23

On Sunday, July 22, at 2:00 p.m., Northern Wake Fire Department is conducting a ceremony at Station 1 at 11713 Six Forks Road.

The event will celebrate the creation of the new organization, which started operation on July 1 as a consolidation of Bay Leaf and Stony Hill fire departments.

And they’ll dedicate Rescue 35, a recently delivered 2017 Pierce Velocity, with a wet-down and push-in ceremony.

See prior postings about the new department and their new rescue. Plus this posting with audio of Stony Hill signing off on July 1.

More about NWFD: web site | Facebook | Twitter


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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – July 20, 2017

A regular meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission will be held on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The location is the Wake County Emergency Service Education Center, 221 South Rogers Lane. They’ll be in Suite 160, the large conference room. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

Agenda is below. View the meeting documents.

  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Billy Myrick
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members
    • PresentAppointments of Alternate Voting Members
  • Items of Business
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Adoption of Minutes for March 16, 2017 Regular Meeting
    • Adoption of Minutes for May 4, 2017 Special Called Meeting
  • Public Comments:
    • Comments from the public, on items not on the agenda, will be received at this time, with a maximum of 3 minutes per person. A signup sheet for those who wish to speak during the public comments section of the meeting is located at the entrance of the meeting room.
  • Regular Agenda
    • North Region Subcommittee Appointments
    • Adoption – Fire Commission Rules of Procedure
    • Consolidation of Fire Commission Subcommittees
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report
    • Standing Committee Updates
      • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Staffing and Compensation
      • Steering
      • Training
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Director Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting September 21, 2017
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Burlington and Graham Fire Alarm Box Locations – 1920-21

Updated with some tips on using the DigitalNC site, for browsing, reading, and downloading city directories. Scroll to bottom.

Random history. Fire alarm box locations in the towns of Burlington and Graham, as printed in the Burlington, Graham and Haw River, N.C. City Directory, 1920-21. It’s one of hundreds available from DigitalNC.


Interested in the history of your fire department? Look to city directories for summary information,  station addresses, and even the names of members, with their occupation (BFD, “fire dept”, etc.) beside their name and address.

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Some city directories also included a list of fire alarm box locations, in those cities and towns with such systems. As memory serves, these lists appear in earlier versus later directories. Say, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s.  Your mileage may vary.

Click to enlarge:


Tips ‘n’ Tricks

What’s the best way to browse these city directories on the Digital NC site, and without convoluted click paths or endless searching and scrolling? Here’s my workflow, though be warned, it requires some up-front time and bandwidth.

  1. Find the city or town that you’re seeking.
  2. Find the earliest city directory available.
  3. Open that directory in a new window.
  4. Click Download and save a PDF copy. This may take a few minutes, as these files are large.
  5. Close that window, and repeat with the next available directory.
  6. Rinse and repeat, until you’ve saved copies of all available directories.
  7. Open the first of the saved directories, which are PDF files.
  8. Use the PDF reader on your computer to easily browse, scroll, or even search (using Find) for text strings.

But wait, Batman, what about the search featured, in the individual directory display window? That’s also useful, but can be a bit clunky. If searching on two or more words, use quotation marks. Such as “fire alarm.”

There’s also powerful search features on other screens, such as the one listing all available years for a particularly city or town. And across all of the city directories, and all of DigitalNC.

Happy hunting! 

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Rebuilding Fire Station 6 – Update July 2017 – Demolition Starting Soon

This is an ongoing blog posting about the rebuilding of Fire Station 6.


  • 07/17/17 – Demolition starting soon
  • 05/30/17 – Now closed
  • 05/27/17 – Moving day is nigh!
  • 04/20/17 – Construction bid awarded, other updates
  • 03/11/16 – Comparing current and future station
  • 03/10/16 – 3D renderings
  • 03/04/16 – Another public meeting scheduled
  • 10/07/15 – Public meeting recap
  • 10/07/15 – Historical correction 

July 17, 2017

Demolition Starting Soon

Permits have been completed, and abatement and then salvage starts this week. Demolition should start by the end of the month.

May 31, 2017

Now Closed

Fire Station 6 on Oberlin Road has closed. Engine 6 on “B” platoon shuttered the fire station at 10:29 a.m. on Monday, May 29. They have relocated to nearby Fire Station 5 in Cameron Village, where they’ll share quarters with Engine 5 during the fourteen-month project. Demolition starts in July. See photos from moving day, from inside the fire station, design drawings, and some historical photos.


