Histories of Military Fire Departments in North Carolina

Created December 8, 2014
Last updated February 11, 2017


Contents

Introduction

This site has been started to serve as a central repository and landing page for historical information collected by Mike Legeros on military fire departments in North Carolina. There's a particular emphasis on former fire departments. This page doesn't not (yet!) attempt to document ex-military apparatus or facilities used in the state. Presently, this site is recording textual information only.

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Bluethenthal Field, Wilmington

Bluethenthal Field was named for aviator Arthur Bluethenthal, the first person from Wilmington killed in World War I.  The airport was dedicated in 1928 as same. Its name was changed in the 1950s to New Hanover County Airport, in 1988 to New Hanover County International Airport, and in 1997 to Wilmington International Airport. See also NCANG Wilmington, listed below.

During World War II, the airport was used by the Army Air Force for antisubmarine patrols and training. During the 1960s, the Air Force stationed several fighter jets at the airport. 

Apparatus operated during World War II included a 1944 Brockway-American LaFrance Class 155 (507646). Source: TH.

See also NCANG Wilmington, listed below.

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Camp Butner

Opened on Aug. 4, 1942 and served as an Army training facility until 1947. The fire department was created when the camp was established. Apparatus operated during World War II included a 1942 Chevrolet/ALF Class 300 300/300 (504734) and 1943 Dodge/Boyer Class 525 500/150 (505420). Source: TH.  

As depicted in a 1942 photograph, the fire department that year had some 51 men and seven (?) pieces of apparatus.

In 1947, Camp Butner was purchased as a site for a new state mental healthy facility. CBFD became part of the John Umstead Hospital. The staff numbered 18 men, and the department protected both the hospital facility and the unincorporated community. The firefighters were trained as police officers and the department became Butner Public Safety. Source: MJL.

See blog posts:

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Camp Davis, Holly Ridge

Built 1940.

Apparatus operated during World War II included the following. Source: TH.

See site photos from present day.

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Camp Greene, Charlotte

Built 1917. Closed 1919.

After a hospital fire on Dec. 30, 1917, the Charlotte FD leased the camp a steam engine and a team of horses. Camp Greene was located west of the city, in the area of Camp Greene Street, Remount Road, and Wilkinson Boulevard.

The fire company, US Army Unit 323, was organized in March 1918 and demobilized in March 1919. Source: AFF. 

Apparatus included the following. Source: TH.

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Camp Lejune, Jacksonville

Built 1941.

See FDMaps.com page for current fire station locations.

Apparatus records include this Pierce information:

E-3676 SQD.10 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 500 100 50' TSQT
E-3678-05 ENG.10 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 500 0 100 50' TSQT  
E-3678-06 ENG.6 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 500 0 100 50' TSQT
E-3678-07 ENG 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 500 0 100 50' TSQT
E-5769-03 RES.6 1990 PIERCE DASH  4X4             HDR  WALK-IN
E-8454-01 ENG.1 1994 PIERCE ARROW 1250 750 100        
E-8454-02 ENG.2 1994 PIERCE ARROW 1250 750 100        
E-9309-01 ENG 1995 PIERCE ARROW
E-9309-02 ENG 1995 PIERCE ARROW 1250 750 100
E-9971 ENG.2 1996 PIERCE ARROW 1250 750 100
E-5470-03 RES. 1 1990 PIERCE DASH  - 2D 4X4 HDR NON WALKIN

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Camp Mackall, Southern Pines

Camp Mackall was built in 1942, and construction included seven service clubs, two guest houses, three libraries, 16 post exchanges, 12 chapels, a hospital, 65 miles of roads, and three 5,000-foot runways. CMFD was mentioned in newspaper articles of the 1940s. Source: web page.

Apparatus operated during World War II included a 1944 Brockway-American LaFrance Class 155 (507629). Source: TH.

See Fort Bragg for more information.

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Camp Sutton, Monroe

Apparatus operated during World War II included the following. Source: TH.

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Charlotte Army Air Base

Morris Field.

Dedicated April 21, 1941, deactivated May 14, 1946.

Charlotte FD assumed fire protection duties at Morris field in 1947.

See blog post with history of apparatus operated at the airport during World War II and later years.

