The Old City Seal and The New City Logo

Last week, the City of Raleigh revealed a new logo design, and to a wide range of reactions. Google for those.

Back in the day, a pair of Raleigh rigs sported the city’s earlier logo, the city seal. Those were the 1950 Mack and the 1950 FWD, pictured below. 

How might a modern truck look with the new logo added? Submitted for your amusement. 

Click to enlarge:

Photo credits: North Carolina State Archives (top left), Raleigh Fire Department film footage (top right), Mike Legeros (bottom).

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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – November 16, 2017

The Wake County Fire Commission meets again on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the Wake County Emergency Service Education Center, 221 South Rogers Lane. Starts at 7:00 p.m. in suite 160, the big honkin’ conference room. 

Agenda is below. View meeting documents.

  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Billy Myrick
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members Present
  • Items of Business
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Adoption of Minutes for September 21, 2017 Regular Meeting
  • 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.
  • Regular Agenda
    • Eastern Region Insurance District Realignment
    • Revised Apparatus Policies and Procedures
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report
    • Standing Committee Updates
      • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Staffing and Compensation
      • Steering
      • Training
      • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Director Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment
    • Next Meeting January 18, 2018
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Fire at the Catholic Orphanage – October 29, 1905

The News & Observer this week has a neat story by Josh Shaffer about Raleigh’s old Catholic Orphanage, the cemetery that was once on the grounds, and reconstructing the history of what happened to the graves.

The article also references the Sunday, October 29, 1905 fire at a dormitory that forced three seminary students to jump from the fourth-story roof.

Mattresses were spread to cushion their fall, but John Gladish, 16, leaped and missed the softer landing spot. He died from his injuries later that day.

Here’s Mr. Blogger’s summary of the fire, from his Raleigh Fire Department timelines:

Dormitory at Catholic orphanage burns.Fire reported about 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning in the four-story “Priest’s building.” Five young men, students at the orphanage preparing for the priesthood, escape by jumping from the windows. Three are injured after leaping from the roof, one of whom later dies that evening. Four priests also escape from third-story windows. They survive unscathed. The building is almost a total loss, with only the walls left standing. A “squad of cadets” from nearby A&M college assist with the firefighting. Members of the Rescue and Hook and Ladder companies also respond, but can only prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings. Several decades later, the fire inspires the legend of “Cry Baby Lane,” a nearby road upon which visitors purportedly hear the screaming of children and smell smoke. Loss $20,000. The orphanage is located in the Nazareth Community, two and a half miles from Raleigh. (October 29, 1905)

Original Newspaper Articles

Here are the original newspaper articles from the Morning Post and News & Observer, scanned microfilm and saved as JPG images. 


Maps, Photo

This Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from 1903 depicts the fire building and the orphanage grounds. See a 1950 map on this Hidden Raleigh page of mine. Click once or twice to enlarge:

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This photograph appeared in the November 25, 1905, issue of the News & Observer, a month after the fire:


Second Major Fire That Morning

The fire was the second major fire in (or near) the city that morning. The first damaged Walter Woollcott’s store on Martin Street:

Walter Woollcott’s store at 14 Martin Street burns. Fire reported at 12:30 a.m. from Box 23. Fire originates on the third floor, which is a total loss. Water damages the first and second floors. Flames burst out the rear end of the store, adjacent to the Yarborough Hotel and causing panic among the guests. Though flames threaten to spread to the hotel and the Merchants and Farmers Bank building, the fire is contained to the Woollcott store. Loss $35,750. The fire caused by a stove. Owner Job P. Wyatt. (October 29, 1905)


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New Firefighting Academy at Chapel Hill High School

A new firefighting academy for high school students was announced by the town of Chapel Hill on Monday. The town is contributing a fire truck, one of their two 2000 or 2001 International/KME pumpers, which will be dedicated in a ceremony at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Below is their press release. See also this Chapel Hill News story from December.

High school students interested in community safety careers have a new training opportunity, thanks to a partnership among the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) department and Durham Technical Community College.

A new Firefighting Academy, housed at Chapel Hill High School, will offer students from across the district classes beginning their sophomore year. They will earn credit toward an associate’s degree as well as a certification.