May 27, 2017

Moving Day is Nigh!

Engine 6 relocates to Station 5 on Monday, May 29. The oldest active engine house in the city will be closed, and a new fire station will be erected on the site. Watch this space for updates, as construction gets underway.

Continue reading ‘Rebuilding Fire Station 6 – Update July 2017 – Demolition Starting Soon’ »

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Seagate Fire Department – Vintage Apparatus, Corporate Dissolution

More random history.

The Seagate (also spelled Sea Gate) Volunteer Fire Department in New Hanover County, outside Wilmington, was formed in 1940 to protect of the fishing community to help protect along Bradley Creek and Greenville Sound. The first apparatus was a 1931 automobile with three drums mounted on the back and a fan belt-powered pump. The first (?) fire station location was 122 Sebrell Avenue. The department moved in 1955 to 6012 Oleander Drive.

Vintage Apparatus

Lee Wilson photographed the department’s apparatus on March 1, 1992. See the original versions. Click to enlarge:

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Pictured left to right, top to bottom are:

  • Engine 791, 1970 Ford/Hahn
  • Engine 794, 1988 Ford/Boyer
  • Unit 761
  • Tanker 746, 1983 Ford, 3500 gallons
  • Engine 792, 1970 Ford/American LaFrance

Corporate Dissolution

The Seagate fire district was eventually impacted by city annexation. In 1985, over 55 percent of their district was consumed. In 2005, the remained was annexed and they ceased operation and dissolved the corporation. Here’s the plan they filed with the Secretary of State, with their articles of dissolution.

President: Thomas Eric White
Vice President: Tim Wilson
Secretary/Treasurer: Mike Garner
Directors: Thomas Eric White, Tim Wilson, Mike Garner, Shawn Schilling,Ron Twigg, Sidney Daniels

Dissolution of the corporation authorized on August 16, 2005. Effective upon filing on December 5, 2005.

Background Statement

The corporation was incorporated March 29, 1956 as a volunteer fire department in New Hanover County and has existed as such, providing fire protection for the residents of New Hanover County since that date. By the summer of 2005, the City of Wilmington had annexed substantially all of the area previously served by the department, providing fire protection services through its own fire department. At that time, the decision was taken by the directors, officers, and members of the corporation to terminate the corporate business and dissolve the corporation. In general terms, the plan so approved calls for the liquidation and disposal of the corporate assets and distribution of net cash proceeds therefrom to certain local churches which have been supportive of the department during its existence.


  1. Real Property. The real property is to be sold, with structures intact, to the City of Wilmington. To this end, the corporation has accepted an offer to purchase from the City of Wilmington at a price of $650,000.00. This purchase and sale is to be completed as quickly as possible, consistent with the needs of the parties. The fire department of the City of Wilmington will begin occupying and operating the real property as a fire station no later than October 1, 2005, and during the period necessary to complete the transfer of ownership. When the sale is completed, the net proceeds from the sale will be retained by the corporation for distribution in accordance with this Plan.
  2. Personal Property. All marketable apparatus and other vehicles owned by the corporation will be sold. Those apparatus or vehicles which lack significant value or marketability because of age or condition will be donated to other fire departments which are able to use them. Equipment associated with each apparatus will be offered with the apparatus, with any rejected items retained by the corporation for disposal by sale or donation, depending upon the nature and age of the equipment.
  3. Cash. All cash assets of the corporation, including the proceeds from the liquidation of corporate non-cash assets will be retained in the corporate treasury pending dissolution. After payment of all obligations of the corporation and costs of dissolution, the funds will be distributed.’
  4. Distribution. The corporation does not own any assets requiring transfer, return, or conveyance. Prior to distribution of cash assets all obligations or liabilities of the corporation shall be paid. When liabilities or obligations are satisfied and all costs and expenses of dissolution are paid the remaining cash assets will be distributed to the following religious organizations in the percentages indicated.

Sea Gate Baptist Church 30%
Oleander Methodist Church 30%
St. Andrews On the Sound Episcopal Church 10%
Windemere Presbyterian Church 10%
St. Matthew A.M.E. Church 10%
Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church 10%

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Legal History of 87 South Volunteer Fire Department

Random history, found in the articles of disillusion of the 87 South Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., that operated in Alamance County from 1983 to 2005, until its corporation merged with Eli Whitney Fire Department. 