Related blog posts:

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Charlotte Quartermaster Depot

Charlotte Quartermaster Depot FD protected the naval ordnance depot. The facility, located at 1776 Statesville Avenue, was activated in 1941 and deactivated in 1949. Source: CMCFPS.

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Elizabeth City Coast Guard Air Station

Opened 1940.

On May 31, 1944, they sent two trucks to help Elizabeth City with a fuel fire.

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Elizabeth City Naval Air Station, Weeksville

Built 1944. Closed 1962.

Elizabeth City Naval Air Station was commissioned in 1940 as a Coast Guard air station. The facility was under Navy control during World War II.

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Fort Bragg

Built 1918.

Official history page.

Fire Apparatus

Apparatus operated during World War I included the following. Source: TH

Apparatus operated during World War II included the following: Source: TH

Modern apparatus includes the following. Source: PB

National Board of Fire Underwriters report on Fayetteville in 1953 noted "[They have] a full paid department under the direction of Chief Park L. Vickery. One Ford-LaFrance utility truck and four 1942 American LaFrance 750-gallon pumpers are in service in three stations. All apparatus and chiefs cars are radio equipped."

Fire Station Locations

Current:

Station Building Address Built Opened Coordinates Notes
Sta 1 6-9572 1556 Knox Street 1954 1954 35.140835, -78.980269  
Sta 2 / Simmons Army Airfield P-2539 1003 Parham Blvd. 1957 1957 35.133435, -78.939804  
Sta 3 B-700 Longstreet Rd at Manhay Rd 2004 2004 35.148511, -79.009925  
Sta 4 / Mackall AAF T-276 Glider Road 1983 1983 35.030627, -79.504661  
Sta 5 E-367 1309 Canopy Lane Bldg 1989 1989 35.117611, -79.013703  
Sta 6 / Linden Oaks L-3602 Camel Road, west of Linden Oaks Parkway 2011 2011 35.260447, -79.049965  
Sta 7 / Pope Army Airfield R-025 265 Boxcar Street 1956 1956 35.171113, -79.009860  
Sta 8 O-9007 King, Manchester, and Morganton roads, SE corner 1937 2015   Old Ranger Station 2, sole remaining ranger station at Fort Bragg. Adjacent to Present Stage Field. 
Sta 9 (planned)           Planned as additional structural station to be located at Camp Mackall. To be located adjacent to the Rowe Camp.
Sta 10 (planned)           Planned for 108 ADA complex built at old Ammo Supply Point on Chicken Road
Headquarters 2-5935 Butner Road        
Inspections / Logistics R-025 Boxcar Street, Pope Airfield        
Training Facility   1459 Hurst Drive     35.159833, -79.015704  

Former fire stations:

Station Address Built Opened Closed Notes
Sta 1 Present site of main parade grounds 1919? 1919 By 1975 First fire station building. Two-bay single-story.
  Normandy and Sicily roads, NW corner WWII WWII By 1975 Wooden structure. AAFES Shoppette later housed in building before demolition.
  Woodruff Street, south side between Reilly and Jackson, about one-third of the block east of Reilly WWII WWII By 1975 Wooden structure. Building was adjacent to "Mule barns." Army TMDE Calibration Lab later housed in building before demolition.
Sta 3 Butner Road and Durham Street 1941 1941 2004 Wooden structure. Three-bay, single-story. Demolished after new Station 3 opened in 2004.
  Honeycutt Road and Black Jack Street, NE corner WWII WWII By 1975 Wooden structure. Later part of Motor Pool. Building demolished as live burn for training.
Camp MacKall Glider Road and unnamed road, SE corner WWII WWII   Wooden structure. Foundation still survives. Map coordinates: 35.037140, -79.475330
Pope Army Airfield Maynard and Reilly 1934 1934 1979, c. Expanded circa 1956. Became Medical Supply building. By 2015, used as Fort Bragg EMS substation. Listed on National Register of Historic Places as part of Pope AFB historic district.

See FDMaps.com page for current stations mapped.

Snapshot in 1975

From Structural Fire Protection/Prevention Consolidation Study for Fayetteville, NC Area, U.S. Army - November 1975

Existing Operations

Fort Bragg operates five fire companies at three station locations. The installation's fire risk is considered high because of its high-rise hospital, large commissary, mission-essential facilities, and high volume of air traffic.