During their senior year, these students have the opportunity to enroll in the EMT (emergency medical technician) component of the Public Safety Academy.  With the successful completion of both program requirements, the students will be eligible for employment as professional firefighters upon high school graduation.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department has donated a fire truck to the new program. The dedication ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Chapel Hill Training Chief Keith Porterfield and Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger will present the deed title to the truck to CHCCS Superintendent Pam Baldwin and Board Chair James Barrett.

Following the ceremony, students in the program will be on hand to demonstrate the equipment and to entertain discussions about their work.


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Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter – Fall 2017

The fall 2017 issue of the Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter has been posted to

Contents include:

  • Residents Rescued From Fire – Story from Irelan Drive 
  • Fire Prevention Week summary
  • Renovations Completed at Fire Station 2
  • Recruit Academy Graduates
  • Engine 1 Receives Honor – Crew on “A” platoon for actions in January
  • Station 12 Construction – Update
  • Third Tiller Delivered and Two New Engines
  • More Facility Updates
  • Promotions and Appointments
  • Swift Water Rescue Teams Deployed to Texas – After Hurricane Harvey
  • Governor Declares Search and Rescue Day
  • North Carolina Water Rescue Teams Recognized – For response to Hurricane Matthew
  • New Annual Hiring Process

The newsletter is a quarterly publication for personnel, retirees, and citizens. The editor is Mike Legeros. Thanks this issue to all content contributors! Read the new issue(PDF).


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Raleigh Selects Site for New Fire Station 3

Include in the Consent Agenda for the November 8 meeting of City Council is authorization to purchase a portion of a parcel addressed as 1034 Bragg Street as a site for replacing Fire station 3. 

The fire station site faces Rock Quarry Road just north of Raleigh Boulevard. View agenda item as well as PDF attachment.

The property to be purchased is currently owned by the state Department of Corrections. The city is seeking about 1.74 acres for the future fire station. The parcel is appraised at $300,000.

Funding for design and construction will be sought in FY19, along with funding for Station 13 (formerly planned as Station 30) on Ronald Drive off Wake Forest Road.


The site is located 1.7 road miles southeast of current Station 3. The change will redistribute their first-due district, and which will aid in coverage to the south and east, as Station 12 is being relocated about a mile east as well. Click to enlarge:


Legacy Station 3

The current (or legacy) Station 3 is located at 13 S. East Street. It was built in 1951 and is the oldest active engine house in the city. The 3,564 square-foot building occupies a 0.3 acre site. 

It’s planned for replacement at a new location due to the tiny lot size. The new fire station is planned in the 15,000 square-foot range.

The city’s third “career” fire station was originally located at 135 E. Hargett. It opened in 1913 and moved to the current location in 1951. Station 3 housed a rescue company from 1976 to 1978, a brush truck circa 1983 to 1985, and a mini-pumper from 1986 to 2016. 


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Friday Night’s Working Fire at WRAL

November 9 update. Added a couple more details to the narrative, including corrected street address and notes about the programming that was interrupted only for an Internet live stream.

Friday night saw an unusual incident in Raleigh, a working fire at a broadcast studio building. At 7:43 p.m., Engine 8 and Ladder 7 were dispatched to an automatic fire alarm at WRAL studios, at 2619 Western Boulevard. That’s a two-building campus, though tax records say it’s four buildings.


Fire was reported in the oldest section of the larger building, a two-story structure with 43,445 square-feet, built 1958. That’s the familiar brick structure on the corner and opposite the upper parking lot of Mission Valley Shopping Center.

Engine 8 arrived with nothing showing at the northwest (A/D) corner. Employees advised of a small fire in a utility room on the second floor. The “box” was filled out, along with a working fire assignment, for Engine 5, Engine 20, Engine 1, Ladder 4, Rescue 1, Battalion 3, Battalion 5, Air 1 (changed to Air 2, since Air 1 is staffed by Engine 8), Car 20 (Division Chief), and Car 402 (Investigator).



Quick Suppression, Extended Overhaul

Upon arriving, Engine 5 laid a dry supply line to Engine 8, from a hydrant on the northeast corner of the building. EMS staged in the circular driveway in the front of the campus. Command and all other incoming units were staged in the parking lot.

The fire was contained to the one room and its contents. It was quickly extinguished with a single hand line from Ladder 7. There was extended overhaul, however, for smoke and water removal, as well as air quality monitoring. One employee from the engineering department tried to put of the fire and suffered smoke inhalation. He was transported to the hospital.

