City and County Budgets for FY18

Proposed budgets for FY18 have been announced of late, for local cities and counties. Here’s what’s happening on the fire department and fire service fronts, in those proposed budgets released thus far:


Salary range adjustments for firefighters, part of changes to compensation system for fire and police. Includes such adjustments as:
Starting pay will increase to $39,200, highest of any regional municipality in FY17.
Pay maximums for senior firefighters will increase by nearly 20%.

Two engines
One ladder (another tiller, we’ve heard)
One rescue (larger replacement for Rescue 1)
Other “service equipment” (two mini-pumpers, we’ve heard, for starters).

Ten firefighter positions, supported by grant from Homeland Security. Midyear addition, e.g. for calendar year 2018.
One Deputy Fire Marshal position.

Fire station maintenance – $1.3M
Fire Station 14 – $1.07M, addition funding to build retaining wall on site
Fire Station 1 – $1.6M out of $20.7M, over three fiscal years between FY17 and FY20
Fire driving course – $100,000, for design and preparation.



Thirty firefighter positions for two companies for Station 17, under construction on Leesville Road.


Wake County

Noticed Emergency Management now under Fire Services. Happened in September 2016. How’d he miss that?


Durham County

Nothing released yet.


Three firefighter positions.



Pumper replacement – #1706 – $650K
Replacing 1999 KME, current reserve

Note: Station 9 replacement on Walnut Street is already funded. Construction planned summer 2018 to fall 2019. See this project site.


Future Fiscal Years

Aerial ladder replacement (two) – $2,750,000

Aerial ladder replacement – $1,400,000
Sta 10 – O’Kelly Church Road – $750,000

Sta 10 – O’Kelly Church Road – $7M
SCBA replacement – $2M

Pumper replacement – $747,500
PPumper for Sta 10 – $800,000
Sta 10 – O’Kelly Church Road – $1.5M

Replacement pumpers – $4Mbr>RReplacement rescues – $1.2M
Sta 11 – White Oak Church Road
Sta 12 – West Lake/Middle Creek – $9.7M
Sta 13 – Lewter Shop Road and 751
Sta 14 – RDU/Pleasant Grove Church Road – $12M


Facebook Comments

New Rescue For Apex… And Some History

The Apex Fire Department placed a new Rescue 4 in service at Station 4 on Saturday, May 13.  The 2017 E-One Typhoon walk-around heavy-rescue, job #140490 , was delivered on April 21.

Features include top-mounted coffin compartments, a rear staircase, and a lighting tower. (Believe it also has a cascade system, for filling air bottles.) Lee Wilson has been following the progress of the truck, and has posted pictures. See his Flickr album.

Lee Wilson photo

It replaces a 1995 HME/Rescue Master walk-in rescue, a demo truck that was added in late 1995 or early 1996. Upon that truck’s delivery, which included new rescue tools, the Apex Fire Department assumed the role of rescue services from Apex Rescue Squad. (The latter becoming the EMS-only organization, Apex EMS.) 

Earlier Rescue Trucks

The prior rescue rig was a 1985 Ford L/4 Guys walk-in rescue, and used primarily as a service company. It was equipped with four SCBA mounts in the walk-in compartment, a mounted generator, and fireground support gear. After the delivery of the 1995 KME, it was used as a dive truck for a period of time. It’s shown in the montage below, and now serves Salisbury FD as Squad 4.

Apex FD also had a later, second rescue, a 1992 International/3D walk-around rescue added in 2004. It originally served Forsyth Rescue Squad, and the North Carolina Canine Emergency Response Team (NCCERT). Click to enlarge:

Left to right, top to bottom: Lee Wilson photos, Apex Fire Department photo (lower right)

The 1992 International/3D entered the fleet in 2004, as part of a partnership with AFD and NCCERT. The canine response team relocated from Winston-Salem to Apex that year, after Forsyth Rescue Squad closed shop in 2003.

NC USAR Task Force 4

NCCERT was also a core component of NC USAR Task Force 4, along with Troutman Fire Department. The partnership added AFD to the task force, and provided a home for  NCCERT’s vehicles and equipment. (The canine team was renting a warehouse on Perry Street.)