Fire Station Number 1.

Fire Station Number 1 is the main structural fire station and has as two fire companies which operate two 750 pumpers and a standby 750 pumper used for maintenance rotation. Both active pumpers are manned with four firefighters. The station also houses the Central Communications Center which is operated by the firefighters on a 2-hour rotational shift basis. The center monitors the alarms, plus anti-intrusion and sprinkler systems. Four personnel spaces are allotted to this function. Station Number 1 also has an extinguisher repair shop which performs repairing and recharging services for the installation. The firefighters service approximately 3,500 extinguishers each month, and one personnel space is authorized for this function. The fire prevention inspectors are located at this station

SAAF Fire Station.

Simmons Army Airfield (SAAF) Fire Station has two cross-manned fire companies operating two P-4 vehicles and a standby 530 crash vehicle. One P-4 vehicle is manned with four firefighters and the second is manned with three firefighters. The SAAF fire Station is required to provide  both structural and crash protection: the P-4 vehicles an function for either requirement. SAAF has 38 buildings, a 5,000 foot (1524 m) runway, over 370 aircraft stationed, with an average of 700 takeoffs and landings every 24 hours.

Fire Station Number 3.

This temporary Fire Station has one cross-manned fire company to operate one 750 pumper, manned with four firefighters, and one 530 crash vehicle. This company provides structural protection to the east side of the post and standby support to Womack Army Hospital's Medi-vac and Gabriel Field's aerial demonstrations. In addition to the 11 firefighters required for one fire company, three firefighters have been recognized to augment the crash requirement. Master planning requirements call for this station to be relocated.

Camp MacKall.

Field troops stationed at Camp MacKall, located near the Fort Bragg reservation, provide local fire protection. Their training is provided by the Fort Bragg Fire Chief.

Ranger Stations.

Three isolated ranger stations on the Fort Bragg reservation are protected by mutual aid agreements to provide the first response. Ranger Station Number 1 is covered by the Raeford Fire Department, distance 18.2 miles (29.3 km); Ranger Station Number 2 is covered by the Southern Pine Fire Department, distance 21 miles (33.8 km); and Ranger Station Number 3 is covered by the Vass Fire Department, distance 11.6 miles (18.7 km).

Work Requirements

Firefighters.

The firefighters work a rotating, 24-hour shift, 7 days a week, performing 10 hours of productive work per day with 14 hours on standby. The firefighters work 72 hours per week and are required to receive four hours of proficiency training each week. They are responsible for daily maintenance of fire equipment, semi-annual tests of fire hoses, semi-annual maintenance and water flow tests of 1,440 fire hydrants, monthly service and/or repair of over 3,500 fire extinguishers, and updating of pre-plans for over 5,000 facilities. The firefighters augment the fire inspectors for the annual family housing inspection and for periodic checks of theaters, clubs, and other gathering places. They also augment the alarm maintenance personnel who fi test and inspect alarm and sprinkler systems.

Inspection.

Fire inspectors’ duties include administering the fire prevention program and instructing installation personnel in the use of first aid and fire extinguishers. Inspection responsibility covers 20,253,905 sq ft (l,881,649 m2 ) of building space, which includes 4,212 family housing units (not counting the 150 units under construction), approximately 4 ,000,000 sq ft (372 ,000 m2) of open storage, and 184 range buildings. Since the 1974 manpower survey team interpreted the DA and FORSCOM policy as not recognizing fire protection inspectors for inspection of installations which have fire companies, only one such position has been allotted--for the inspection of Camp MacKall and 30 U.S. Army Reserve Center, which depend entirely on civilian fire protection. However, since fire chief assigns firefighters to perform alarm room and extinguisher repair duties, three additional spaces have been made available for fire inspectors in an attempt to meet the installations' inspection requirements. Specific inspection duties are listed below:

a. Approximately two-thirds of one fire inspector’s time is required by the Inspector General teams (1,356 hours).

b. Fort Bragg's fire department inspects 30 U.S. Army Reserve Units and Camp MacKall annually, requiring approximately 170 hours of inspection and travel time.

c. All family housing units are inspected annually and newcomers are briefed. The firefighters assist with the family housing inspections.

d. The administrative buildings, warehouses, service buildings, troop housing, hospital complex, outside storage, and recreation buildings require quarterly inspection. Food service facilities such as clubs, post exchanges, and bowling alleys require weekly inspection. These inspection requirements total over 14,000 hours for just the quarterly and weekly inspections. Since the fire department has only four inspectors, all the requirements cannot be satisfied. See Table 1.