The building was evacuated for about two hours and one live-streamed program was suspended. (Regular NBC and Fox50 programming was not interrupted.) The station’s staff did a bit of news-gathering at the scene, using their phones to record pictures and video clips. They were let back into the building about 9:00 p.m., and in time to begin production for the day’s final newscast.

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See more photos from Mike Legeros.


Historical Perspective

What other fires at radio or television stations in/around Raleigh have happened over the years?

1964 – Former studio and offices of WNAO-TV and WKIX at 2128 Western Boulevard Burn. Occupied as Town and Country Furniture Story when it burned on February 23, 1964. Read more + scroll

Readers, were there others?

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Beaufort Gets a Tiller!

The Beaufort Fire Department in Carteret County, my high school stomping grounds, has received a tiller! 

From Montgomery County, MD

Future Hook and Ladder 54, a 1997 Seagrave Marauder (?), 100-foot. Delivered on October 13. Operated by Hillandale VFD in Montgomery County, MD. Former Truck 7-12, then a reserve for HVFD. 

Donated by local resident, who purchased the truck as a gift. They have chosen to remain anonymous. See this WITN story, which notes that the state has recommended for years that Beaufort have a ladder truck.

Still needs lettering, equipment, training, etc. Lee Wilson was in town last week and snapped a few pictures. See his photos.


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But Not Beaufort’s First Ladder

The new tiller is the town’s second ladder truck. The first was this 1941 Dodge “COE” with a 55-foot ladder. It was built by firefighters using a truck and materials provided by the town.

Click to enlarge these photos that reader Jesse Chaplain shared some years ago (in this blog post):


Courtesy Jesse Chaplain

Plus this fine photo from the BFD page on Facebook. Look at those old rigs. Click to slightly enlarge:


Tillers in North Carolina

Beaufort’s delivery bumps up the statewide tiller count:

  • Beaufort – 1997 Seagrave Marauder
  • Cornelius-Lemley – 2016 Seagrave Marauder II
  • High Point – 2004 Pierce Arrow XT
  • Raleigh – 2010, 2015, 2017 Pierce Arrow XT
  • Wilmington – 2014 Pierce PUC
  • Winston-Salem – KME (in production
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Swansboro Fire Department Celebrates 75 Years – Saturday, October 28

The Swansboro Fire Department in Onslow County is celebrating their 75th anniversary Saturday, October 28, at the town Public Safety Facility from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Public Safety Facility

That building is the former fire station, which was renovated and expanded in 2015 to also house the police department. The $567,273 project included new bay doors, adding more first-floor space, and an upgraded exterior to meet the town’s appearance standards.

Google Maps

Chartered in 1942

The fire department was chartered in 1942, recalls former member James Baggs, 93, in this Tideland News story. “Back then people just showed up to help [when the fire siren went off],” he notes. “There was no real training, but fires got put out.”

Their first fire engine was an “old Dodge” that was homemade. Had a pump mounted on the back and was parked in one of the stalls at Ed Trexler’s service station. (The truck was moved outside during business hours.) [ Notes the SFD web site, it was a 1943 Dodge pick-up that also had a small water tank. ]

Later, the town built a storage building behind the old USO building. “Some of the Jaycees got some [concrete] block and we buil tthat building. It had two stalls. The fire truck went into one and the trash truck went into the other,” Baggs notes.

Their first new apparatus was brought from Chicago, and three members flew to the Windy City to drive it back. Funds for the truck came from whatever “the town could spare, augmented by the occasional fundraiser.” Eventually, the county also helped with funding.

Anyone have old or old-old photos of SFD? Shoot me a note and we will add.

Established in 1783

The fire department’s web site also notes that the  Swansboro Fire Department was established December 26, 1783. That was “concurrent with the establishment of the town as a municipal corporation.” The town had only six streets and the firefighters “were, of course, volunteers.”

Need to dig into that reference. Guessing the newly incorporated town had some basic fire equipment, probably hand equipment. But also a formal fire department? Unsure.


The Daily News – Public Safety biulding project nears completion, December 14, 2015 – Retrieved from

Tideland News – Former chief recalls Swansboro Fire Department’s early days, October 25, 2017 – Retrieved from

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