The 87 South VFD (87SVFD) was incorporated February 1, 1983. The initiative for forming the fire department corporation came from the Mt. Herman community. The fire district was formed from sections of Alamance County fire districts Stations 1, 5, 6, and 9. The Mt. Herman community had planned on having the fire station located on Mt. Herman-Rock Creek Rd. near the intersection with Thompson Mill Rd. and Bass Mountain Rd., near the Mt. Herman Church and ball field. North Carolina State General Statutes however, mandated that the fire station be placed near the geographical center of the district.

The fire station was located at its present site on land donated by Mr. Frank Rogers. The placement of the fire station at this site resulted in the loss of much of the support, especially financial, from the organizing group of the Mt. Herman community. In order to make the station functional fire trucks and much of the other equipment requirements were met by donations from the Eli Whitney fire department (Station 5) (EWVFD).

87SVFD did provide limited funds from a grant at one time to purchase small equipment such as turnout gear, SCBA air packs, etc. The 87SVFD was de facto incorporated into the EWVFD in essentially all functions. The two stations were maintained as separate named, incorporated entities to support the provision of extra funding from the county.

In 1985 Alamance County changed the way fire departments were funded to a tax-based system. Station 5 and Station 11, since they were essentially one functioning unit, were placed together into one fiscal fire district and since that time all tax revenues have been distributed in the name of the EWVFD.

A joint Board of Directors has existed for the 87SVFD and EWVFD since 1983. New state ISO regulations require that these two units either be formally combined into one department or completely split into two departments with separate chiefs, officers, etc. The latter is unattractive both organizationally and fiscally to the department, especially Station 11/87 S VFD and we have chosen the former i.e. to formally combine the two departments into one and dissolve the 87SVFD non-profit corporation.


Essentially the 87SVFD and EWVFD have been one entity since 1983 and for tax purposes since 1985. All of the principal physical assets associated with the 87SVFD, land, building, fire trucks, as well as other substantial current equipment are formally deeded or titled in the name of the EWVFD or were purchased with tax dollars distributed in the name of the EWVFD. The 87SVFD checking account has been closed and the assets moved to the EWVFD.

Thus, the 87SVFD has no assets to distribute and exists in name only. Therefore, the dissolution of the 87SVFD and incorporation of all functions into the one unit, the EWVFD, was initiated and given initial approval by The Board of Directors at its April 21, 2005 meeting. Motions to finalize the dissolution of 87SVFD will be made and voted on by the Board of Directors at the August 18, 2005 meeting. All board members will be notified by mail of the pending vote at least 2 weeks before the scheduled vote. Appropriate documents will be filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office pursuant to N.C.G.S. 55A-14-03.

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Vintage Brochure – Zebulon Rescue Squad GMC/Murphy Crash Truck

For your Friday enjoyment, here’s a vintage brochure from Murphy Body Works in Wilson, NC. Advertised is a low-profile, light-duty rescue truck that they built for Zebulon Rescue Squad.

The chassis was a 1975-76 GMC Sierra and it replaced a 1954 GMC panel van and ex-Raleigh Rescue Squad vehicle. It served until 1995, when replaced with a slightly larger unit. Read more ZRS history at www.legeros.com/history/ems.


Murphy built a couple other rescue trucks in our area, notably two ambulance-body units for the Raleigh Fire Department, built on 1974 and 1974 Chevrolet Silverado chassis. They also built a similar unit for the Wake New Hope Fire Department, on a 1974 Chevrolet chassis.

Readers can add other memories about Murphy rescue trucks and ambulances in/around our area. Click to enlarge:

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The features as noted in the brochure included:

  • 20-inch deep compartments for storage of tools.
  • Alternating flashing lights [on] each side a rear.
  • Large inside storage space for rain gear, hand lines and other equipment.
  • 8000 pound front-mounted electric winch, and 110-volt waterproof outlet for electric tools.
  • Storage for power system on slide tray for quick removal. o Storage compartment for Hurst tool.
  • Fold-down step for access to top of body.
  • 3500 watt generator on slide-out tray to power four Quartz lights with 110 volts of power
  • Rear step bumper with hinged cover to accommodate ball hitch for pulling trailer. Also safety chain hooks at rear.
  • Extending 500 watt Quartz light stanchion, one on each corner, with separate switch in both compartment.
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