Cary Fire Department


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Cary Lumber Company burns. (1902)no26feb08

Cary's largest building burns. A grist mill and office building owned by F. R. Gray and Brother contains the Gray Brothers grist mill, two flour mills and one corn mill, a cotton gin, private offices, the post office, two store rooms, a coffin establishment, three lodge halls, and the Episcopal chapel. The Raleigh Fire Department is summoned and Chief Frank Simpson responds by carrying the steamer and hose on a special train. (February 25, 1908)no26feb08


Western Wake Highway completed, linking Cary and Raleigh. (August 20, 1920)


Town makes arrangements with Raleigh for "a fire truck and crew of firemen to answer any alarms for fire within the Town of Cary." (June 8, 1921)cb


First fire inspector appointed, Lloyd Matthews, for Town to comply with State laws. (March 14, 1922)cb

First fire company organized after Town Alderman appoint L. A. Cathey to organize same, so the town no longer has to rely soly on neighboring fire departments for help. Town Board also passes resolution to purchase fire engine. (June 6, 1922)cb

Bid accepted for purchase of first fire truck from American LaFrance Fire Engine Company.cb (October 23, 1922)


Fire fire engine delivered, American LaFrance chemical engine on Ford Model-T chassis, equipped with two 35-gallon chemical tanks. (February 7, 1923)cb

First Fire Chief appointed, H. H. Waddell, with D. C. Page serving as Assistant Chief. (May 1, 1923)cb

First fire engine is housed in metal garage purchased from C. D. Pruden Corporation of Baltimore, Maryland. (Spring 1923)cb


First water lines and fire hydrants placed in service.cfdr


Second fire engine purchased for $1,100 from Nash Motor Company. (September 10, 1926) cb

Fire department has 12 volunteers with Raleigh firefighter R. Lee Matthews acting as part-time training officer.


West Side Inn in Cary burns.

The Raleigh Fire Department is contacted and Engine Company 4 responds, unleashing a "speed burst" with a 12-minute run. Firefighters arrive in time to save the lower half of the two-story wooden structure. The town's firefighting equipment is already in use. Select furniture is saved and the kitchen is not damaged. The entire upper story is destroyed, however, with only the frame work remaining. Cary is located 10.17 miles from old Station 4 at 505 Jefferson Street in Raleigh. The fire department's 12-minute run averages 60 mph. (May 5, 1927)no06may27, rt05may27

Six men named town firefighters:

  • W. L. Jones
  • L. E. Sturdivant
  • T. F. Wilkerson Jr.
  • Royce Ellington
  • Marvin Breeze
  • Robert Atkins.

They are not paid, but excused from paying "pole tax." (July 21, 1927)cb

Six additional men appointed to Fire Department:

  • Arthur Womble
  • S. T. Smith
  • Jack Murdock
  • H. R. Adams
  • E. J. Byrum
  • Pat Gray, Jr. (November 17, 1927)cb

1931 Chevrolet pumper purchased from Peter Pirsch & Sons, 300 GPM with 200 gallon booster tank. Note: Pump and water specs may refer to 1953 rehab. January 11, 1932)cb

Town Council instructs L. R. Hunter to sell chemical tanks from old pumper and purchase siren to alert firefighters. (January 11, 1932)cb


Fire department accredited by North Carolina Fireman's Association.


Fire station is ordered moved to new location, in back of the Masonic Lodge at corner Chatham and Academy streets. Lodge building later becomes Ashworth's Drugstore in 1977. (August 24, 1935)cb

Town Board authorizes Mr. Phillips to organize a Fire Department. Firefighters are to be exempt from paying pole tax for their services. (August 24, 1935)cb


Town Council calls special meeting to comply with August 24, 1935 resolution, with following individuals forming new fire department: 

  • M. R. Conner, Chief
  • L. E. Midgette Assistant Chief
  • Ivan Ruth
  • Alf. Pleasants
  • Clyde B. Hawkins
  • C. R. Craddock
  • W. R. Matthews
  • Walter Pendegraph
  • Alvin Slcan
  • Clarence Oakley
  • Norwood Northcutt
  • C. R. Penny(February 18, 1936)cb

