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. 

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Alexander County Firefighter Dies on Duty

Belated blog post. On Monday, Central Alexander Fire Department Captain Michael “Bubba” E. Pennell, 49, died after suffering a medical emergency, while on duty at the fire station. 

He was in the apparatus bay and working on cleaning the vehicles. He was found fallen on the floor, and his fellow firefighters attempted to resuscitate him. Pennell was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center, where he passed away the same day.


Pennell had been a volunteer member of CAFD for over thirty years. He worked as a telecommunicator with Alexander County Sheriff’s Department, a position held for twelve years.

Funeral services will be held at Millersville Baptist Church today, Saturday, at 4:00 p.m. Visitation with the family will begin at 1:00 pm., before the service.

Read his obituary.

Captain Pennell is the second Alexander County firefighter to die in the line of duty, according to my records. Bethlehem Fire Department volunteer firefighter Caleb R. Benfield passed away on October 10, 2012, after sustaining injuries several hours earlier, after his motorcycle crashed within view of the fire station, where he’d been working during the morning performing fire prevention duties. He was returning from lunch, for addition duties at the fire station.


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Rebuilding Fire Station 6 – Update April 2017 – Construction Bid Awarded

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


  • 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 

April 20, 2017

Construction Bid Awarded

Last month, the construction bid was awarded for the Station 6 project. See below. Construction is planned to begin in May, and Engine 6 will be relocated to Station 5 while the new engine house is being built. 

From the City Council meeting minutes of March 7, 2017, published this week:


On March 7, 2017, six formal bids were opened for the Fire Station Number Six New Construction project. KMD Construction submitted the low bid of $5,002,803. After reviewing its bid, KMD Construction requested the bid be withdrawn due to a significant arithmetic error. The next lowest responsible bid was submitted by Pro Construction, Inc. with a bid of $5,057,200. Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation is 16.6 percent. Funding is appropriated in the capital budget.

  • Name of Project: Fire Station Number Six New Construction
  • Managing Division: Engineering Services – Construction Management
  • Reason for Council Review: Formal Bid Award Amount >$500,000
  • Original CIP Budget: $6,395,000
  • Vendor: Pro Construction, Inc.
  • Prior Contract Activity: None
  • Budget Transfer: NA
  • Encumbered with this approval: $5,057,200
  • April 4, 2017

Recommendation: Award the contract to Pro Construction, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $5,057,200 and authorize the City Manager to execute the contract. Upheld on Consent Agenda. Branch/Thompson – 7 ayes (McFarlane absent and excused).

Other Updates

For the last several weeks, Rescue 1 has been housed at Station 6, while sprinklers were being installed at Station 15. The engine was not relocated, however. They should be moving back any day now.

On April 11, 2016, Engine 5 relocated to Station 6, as temporary quarters while renovations of Station 5 started. They returned to their updated engine house on November 10.

Lee Wilson photo (left), Mike Legeros photo (right)

Continue reading ‘Rebuilding Fire Station 6 – Update April 2017 – Construction Bid Awarded’ »

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Raleigh Fire Engines Built in Raleigh

This is a blog archives posting from October 2010. The page is corrupted on the old site, so we’re re-posting here.

From a reader, here’s what looks like a delivery photo (or at least a polished posed photo) of one of two 1986 EEI/Pemfab pumpers that served the city of Raleigh. Equipped with 1500 GPM pumps and 500 gallon tanks, they were delivered in late 1986, and assigned to Engine 3 and Engine 5. Read more about the engines.

More interesting, both were built in Raleigh. Did you known that a fire truck company was once located here? They were named Emergency Equipment Inc. (EEI), and we’ve blogged about them before, in this posting from 2009. Here’s also an old advertisement we found

Emergency Equipment Inc.

Walt McCall’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Fire Engine Manufacturers, published in 2007, contains information about EEI and its predecessor Atlas.  

EEI operated from 1983 to 1999. They built both custom and commercial fire apparatus, including “first-responder type mini pumpers,” engines, tankers, pumper-tankers, rescue pumpers, and rescue trucks. Most of their custom rigs were built on chassis from Spartan Motors. Commercial chassis were specified by the purchaser. Pumps were built by Hale.”

Continue reading ‘Raleigh Fire Engines Built in Raleigh’ »

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Spectacular Blaze Sweeps Four Buildings – November 1915

On November 6, 1915, the “largest fire in Raleigh’s history” threatened an entire city block, as the News & Observer and other buildings burned. Two firemen escaped death, as a building collapsed upon them, as they sprayed water from a rooftop. Windows melted across the street, flying embers started fires. Sound familiar?

The 6:05 a.m. blaze started on the third-floor of a four-story  printing company, and soon spread to the buildings next door, including the two-story News & Observer building, and the second time in three years that the paper’s plant and offices were destroyed by fire. Five people were injured, including four firemen including the two mentioned above, and over $300,000 of property were destroyed.

The intense blaze produced embers that started ten other fires in the vicinity, and charred paper was reportedly picked up as far as Apex, sixteen miles away. The crowd of spectators that gathered was compared to that of the State Fair.

Read about this historic blaze on the Raleigh Fire Museum web site.