The town via the fire department agreed to house and maintain the equipment, which included the 1992 rescue truck and two cargo trailers with trench and collapse rescue equipment, a water rescue truck and various boat and jet ski trailers, a converted modular ambulance-turned-communications unit, and more. Click to enlarge:

NCCERT and Apex Fire Departments photos

In 2006, the town purchased the 1992 rescue truck from NCCERT, along with the two rescue trailers and their equipment, a flatbed trailer, and a panel van that was used as a dive response unit. Also that year, Morrisville Fire Department joined NC USAR Task Force 4.

Read this history of Task Force 4, which originated as the state’s first independent USAR team, North Carolina Task Force 1, and which was originally named North Carolina Strike Force 1. 

Racing Transporter Turned Rescue Truck

In 2010 or 2011, a former racing transporter was purchased for use by NC USAR Task Force 4. 

The 1995 Freightliner and three-axle extended cargo trailer replaced the rescue trailers for transporting trench and collapse rescue equipment. It cost about $42,000, and the monies were donated by the Apex Community Auxiliary, a group that supports Apex EMS. Click to enlarge:

Mike Legeros photo

In 2013, NC USAR Task Force 4 was dissolved, along with three other teams, after the state streamlined the number of state-sponsored USAR teams.

The Apex Fire Department has remained a state-recognized swift water rescue resource, however. They response several times a year to local lakes and waterways and flood-impacted areas.

Facebook Comments

NC Strike Force 1, NC USAR Teams, Forsyth Rescue, and More History

North Carolina Strike Force 1.

Ever heard of that entity?

They were the state’s first Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, organized in the late 1990s. They were conceived as regional technical rescue team that was based in Forsyth and Davidson counties.

They were incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2000, and renamed from “Strike Force” to “Task Force” in May 2000. Two years later, they shortened their name to NCTF-1.

But wait, Batman, the state-sponsored USAR task forces weren’t created until 2003. What’s the story here?

Thanks to some readers and a recent discussion on social media, here’s a history of the organization, as well as one of their founding agencies, the now-defunct Forsyth Rescue Squad. 

Plus a history of the North Carolina USAR program, and even some information on rescue squads no longer operating in Forsyth County.

Short Version

  • 1959 – Forsyth Rescue Squad (FRS) chartered. 
  • 1962 – FRS incorporated. 
  • 1969 – FRS adds first technical rescue truck.
  • 1989 – National USAR response system created, using city- and county-based teams.
  • 1995 – After Oklahoma City bombing, states begin developing USAR teams.
  • 1998 – North Carolina Strike Force 1 (NCSF1) created as regional technical response team, as joint venture between FRS and Thomasville Rescue Squad.
  • 1999 – North Carolina Canine Emergency Response Team (NCCERT), as a statewide search and rescue resource, and a participating agency in NCSF1 with a home base at FRS.
  • 1999 – First deployment of NCSF1.
  • 2000c – NCSF1 adds Troutman Fire-Rescue.
  • 2000 – NCSF1 incorporated.
  • 2000 – NCCERT incorporated.
  • 2001 – NCSF1 renamed North Carolina Task Force 1 (NCTF1).
  • 2001 – After events of September 11, federal monies made available through NC EM, to develop statewide USAR program.
  • 2002 – State implements progressive plan to establish regional USAR teams.
  • 2002 – NCTF1 renamed “NCTF1”, abbreviated.
  • 2003 – State identifies eleven regional USAR teams
  • 2003 – NCTF1 begins operating as a state team named North Carolina USAR Task Force 4.
  • 2003 – FRS disbands. Most of their vehicles and equipment disposed to NCCERT.
  • 2004 – NCCERT relocates home base to Apex, NC, and partners with Apex FD.
  • 2004 – Task Force 4 adds Apex FD.
  • 2006 – Task Force 4 adds Morrisville FD.
  • 2013 – State streamlines USAR teams, dissolves four teams.
  • 2013 – Task Force 4 dissolved.

Long Version

Visit this web page.


Facebook Comments

Video of Saturday’s Fallen Firefighters Memorial Parade

Video from Yours Truly of Saturday’s fallen firefighters memorial parade, part of the day’s events ahead of the annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony. Participating fire apparatus–with a couple exceptions–represented departments that have lost one or more members in the line of duty. Plus pipes band and honor guard. Still shots coming. Preview of ceremony pictures posted. See

Facebook Comments

Eleven Fallen Firefighters Honored on Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Saturday, May 6, 2017, the annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will be conducted at Nash Square in downtown Raleigh. The event starts at 1:00 p.m. and will be preceded with a parade at 10:00 a.m., featuring honor guards, pipes and drums, and fire apparatus from across the state, from departments with one or more fallen members in their past. See event information.