Town Board grants permission for Chief Conner to attend North Carolina Fire School in Wilmington on April 21, 22, and 23. He is instructed by the Board to "economize on all expenses." (March 1936)cb

Town Council gives permission for fire department to join North Carolina Fireman's Association and purchases 20 badges for firefighters. (May 7, 1936)cb

Town agrees to pay for cleaning of firefighter's clothing when soiled in line of duty. (May 7, 1936)cb

Town Board waives Captain Lee Matthew's dog tax in exchange for services coaching fire department. (May 7, 1936) cb

Town Board authorizes Assistant Chief Midgette to purchase fire hose. (December 8, 1936)cb


Law passed fining $25 anyone found guilty of turning in a false alarm. (January 15, 1937)cb

Town Board authorizes expenses for one man to attend fire school in Durham. (April 12, 1917)cb


Fire station on Academy Street demolished after lot is sold to J. G. Hobby, to raise funds for new fire station planned at corner of Cedar and N. Academy streets. (Fall 1952)

Fire engine fails at house fire.

Burning structure is reported just beyond Town limits. 1931 Chevrolet pumper "is pulled from the tin-roof shed" and arrives "in no time flat" writes The State Magazine. Firefighters lay a line into the well and switch on the fan belt-driven pump. Water squirts all of ten feet and the firefighters watch helplessly as the dwelling burns down.

Firefighters subsequently meet with the Town Board and leave with a proposition: if the volunteers raise $3,000 for a down payment on a new fire engine, the Town will handle the remaining balance. Intense fundraising follows and soon an order is placed with the Seagrave Fire Engine Company in Columbus, Ohio. ts

Fire Chief is James L. Murdock. H. B. Jordan is Assistant Chief.


First Annual Fireman's Day held.

Day-long celebration is expected to attract more than 5,000 people. Mile-long parade starts at 3:00 p.m. along Highway 1, beginning at R. O. Heater's home on Harrison Street and concluding at Cary High School. The fire siren signals the start of the parade with a single blast. From 4:30 to 5 p.m., a demonstration of the new fire truck is conducted on the school athletic field.

A barbeque supper is held at the school cafeteria, sponsored by the Junior Order of the United Mechanics, Wake County 125" and a square dance is held from 8:30 to midnight "on the parking apron of the Piggly Wiggly and Ken Ben stores" reports a newspaper article. A "$10 cash prize" is given by the fire department for the "best picture taken at the parade."

Nearly $500 of prizes are donated by local merchants "to those holding lucky tickets" and are displayed "in the Adams Building between the Cary Bank and Post Office." Each store features a "special item for sale" and everyone is eligible for a prize, "even though he has not bought anything in a particular store."

For next 23 (?) years, first Saturday in May is celebrated as Fireman's Day. (May 2, 1953)no

New Seagrave pumper displayed at Fireman's Day. The 1953 Seagrave has a 750 GPM pump and 500 gallon water tank, and a 12-cylinder, 202 HP motor. It cost $15,000. Tom Stewart, representing the Seagrave Company of South Carolina, presents the truck to Mayor Waldo H. Rood. (May 2, 1953)

Fire department has 21 volunteers as of May 5, 1953.

Fire Chief is James L. Murdock. Paul Matthews is Assistant Chief. (May 5, 1953)

Fire station at 100 W. Chatham street completed. Brick veneer and cinder block building measures 30 by 20 feet, has one apparatus bay, and is adjacent to Town Hall. Building costs about $4,000. (Summer 1953) 

Movie theater in downtown Apex burns. Cary fire department sends newly delivered 1953 Seagrave


Second Annual Fireman's Day held. (May 1954)

New tractor-drawn tanker truck displayed at Fireman's day. Built by firefighters, the ex-gasoline trailer and ex-military tractor carries 4,500 gallons and has a 350 GPM portable pump. It's assembled from donated parts and after more than 4,000 man-hours of firefighter labor during the past four months.