Alarm Maintenance. The alarm maintenance section, which repairs and maintains the fire alarm and anti-intrusion systems, has two personnel assigned to the Fire Chief from the DFAE Interior Electrical Systems Maintenance Section. This section is also supported by firefighter labor.

Extinguisher Repair. As mentioned earlier, 3,500 extinguishers are repaired arid/or charged monthly. One fire extinguisher repairman is authorized for this duty; however, the firefighters rotate the duty. This service is performed without charge, except for the cost of the C02. Fort Bragg stores 10,000 gal (38 m3 ) of C0 2 to meet the requirements of both Bragg and Pope AFB.

Fire Company Responses

Fire Stations Number 1 and Number 3 respond to the main cantonment area; the SAAF Fire Station is responsible for the airfield, including all of the buildings. A small area in the southern section of Fort Bragg, consisting of warehousing, operational buildings, etc., is not within the required 2 miles (3.2 km} and 4 1/2 minutes from any fire station. Appendix A gives the DOD requirements for a fire company's response. Master planning requirements established by the Fort Bragg Planning Board call for relocating the temporary Fire Station Number 3 to a permanent location which will reduce the above deficiency. See Appendix 13 for a map of Fort Bragg and the response coverages attained from existing fire station locations. The overlap of coverage between Fort Bragg and rope AFB is shown in Appendix C.

Available Firefighting Resources, Fort Bragg

Personnel

Quantity

Description

Grade Level

1

Fire Chief

GS/11

3

Assistant Fire Chief

GS/9

1

Chief, Fire Prevention Inspector

GS/8

5

Station Captain

GS/7

7

Crew Chief

GS/6

3

Fire Prevention Inspector

GS/6

12

Firefighter (Driver-Operator)

GS/5

24

Firefighter

GS/4

5

Firefighter (Trainee)

GS/3

61

 

 

 

 

 

2

Communication Installer – Detailed from Interior Electrical Shop, DFAE

WG/11

Equipment

Sources

Related blog posts

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Fort Fisher Army Air Field, Kure Beach
Fort Fisher Air Station
Fort Fisher Recreation Station

Read history.

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Fort Macon Coast Guard Station

The station's firefighters and apparatus are mentioned in newspaper articles in the 1950s and other eras, as assisting with mutual aid at fires in Atlantic Beach and Morehead City.

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Harvey Point Naval Auxiliary Air Station

Had FD in 1944.

Harvey Point Naval Auxiliary Air Station, built in 1942, had a fire department by 1944. The air station remained in service until 1958.

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Laurinburg-Maxton Air Base

Activated 1943, deactivated 1945.

Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Field operated during World War II. Laurinburg-Maxton Air Base FD appears in at least one DOI directory (1972).

Apparatus included a 1944 Kenworth/Mack Class 155 (508632) and a 1943 Ford/American LaFrance Class 500 500/150 (505638). Source: TH.

Photos of the site today.

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Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue

Built 1942.

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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Havelock

Built 1941.

See FDMaps.com page for current fire station locations.

Related blog postings:

Apparatus records include:

E-3677-01 ENG 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 750 100
E-3678-04 ENG 1987 PIERCE ARROW 1000 500 0 100 50' TSQT
E-5470-02 RES. 1990 PIERCE DASH  - 2D 4X4 HDR NON WALKIN

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Marine Corps Air Station Edenton

Marine Corps Air Station Edenton operated during World War II. The fire department included both a crash crew and a structural department.

See blog post.

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Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville

Built 1943. (Served by Camp Lejune FD?)

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Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, Southport

Opened 1955.

Related blog posts:

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Naval Section Facility, Morehead City

The fire department of the Navy Section Facility in Morehead City is mentioned in newspaper articles in 1943.

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North Carolina Air National Guard, Ablemarle

Forthcoming.

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North Carolina Air National Guard, Charlotte

See blog post with history of apparatus operated at the airport.

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North Carolina Air National Guard, Salisbury

Forthcoming.