Also this weekend, motorcyclists from across the state will participate in the annual Red Helmet Ride to support the families of the fallen members and the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation. They’ll ride on May 5 and May 6. View the flyer.

Eleven firefighters will be added to the memorial wall this year. Ten passed away in 2016, and one is a legacy addition from 1967.

The memorial was dedicated in 2006, and contains the names of some 290 firefighters and fire service members who’ve died in the line of duty since 1902.

And if this posting seems familiar, it is. Have reused the text and formatting from last year’s posting.


This Year’s Honored

Lee Roy Horton Statesville FD 11/22/67
Joshua Woods Siler City FD 1/12/16
James Ronald Varnell Bakertown FD 2/2/16
Richard Michael Sheltra Pineville FD 4/30/16
John Morris Davis Jr. Kenly FD 5/7/16
Prentice J. Tyndall Hugo FD 5/12/16
Bradley S. Long Sherrill’s Ford-Terrell FD 6/6/16
Joshua Lee Warren Alexis FD 6/16/16
David Kevin Britt Severn Fire FD 6/18/16
Lennie J. Terry Triple Springs FD 12/11/16
Donald Key II Whispering Pines FD 12/27/16

Details on those who died in 2016:

  • Joshua Woods, Firefighter, 24, died as a result of injuries, after his personal vehicle crashed while responding to an emergency call. Read USFA report.
  • James Varnell, Firefighter, 53, died after becoming ill, as he prepared to leave the fire station, after participating in fire department training. Read USFA report.
  • Richard Sheltra, Firefighter, 20, died of injuries sustained while operating on the interior of a structure fire at a strip mall. Read USFA report.
  • John Davis, Firefighter, 45, died after suffering a cardiac arrest, while at the scene of a motor-vehicle accident, and after assisting other responders with extrication. Read USFA report.
  • Prentice Tyndall, Firefighter, 45, died of a brain injury, after becoming ill, the day after answering a fire call. Read USFA report.
  • Bradley Long, Captain, 28, died during a diving operation, while searching for a missing boater. He and a second diver were in the water when a mayday was called. He never resurfaced, and his body was later found. Read USFA report.
  • Joshua Warren, Firefighter, 34, died after becoming ill during physical fitness training at a local gym, while on duty. Read USFA report.
  • David Britt, Fire Chief, 54, died after suffering a medical emergency at his home, several hours after responding to a vehicle collision. Read USFA report.
  • Lennie Terry, Assistant Chief, 64, died of a heart-related ailment, after participating in a fire department activity.
  • Donald Key, Lieutenant, 31, died after becoming ill at home, after returning from an emergency call. Read USFA report.

And about the legacy addition:

  • Lee Horton, Captain, 41, was killed in a bomb blast, when his booby-trapped personal vehicle exploded beside Station 2. Read blog posting.
Facebook Comments

Big Orange Pierce Platform for Buis Creek

Coming to the Buis Creek Fire Department is this newly completed 2017 Pierce Arrow XT aerial platform, 1500/300/100-feet. The colors are those of Campbell University’s Fighting Camels. Says me, this is most striking piece of fire apparatus in North Carolina. (Sorry Greenville, with your purple pumper. Sorry Carolina, with those keen Carolina blue trucks.)

The truck arrived at Atlantic Emergency Solutions in Fayetteville this week. Keep an eye on Lee Wilson’s Flickr site, as he’s been to AES and taken some pictures. For larger versions of this factory picture, see the Pierce Flickr page

As noted in the blog archives posting from 2015, the new platform replaces a 1988 Pierce Arrow rear-mounted platform that originally served the town of Cary. 


Facebook Comments

Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – May 4, 2017

A special-called meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission will be held on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The location is the Wake County Emergency Service Education Center, 221 South Rogers Lane. The room is 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 Present
  • Items of Business
    • Approval of Agenda
  • Regular Agenda
    • Sub Committee Proposed Appointments
    • Appointment Chairman (Volunteerism & Recruitment Sub Committee)
    • Adoption of Fire Commission Rules of Procedure
    • Apparatus Reduction and Movement Plan
    • Northern Wake Consolidation
    • Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Presentation
  • 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
  • Public Comments:
    • Comments from the public will be received at the time appointed by the Chairman of the Fire Commission for 30 minutes maximum time allotted, 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.
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting May 18, 2017


Facebook Comments

Raleigh City Council Ratifies Purchase of Properties for Fire Stations 14 and 30

Here’s an administrative detail that the Raleigh City Council recently resolved, ratifying the prior purchases of two future fire station sites: Station 14 on Harden Road and Station 30 on Ronald Drive. Here’s our blog post with the latest information about the Station 14 project. As for Station 30, that’s an in-fill station that’s planned for the near future. Believe funding will be sought in FY19.