The idea for the tractor-drawn apparatus came from the Wake County Board of Commissioners, which set up funds to purchase tank trailers for rural fire departments that obtain tractors to pull them. Legal problems prevented the funds from being used, but the Cary Fire Department went ahead anyway.

The tractor was purchased at Camp Lejeune as military surplus, a 180-horsepower International truck tractor with 10 forward speeds and two reverse speeds. The 4,000 tank is donated by Bryan-Cooper Oil Company of Raleigh and mounted on a wheeled chassis by firefighters, who also install new tires, brakes, and lights.

Mounted at the back of the tank is a 350 GPM portable pump that can be used to power water streams or fill the tank. The inside of the tank is given a special coating, so drinking water can be transported.

The tractor has a 1,500-watt AC generator mounted, ten new tires and tubes, and a brilliant red paint job. The engine, brakes, and other parts are overhauled. The bell from Cary's first fire truck, a Model-T in 1924, is re-plated and placed on the truck.

The entire project is completed by the twenty fire department members without funds from the Town treasury. Instead, they're assisted by a host of individuals donating equipment and other things. (May 28, 1954)

Refurbished pumper displayed at Fireman's day. With firefighter efforts started in Spring 1953, the 1931 Chevrolet / Pirsch has new engine, brakes, tires, paint job, 350 GPM front-mounted pump, and 250-gallon booster tank. (May 1954)

Cary Rural Fire Department, Inc. incorporated. (November 1, 1954)sos

Second station built on 100 block of Cedar Street.

Same occupies a 20 x 65 foot tin shed located on a Town-owned lot, behind the present location of Rogers Motel. Firefighters furnish the labor and obtain the materials for building. Timber for framing is cut from another Town-owned lot. By August 1954, as shown in News & Observer story, the building has been erected and occupied. Firemen plan to add flooring and doors. cfdr

Home on East Chatham Street burns. Residence of N. G. Gullie is damaged but not destroyed.rt

Firefighters help Morrisville organize a fire department.rt

Fire department answers 27 calls during year, including six in Wake County and two for mutual to Morrisville and Apex. They reach Morrisville eight minutes after the call is received.rt


Third Annual Fireman's day held. Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. New "emergency service truck for Civilian Defense" is presented at 5:00 p.m. in front of the "American Legion hut," with the presentation made by Fire Chief J. C. Griffis to Cary Mayor W. H. Rood "accepting the equipment on behalf of the town" reports the The Raleigh Times. Activities at 9:00 p.m. include "and card and coin game in one quarter of the town" and, in honor of Mother's Day, all mothers are "taken for rides on the fire truck." Children get their turns from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (May 1955)

Civil Defense rescue truck displayed at Fireman's Day. Built from ex-military, GMC mobile machine shop, carries $8,000 worth of equipment including 5,000-watt portable generator, 2,500-watt generator, two-way radio, $600 resuscitator, block and tackle, ropes, a portable oxygen acetylene cutting torch, in all "196 different pieces of equipment, all new." Same is also the only Civil Defense rescue truck operated by a volunteer fire department in North Carolina. (May 1955)

1949 Buick Roadmaster purchased for Fire Chief. Vehicle is purchased used.

Addition built on Station 2 to house rescue truck.rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis


Fire Chief is Bob Elder and the Assistant Chief is Bob Heater. (April 21, 1956)

Fourth Annual Fireman's Day is held. Event attracts 5,000 people. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. Fire engines parade from Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh, and Cary. "Musical airs" are furnished by the "Drum and Bugle Corps from State College" and senior and junior bands from Cary High School. Parade also features "Girl Scouts, Wake County fire chiefs' cars, lots of floats and cars carrying pretty girls" reports the May 7 edition of The Raleigh Times. Activities also include "Quizno" from 6 until 11 p.m., a "legal cousin of outlawed Bingo." Fireman's Day concludes with a street dance and the music of "the Mills Brothers Hillbilly Band." (May 7, 1956)

New tanker truck displayed at Fireman's day.

