Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter – Fall 2017

The fall 2017 issue of the Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter has been posted to www.raleighfirenews.org.

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.

2017-11-05-rfd4 2017-11-05-rfd5
2017-11-05-rfd6 2017-11-05-rfd8

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.


2017-10-31-bfd2Lee Wilson photos

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 http://www.jdnews.com/article/20151214/NEWS/151219573

Tideland News – Former chief recalls Swansboro Fire Department’s early days, October 25, 2017 – Retrieved from http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/tideland_news/news/article_7976fec6-b98e-11e7-a5c2-ebd9d5a4eb5b.html

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About Words: Service, Service Trucks, Service Companies

Let’s look some uses of the word “service” in the fire service, starting with “Service Company.” 

That’s a descriptor from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), used in their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule.

Service companies operate service trucks (see below) and ISO awards points for specific equipment carried therein. See this page of information.

Service Trucks

We can safely say that “service company” is derived from “service truck,” a type of fire engine that carries ground ladders and other traditional truck company equipment. But that is neither equipped with a pump nor an aerial device.

Jeff Harkey photo

Service trucks are also called “service ladders,” “service ladder trucks,” and “city service trucks.”

Wait, what? “City service?” How did that name come about? We blogged on that one before, in this 2010 posting.

In late 19th Century, hook and ladder wagons were built in various sizes. The smallest of these were described as perfect for small communities, such as villages. Or for “village service.” The larger ones were designed for “city service.” Thus they were known as “village ladder trucks” and “city service ladder trucks.”

The descriptor of “city service” continued for decades, and the longer phrase was shortened to “city service truck” and, finally, “service truck.”


Other Types of Service

The word “service” has other uses in the fire, um, service.

Service call – When firefighters respond to a non-emergency event. Like, say, removing a tree from a road or helping an invalid get back into bed.

Public service – In Raleigh and Wake County, it’s a synonym for telephone. Thus you’ll hear dispatchers saying “let me give you a call on public service.”

Public Service – In North Carolina, it’s also the business name of a natural gas provider. And doubly confusing for those listening to a scanner for the first time. 

Years of Service – Popular discussion topic in firehouses, typically in the context of years, months, and days until retirement.

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Thoughts on Marketing Raleigh Police and Raleigh Fire

These musings were originally part of postings to Legeros Fire Line on Facebook this week.

Marketing, Baby!

The Raleigh Police Department again displayed a display at the State Fair this year, at the Kerr Scott Building. And with a double-wide booth, no less!

We meaning me have long wanted to see Raleigh Fire in the same space. They’d fit perfectly alongside the city, county, and state police booths nearby. As well as the Department of Insurance, which had sundry safety materials on display. 

The fire department should have its own full-on marketing of who they are, what they do, and how to join.[1] That’s been a notable absence at the Fair for years. (And where’s Wake County EMS, come to think of it?) One of these days/years, hopefully. Click to enlarge:


Social Media Specialist

And speaking of marketing and our friends in the police department, the city has a job opening for the newly created position of Social Media Specialist

It’s described as assisting the police Public Affairs Manager in the coordination of communication activities in order to enhance the flow of information within and outside RPD using various social media platforms. Other duties include creating social media analytics reports; media contact; social media production; and developing, updating and revising informational products and materials.

This is exciting news and on a couple fronts. For Police, it’s a big add, and will hugely help with public information and community relations. It also shows that city officials are recognizing the use of digital platforms to connect citizens with the work of their emergency workers.

Can Raleigh Fire be far behind? Hope we’ll see added resources on that side soon enough.


Who Needs Marketing?

Everyone in public safety. Every department in public safety, from fire to police, from EMS to comms. 

Pause. Let’s define marketing. Mr. Blogger says, it’s communication outside an agency, that helps its customers learn such things as:

  • What you do
  • How you do what do you
  • How they can help, when they call you
    (when a fire truck arrives, do this; when a police officer stops you, behave this way; etc.)
  • How they can help themselves, first, so they don’t always have to call you
    (how to prevent fires, how to prevent injuries, etc.)
  • What you’re doing on a particular day, at a particular call
    (drivers can take alternate routes, residents can be calmed over nearby incidents, reporters don’t have to call to with questions, etc.)
  • Why you need the resources you have
  • How they can support you, as citizens or voters
  • Why you do things they have questions about
    (why does a fire truck arrive when I call an ambulance, why do I see firefighters buying groceries, etc.)
  • How they can learn more
  • How they can visit you
  • How they can join
  • etc.

Okay, okay, okay, we’re blending public information and even life safety into our model. But the “M” word is valuable here, as it’s a newer expression in public safety. 

Public information officers, life safety educators, those are tried-and-true concepts. But… marketers and marketing. Whoa, what’s that?

Google is your friend and there’s much more “out there” about this.  About the important of marketing in emergency services. Take a look, have a dive.

Knowledge is good, as the statue said in Animal House.

Your Thoughts?

Start or join the discussion below. Or opine on the Facebook side, on Legeros Fire Line.

[1] The Raleigh Fire Department does indeed do marketing. From display booths, notably during Fire Prevention Week, to their web site to their recruitment team, that travels locally and regionally. Would love to see more, both in the digital and physical realms. And surely that’s coming. It’s the wave of the future. You don’t even have to be named Shirley.

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Remembering Bay Leaf Fire Tower Operator Jenny Tilley

Cornelia “Jenny” Crabtree Tilley, 90, passed away in Raleigh last week. She was the longtime operator of the Bay Leaf forestry fire tower, first located at Six Forks Road, a half-mile north of “Six Forks” (1937-1968) and then moved to Howard Road, just west of Creedmoor Road (1968-present). Click to enlarge:

She was one of the first female tower operators in the state, and served until the tower was closed in 1985. She then became secretary to Wake County Ranger Albert Coley. Ms. Tilley retired in [TBD].

Her husband was the late George “Buck” Tilley, also a Wake County Forest Ranger and a thirty-one year employee of the forest service. He passed away in 1971 and is remembered with a plaque at the Howard Road site. Click to enlarge:

Ms. Tilley is survived by her children Jerry (and Patsy) Tilley and David (and Nancy) Tilley, and their six grandchildren and eleven (!) great-grandchildren. As well as her special friend Pat Toothman.

The funeral service was held yesterday, at Mitchell Funeral Home. Burial followed at Brier Creek Memorial Park. Read her obituary, which includes over 120 photos, including these historical images of Ms. Tilley at work:


The Bay Leaf fire tower is still standing. Here are some aerial views of the site. Or read this text history:

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Burke County Firefighter Struck, Killed While Clearing Debris

Triple Community Fire Department firefighter Jason Keith Hensley, 40, was killed on Sunday night, while clearing debris on Highway 70 East near Drexel Road in Morganton.

The fire department was dispatched to a tree blocking both east- and westbound lanes of the highway, just before midnight. Hensley responded in his personal vehicle, and a second firefighter responded with a piece of apparatus. Hensley arrived on scene about 11:45 p.m.

At approximately 11:53 p.m., Hensley was struck by a pick-up truck traveling eastbound, which subsequently struck two other vehicles at the scene, including Hensley’s personal vehicle, which had warning lights activated.

Hensley, wearing reflective gear, was killed instantly upon impact. 

Driver Randall Stewart, 55, was charged with driving while impaired and a number of other offenses. The accident is being investigated by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. 

Stormy weather impacted Burke County on Sunday, including a tornado that touched down southeast of Morganton. 



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