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Durham Opens New Fire Station 9

Last week, the Durham Fire Department activated their new Station 9, at 1648 Midland Terrace. It was placed in service on April 13 at about 9:00 a.m. The single-story engine house as three bays and 8,908 square-feet. It houses Engine 9. The facility cost $4,321,600.

Features include separate accommodations for eight firefighters per shift, fitness room, captain’s offices, dining room, kitchen, covered portico/patio, and other support facilities. And it’s a significant improvement from the original Station 9, built in 1977 as a public safety fire station. See below.

The facility is the first of a new fire station prototype. See the city’s project page for more details.

Marshall Sherard photo

Lee Wilson photo

Old Station 9

Located at 2012 E. Club Boulevard, beside the fire administration building and the fire training center, Station 9 opened during the department’s public safety period. That’s when some police officers and firefighter positions were combined. The fire station had minimal living spaces, and was designed to support just one or two full-time firefighters. The remaining firefighters arrived at the station–or at the scene–in their patrol cars.

The controversial program public safety program, that started in 1970, ended in 1985. One of the two apparatus bays was subsequently converted into additional living space, to accommodate a full crew of dedicated firefighters. 

Old Station 8 at 2725 Holloway Street was designed with a similar floor plan. Learn more about Durham’s former firehouses.


Mike Legeros photos

Delayed Construction

The fire station project faced significant delays since construction started in February 2013. The city issued a stop work order around the end of that year, while major construction issues were reviewed and corrected as needed.

Read this city memo (pdf) from May 2015, which provides some background on the project issues.

Mike Legeros photo

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Before Falls Lake

This is a blog archives posting from January 2014. The page is corrupted on the old site, so we’re re-posting here.

January 2014
Last week’s North Raleigh News (and Midtown Raleigh News) featured an informative article by Colin Campbell about the “ghost roads” of Falls Lake. He writes about barricaded sections of Possum Track, Choplin, and Old Bayleaf roads as “slowly crumbling reminders of the rural farms and communities lost to the lake waters.”

The best-preserved of the old roads, the author notes, is Old N.C. 98. That section of old road is planned to become Raleigh’s Forest Ridge Park. It’s a 586-acre peninsula owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and managed by the state.

Those old roads sound like the perfect weekend (or holiday) exploration activity. Might have more to come. Read the story of the roads.

October 2011
What did the roads look like north of Raleigh before the construction of Falls Lake in the early 1980s? Here’s an annotated Google map, based on observations from the 1981 aerial map available from Wake County IMAPS.

Readers can surely add more details and remembrances. See this US Army Corps of Engineers web site for Falls Lake Master Plan documents.

Continue reading ‘Before Falls Lake’ »

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Constitution and By-Laws of Fire Fighters Association No. 548 of Raleigh, N.C., 1938

This is a blog archives posting from June 2011. The page is corrupted on the old site, so we’re re-posting here.

And a random artifact for your Monday enjoyment. This is the constitution and by-laws of the original incarnation (PDF) of the Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association (web site). Same is scanned from a photocopy of the original booklet.

The organization was chartered in 1938, as Chapter 548 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The original application was dated February 4 and listed 21 charter members. The Temporary President was K. J. Smith and the Temporary Secretary was R. G. Davis.

The association was re-chartered in 1969, with an application dated June 10 of that year. The Temporary President was Ned Perry, the Temporary Vice-President was B. T. Fowler, and the Temporary Secretary and Treasurer was Maylon Frazier. The application included the names of 173 charter members.

They re-chartered a second time in 1986. The March 23 application listed Temporary President James Driver and Temporary Secretary and Treasurer Donnie Perry.

Need more more research and documentation in this area, on the history of professional organizations in the Raleigh Fire Department. Memo to self: do that. Meanwhile, click the cover to read the PDF document: 

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Vintage Wilmington Fire Apparatus Photos – 1960s, 1970s Rigs

April 17
But wait, Batman, one of these isn’t Wilmington, NC. Top left, the Ford/Swab rescue is Wilmington, DE. Thanks to our readers on Facebook for that correction.

April 16
Found for sale on eBay are these pictures of vintage Wilmington rigs. We’ve seen some of these before, in similar postings. Scroll down for a list of those.

Left to right, top to bottom: 1977 Ford/Swab (R3) [not NC, but DE], 1960 Howe, 1962 Howe, 1967 Howe, 1975 Howe (E7), 1977 ALF (E1), 1976 ALF (E2), 1952 ALF (reserve). Search eBay to find and bid. Click to enlarge:


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Drawings of Durham Fire Station 17

The City of Durham opened a new fire station this week, Station 9 relocated to Midland Terrace. Watch this space for that story.

Meanwhile, let’s look at drawings of Station 17, planned for 5503 Leesville Road. That’ll add a third fire station to Leesville Road, after Durham County Station 84 at 7305 Leesville Road, and Raleigh Station 29 at 12117 Leesville Road.

Here’s the project page about Station 17. Projected completion is April 2018. Project is presently in design. 

Looks like a monster of a facility. Will be one of the first LEED certified facilities for the city. And will be co-shared with Durham County EMS. Click to enlarge:



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