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North Carolina Air National Guard, Wilmington

Apparatus included a 1954 American LaFrance O-11A crash truck (54L 210). Source: TH.

Related blog posts:

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North Carolina Army National Guard, Morrisville

Located at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Related blog postings:

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Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital, Asheville

In 1918, US Army Army General Hospital No. 19 opened in Asheville to serve the soldiers in the area who were training for duty for the First World War. The hospital was later named the Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital. The campus and its many buildings were protected by a fire department that was motorized by 1922. Early apparatus included a 1918 American LaFrance Type 75 triple-combination

Read this history.

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Pope Army Air Field, Fayetteville
Pope Air Force Base

Established 1919. First major expansion in 1930s. Based expanded during 1940s, as troop carrier training site, and with paratrooper training added at Fort Bragg. Activated as Air Force base on December 3, 1947. Deactivated on March 1, 2011, and absorbed into Fort Bragg and becoming Pope Field. The airfield is presently protected by Fort Bragg Emergency Services. The base fire station was renamed Fort Bragg Fire Station 7.

Apparatus

During World War II, apparatus included:

Later apparatus included:

Old Fire Station Building 300

Photo credit: National Register of Historic Places via Flickr page.

One of the airfield's old fire station buildings is still standing at the corner of Maynard and Reilly streets. Built in 1934, it was expanded circa 1956. The fire station was closed circa 1979, when the building was converted to a medical supply and maintenance (Medical Logistics Supply) building. As of 2015, it's used as a substation for Fort Bragg EMS.

From oral histories and other information:

From the National Register of Historic Places nomination form:

"Bldg. 300, a one-story building at the corner of Maynard and Reilly Streets, originally functioned as a fire station and is now Medical Supply . It was completed in 1934 at a cost of $6,690. Exterior dimensions of this gable-roofed structure are 20.5 x 53.7 feet. According to as-built plans, it had a concrete and smooth-faced tile floor, hollow tile masonry walls, Spanish tile roof, painted stucco facade, and stone window sills. Circular, louvered vent openings occur in the gable ends of the roof. The original floor plan was designed to house two fire trucks, an apparatus room, office, closet, toilet, and heater/boiler room at the rear. The fire truck entered the station through two overhung, garage-type bays.

"The major modification to the plan and exterior of Bldg. 300 was the addition of an asbestos-sided wallboard building on the north side of the building ca. 1956 . This addition housed sleeping quarters and a lounge, toilet, and showers. Space in the original building was converted to a kitchen and an additional office. The heating system was also converted from steam boiler to oil at this time. Asphalt shingles replaced the roof tiles in 1958. 

"Major changes to the interior floor plan of Bldg. 300 were instituted ca. 1979, when the fire station was converted to its present use as a Medical supply and maintenance building. These changes do not appear to have affected the exterior facade, however. Under the use conversion, a medical warehouse was located in the former apparatus room, and a suspended ceiling was built in the warehouse area. Technical services were located in the old office and kitchen, and storage and mechanical space replaced the old boiler room. In addition, medical supply issue was located in the old sleeping quarters; administration was moved to the old lounge. A new vault, mechanical room, and security cages were built at the back of the warehouse, and new ventilation and fire protection systems were installed. Storm windows were added to the building in 1978."

Sources

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Raleigh-Durham Army Air Base

Operational on May 1, 1943. Used until Jan. 1, 1948. Also operated concurrently as a commercial airport.

Apparatus operated during World War II likely included a 1946 International/Bean crash truck (500 GPM), which was present in 1955. Source: MJL

Read detailed history of the airport fire department.

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Seymour Johnson Army Air Field, Goldsboro
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

Built 1942.

Apparatus operated during World War II included a 1942 International-Central Fire Trucks 300/300 Class 300 (504636). Source: TH.

Modern apparatus included the following. Source: PB.

See FDMaps.com page for current fire station locations.

Related blog postings:

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Simmons Army Airfield, Fort Bragg

Built 1952. (Served by Fort Bragg FD)

See Fort Bragg for more information.

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Smith-Reynolds Airport, Winston-Salem

Served as training base for military pilots from 1942 through 1945, but continued commercial and private airline service during period.

Apparatus operated during World War II included a 1942 International-Seagrave Class 125 crash truck (504271). Source: TH

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Sources


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