The ex-military International Harvester, 2,500 gallon tanker is equipped with a 100 GPM pump. Rebuilding was supervised by Jackie Hunter. (May 7, 1956)

Fire department announces plans to build $75,000 fire station on 100 x 120 foot site on southeast corner of Cedar and N. Academy St. Fund-raising begins on Fireman's Day. Cornerstone bricks are auctioned off for a total of $2,035.00. (May 7, 1956)

Fire department has 25 members and two fire stations of September 22, 1956. Fire Chief is Bob Heater.

Boyd Wilson Morris becomes first paid firefighter. (October 1, 1956)


Fifth Annual Fireman's Day held. Celebration starts at 2:30 p.m. with a parade including "the Air Force ROTC marching airmen, the army ROTC drum and bugle corps and the Army ROTC Pershing Rifles crack drill team, all from State College" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh Times. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., "the fire department and the Civil Defense rescue team" display equipment and "provide entertainment for children and adults on the high school football field." Starting at 5:30 p.m. is a fish-fry and at 6:30 p.m., a "gasoline-powered kiddie automobile will be given away." Games and dancing are also featured, with activities ending at 11:30 p.m. (May 1957)rt

Fire department has one full-time and 24 volunteer firefighters as of December 9, 1957. Fire Chief is W. E. Henderson. Assistant Chief is J. P. Matthews.cfdr

As of December 9, 1957, fire department equipment consists of:wcfa

1 1931/1954 Chevrolet, 300 GPM, 200 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose, four Indian tanks
2 1953 Seagrave, 750 GPM, 500 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose
3 1954/19__ International tandem tractor tanker - 350 GPM portable pump, 4,700 gallon tank, 500 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 250 feet of 1 1/2" hose, one Indian tank
4 1955/19__ Rescue truck - 2500 watt generator, 5 kilowatt generator, complete set Civil Defense tools and equipment
5 1956/19__ International tanker, 100 GPM power take-off pump, 2,500 gallon tanker, 200 feet of 2 1/2" hose, two Indian tanks
Chief Car 1949 Buick, two Indian pumps

Two-way radio system installed. Base station installed in Station 1 with "stand-by receivers" at Fire Chief's house, Town Clerk's office, and ready room at Station 2. Radio equipment also installed in all fire apparatus, the rescue truck, and the Chief's car. The frequency assigned by the FCC is 46.06 with a maximum output of 500 watts.


Sixth Annual Fireman's Day held. Firefighters continuing fundraising for new fire station, auctioning ten "green bricks" with the highest bidder to have their name engraved in one of the first stones in the new building, planned since 1956 and expected to be completed in 1961. (May 3, 1958)rt

Fire department increases to 28 members.

Fire Chief is J. Paul Matthews.wcfa


Seventh Annual Fireman's day held. Celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. with a parade. Other events include a fish fry, door prizes, and a square dance "in the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Chatham Street" reports the April 29 edition of The Raleigh Times. (May 3, 1959)

Fire Chief is Paul Mathews. Assistant Chief is Earl Williams. (May 1959)

Construction started on Station 1. Plans have been drawn for $75,000 building with basement and two stories. Funds have been solicited during five years of fundraising. Firefighters perform most of the work after hours. Completion is due in


Eighth Annual Fireman's Day held on May 7, 1960. Schedule includes "a parade at 3:30 p.m., supper at the high school cafeteria from 5 until 8 p.m., games from 6:30 until 8 p.m., and a street dance from 8 until midnight." Fried fish is served in the cafeteria, prepared by firefighters, their wives, and members of the Fire Auxiliary Association. Drawings are held for "various prize merchandise" and an open house is held "at the emergency shelter" set up at the Cary Methodist Church from noon until 4:30 p.m. (May 7, 1960)na,rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis. R. B. Heater is Assistant Chief. (May 7, 1960)cfdr

One firefighter killed and one injured when tractor-drawn tanker overturns en route to call near Meredith College.