From the recently published minutes (PDF) to the April 5, 2017, Budget Work Session Minutes of the Raleigh City Council:

The City assembled properties on Harden Road and Ronald Drive for the replacement of Fire Station 14 and construction of future Fire Station 30, respectively. For Fire Station 14, staff received Council authorization to purchase 3510 Harden Road during the City Council meeting on September 16, 2014. Although property at 3500 Harden Road and 3504 Harden Road was approved as part of the 2012-13 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in June of 2012, the purchase of these lots was not explicitly authorized by the City Council. 

For Fire Station 30, the property at 1514 Ronald Drive was also approved in the 2012-13 CIP in June of 2012, but the purchase was not explicitly authorized by City Council. Staff reviewed all properties and found them to have met the search parameters for Fire Stations 14 and 30. Staff recommends ratification of the previous property acquisitions at this time. 

Recommendation: Ratify the purchase of 3500 Harden Road and 3504 Harden Road for the purchased price of $410,000 and $325,000, respectively, for Fire Station 14; and, the purchase of 1514 Ronald Drive for the purchased price of $450,000 for Fire Station 30. Upheld on Consent Agenda Baldwin/Thompson – 7 ayes (Mayor absent and excused).

Facebook Comments

Wake Forest Adds Newer Squad 5

The Wake Forest Fire Department has purchased a replacement for Squad 5, which is housed at Station 5, the former Falls Fire Department station. Squad 5 currently operates a 1994 E-One Century top-mounted pumper-tanker, 1000/1000, and also carries rescue equipment.

The new Squad 5 is a 1997 International 4900/Clay Fire Equipment, four-wheel drive, rear-mounted rescue pumper, 1250/500, that last served Weaverville Fire Department in Buncombe County, NC.

Lee Wilson photo (left), Weaverville Fire Department (right)

The truck’s original owner, however, was North Buncombe Volunteer Fire Department. They disbanded in 1999, and protection of their district was assumed by Weaverville Fire Department. (By that time, and perhaps since the beginning of NBVFD in 1976, the two departments shared quarters.)

The truck was then operated by WFD, as Squad 8 and later Engine 8-2. The truck was also later refurbished by Carolina EVS in Canton, NC. Which might be why the water tank is now 500 gallons, versus the 750 gallons cited in earlier specs. 

We’re told that this was a common design and set-up on the north side of Buncombe County for a few years, and Weaverville, French Broad, Jupiter, and Barnardsville had nearly identical trucks.

 Click to enlarge:

Weaverville Fire Department photo

The truck was sold on GovDeals, with an auction ending February 10 for $37,065. Specs from this listing: Conventional cab, 7.6L L6 DIESEL. Clay fire apparatus; Hale 1250 gpm pump; Hannah booster reel; 4500 watt PTO generator; 100 foot electric cord reel; (2) 100 foot hydraulic hose reels (with hose); (2) 12,000 lb Warn winches (front and rear); Federal Q siren; Directional traffic arrow stick; Full lighting package; Engine IHC DTC-530 250HP; Transmission Allison MT-643 Automatic. And with 31,596 miles on the odometer. Click to enlarge:


The truck arrived in Wake Forest about a month ago, and isn’t in service just yet. It’s been repainted red and lettered for WFFD. Lee Wilson took this picture below, at the annual fish fry on Friday. See more photos from Lee.

Lee Wilson photo

This joins a couple other pieces of used fire apparatus at Wake Forest. In 2015, they also added a reserve ladder (1990 E-One Protector, 1500/300/75-foot, ex-Consolidated Fire Company in Johnson County, KS, purchased from Company Two Fire in SoutH Carolina) and a reserve engine (1995 Pierce Dash pumper 1500/500, ex-Raleigh). Search Lee’s Flickr site for “Wake Forest” for pics of those trucks.

Clay Fire Equipment was based in Mobile, AL, says Google. They specialized in rear-mounted pumpers, we’re told.

Thanks to the gang on Facebook for these and other details: Micah, Andrew, Martin, Richard, Barry, and others. 

Facebook Comments