Firefighter Vernon Lee Thompson, 28, was killed and Firefighter Willis Edward (Billy) Henderson, 32, was injured when their 1954 department-built, 4,500-gallon, tractor-drawn tanker overturned near Meredith College on June 16, 1960. The accident occurred about 10:00 a.m., while they were turning from US 1 onto a service road that ran between college property and the State College animal husbandry farm.

Both were thrown from the open-cab apparatus. Thompson was pinned under the cab and died after gasoline leaking from the fuel tank under the seat was apparently ignited by an electrical short. Henderson was transported and admitted to Rex Hospital for cuts, bruises, and shock. Raleigh firefighters and other rescue workers spent nearly two hours recovering Thompson's body. The first wrecker sent to the scene was unable to raise the truck. A larger, second wrecker was called and lifted the cab enough for Thompson's body to be removed.

Both Thompson and Henderson were state employees working at nearby Camp Polk prison farm and were en route to extinguish the rekindling of a trash fire near the prison dump from the night before. Henderson was driving about 15 miles an hour when the accident occurred. Pavement markings stretched about 120 feet, created by the pressure of the heavy, slowing truck. The cab of the tanker was destroyed; the apparatus was not returned to service.

Funeral services were held on June 18 at Cary Baptist Church, with burial at Cary Cemetery the same day. Thompson was a volunteer member of the Cary Fire Department. (June 16, 1960)

Mayor Waldo Rood suggests town establish its own fire department, "a volunteer group to work under the direction of a paid chief who would also be the new police chief" reports The Raleigh Times and which "would be separate from the present Cary volunteer department which serves not only the town but the surrounding rural area." Firefighters "could choose whether to come with the town or remain where they are." The Town Board subsequently adopts a resolution in support of the Mayor. Townspeople and firefighters disagree with the proposal and "a committee is appointed to work out the differences." (June 1960)

Town Board approves purchase of "accidental death and disability income insurance" for fire department members, reports The Raleigh Times. Question of insurance arose at town meeting one week ago, with eleven firefighters threatening to resign unless the issue was discussed immediately. After the volunteers "carried out their threat," the Town Board immediately "sent a negotiator to the fire station and a compromise was worked out whereby the resignations were withdrawn on condition the board purchase the insurance at a special meeting to be held soon after." (July 13, 1960)rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis. Willie Crumpler is Assistant Chief. (July 22, 1960)rt

Fire department split into two entities, newly created Cary Fire Department serving town, and Cary Rural Fire Department serving unincorporated areas. J. L. (Pete) Murdoch is appointed Fire Chief of both departments. Paul Matthews is appointed Assistant Chief of the town department and Willie Crumpler is appointed Assistant Chief of the rural department. The 24 members of the fire department are split equally between Town and Rural departments, with more men needed "to build up both departments" reports the September 10 edition of The Raleigh Times. Applications are available at the Town Hall and applicants must be between 19 and 40 years of age, in good health, and willing to follow all fire department rules and regulations. Two "paid firemen" are to be hired, so "at least one well-trained fireman is on duty in town at all times." Yet worked out is the "division of property" as "some of the equipment that has been used by the previous department is owned jointly by the town and rural departments." Both departments are expected to "fall short of the necessary equipment when the property is divided." (September 15, 1960) rt

Construction on Station 1 abandoned during dispute among volunteer firefighters and town officials. Basement has been dug and foundations have been laid. Approximately $15,000 has been spent on the uncompleted 


Site of new Station 1 at 100 N. Academy Street has ownership transferred to town. (January 1, 1961.)wcrer

Ninth Annual Fireman's Day held. Event includes a parade, "bands, pretty girls, and lots of fire units" reports a newspaper article. Three school bands from Cary appear, along with others from "Knightdale, Millbrook, Erwin" and "Corinth-Holders." Fire units come from "New Hope, Apex, Garner, Swift Creek, Fairgrounds Rural and the Raleigh departments. And, of course, Cary's town and rural departments." "Perched atop a convertible," Molly Jo Waters-- Miss Cary-- is "resplendent in a white dress" and "other pretty girls rode the FHA float." (May, 1961)

Yrac Volunteer Fire Department organized by former Cary Fire Department volunteers. First Fire Chief is J. P. (Jackie) Hunter Jr. First station is Cary Station 2 on Cedar Street (?). (December 1, 1961)


Tenth Annual Fireman's Day held. Yrac Fire Department is "wholly responsible for putting on Fireman's Day this year" reports The Raleigh Times, though "municipal fire department members" participate individually and the town enters "its units in the parade." Proceeds, however, "go to the new department." Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. Street dance is held from 8 to 12 p.m. "at the Winn-Dixie parking lot." Prizes given away include "a Hereford steer, boys and girls bicycles and other items donated by local merchants." A grandstand "for special guests" is set up "in front of the Baptist Church" and Buck Sloan serves as announcer. (May 1962)rt


Eleventh Annual Fireman's Day held. Celebration begins at 3:00 p.m. with a parade which includes "fire equipment from a half-dozen or so Wake County departments and an antique fire truck from the Chapel Hill fire organization" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh Times. Miss Cary rides in the parade, as does Miss Yrac, whose identify is "kept secret until she appears." Door prizes include "a fat steer and a boy's or girl's bicycle." A "country music band" provides music for the street dance. Proceeds benefit the Yrac Rural Fire Department, though members of the Cary fire department assist with activities. (May 4, 1963)

Hole knocked in Public Utilities building behind fire station, for temporary housing of Chevrolet service truck. Fire engine is longer than the concrete-block building, so plastic cloth protects front of the apparatus which protrudes from the

Calvin Beck appointed as the first full-time, paid Fire Chief. Salary is $4,587. He joined the department in 1960, hired as a Captain and a Training Officer, after serving in Durham and Chapel Hill. Beck, 36, is a graduate of arson schools at UNC and Cornell University, and has attended the state fire inspection school in Greensboro. He's also an instructor with the N.C. Industrial Education Center Firemanship School.cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 1957 Chevrolet service truck.


Twelfth Annual Fireman's Day held. Activities begin with a 3:00 p.m. parade which includes "marching bands from Apex, Wake Forest, Clayton, Knightdale and Cary Schools, the first official appearance of Miss Cary, a Miss Yrac and other fire department queens, fire apparatus from all Wake County departments, a Model T fire truck, political candidates, town officials, floats from various businesses in the area, scouts, clowns, and a U.S. Marine display" reports the April 29 edition of The Raleigh Times. Parade marches "from Urban Drive down Chatham Street and onto Academy Street." A fish-fry is held at the junior high school cafeteria and street dancing in the Winn-Dixie parking lot. Music is provided by "Red Rose and the Dixie Mountain Boys." And a 1964 "Ford automobile" is given away as a door prize. (Saturday after April 29, 1964)rt

Fire department has three full-time and 15 part-time firefighters as of November 22,

Town council authorizes construction of the Academy Street fire station. Cited in December 18, 1964, Raleigh Times story.


Donald "Don" Tripp hired as Fire Chief. He's a Chapel Hill firefighter, age 25. He's a graduate of the Charlotte Fire College, Maryland State Fire School, the Fire Administration School at N.C. State, and the Wilson IEC school. His salary is 4,632 annually. Department has two other paid employees: Sherwood Thorton and D. R. Baker. (January 1, 1965)rt18dec65

Thirteenth Annual Fireman's Day held. Event is sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a parade at 3:00 p.m., followed by games, a fish-fry, a street dance, and the "giving away of a color television set" reports the April 30 edition of The Raleigh Times. During the parade, fire and police officials direct traffic "from US 64 to NC 54." (May 1, 1965)rt

Station 1 completed on 100 N. Academy Street.

Apparatus delivery: 1965 American LaFrance pumper, 1000 GPM, open-cab.


Seaboard Railroad boxcar on N. West Street, behind Suttons Service Station catches fire. Alarm is reported at 10:30 a.m. by telephone. Engine 1 responds with six firefighters, who extinguish the fire with a booster line. "Grease on brakes" is cited as the cause of ignition. No damage is reported. (January 8, 1966) fr

Fourteenth Annual Fireman's Day held. Event is sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a "square dance festival" at 2:00 p.m. reports the May 7 edition of The News and Observer. From 4 to 6 p.m., children are given "free fire truck rides." From 4 to 8 pm., a "fish fry" is held in the cafeteria of the junior high school. Games, door prizes, and a "dance in the school gym" are also held. (May 7, 1966)nt

John W. Ward hired as Fire Chief, after Chief Tripp retires that month for personal reasons. (October 15, 1966)

Garage apartment at corner of Ward and Cedar streets burns.  Alarm is reported at 3:45 p.m. by both telephone and person coming to station. Engine 1, Engine 2, and Ladder 1 respond. Fourteen firefighters battle blaze, one suffering first- and second-degree burns on "hands, forearms, face, and small part of back." Fire is confined to apartment, with $6500 loss. Cause is cited as "faulty oil heater." 1,400 feet of 2 1/2" hose and 800 feet of 1 1/2" hose utilized. (December 11, 1966) 


Fifteenth Annual Fireman's Day held. More than 5,000 people attend. Proceeds benefit Yrac Rural Fire Department. Events include "free rides on the department's big red fire trucks," a "gospel singing contest," and "a dance in the junior high gym" reports the May 8 edition of The Raleigh Times. Profits will go to the rural fire department's "building and equipment fund."rt (May 8, 1967)

R. Lee Mathews hired as acting Fire Chief. He's hired after Chief Ward resigns that month. Matthews is a retired Asst. Chief of the Raleigh Fire Department with 37 years of service. A Cary resident for many years, Matthews “took the job reluctantly be cause he really was enjoying retirement…but came to help us out of a jam and is doing a fine job of running things for us. He’s helping us get reorganized,” said Town Manager L. L. Lane. (January 21, 1967)mjl-blog

C. Frank Ayscue hired as Fire Chief. The twenty-four year-old had served five years with the Henderson Fire Department. He served until July 15, 1968, when he was hired as a firefighter for the City of Raleigh. He retired from Raleigh as a Senior Firefighter in 1989. (May 1, 1967)mjl-blog


John L. Dew hired as Fire Chief, after resignation of Chief Ayscue. (July 30, 1968)


Billy Henderson hired as Fire Chief. (February 7, 1969)

Fire department has three full-time and 17 volunteer firefighters.cfdr


Historic Page House destroyed by fire as Town is preparing for Centennial celebration. Fire starts at 2:30 a.m. in electrical wiring on the first floor and has spread to the second floor by the time the first firefighter arrives. The nearest fire hydrant on Academy Street proves dry and before another hydrant can be located, the fire truck's 500 gallon water tank is emptied. Firefighters race to the next hydrant, near the Yrac fire station, laying 2000 feet of supply line. By the time more water is flowed, flames are almost through the roof. By dawn, only a handful of charred timbers of the main house and a lone smokehouse are standing. (September 22, 1970)aac

Fire department has six full-time and 19 volunteer firefighters.cfdr


Terry L. Edmondson hired as Fire Chief. (January 4, 1971)

Donald McLamb is Assistant Chief. (May 1971)coy

Town Safety Committee makes recommendations for improvements, citing "growing pains" and the results of a four-week inquiry into "all phases of the Fire Department." Recommendations include becoming a "fully paid department when funds are available," the immediate installation of a new radio system, an addition to the "present Central Fire Station," drill scheduling, and the drawing up of a "Code of Conduct" that should emphasize "drinking habits, driving habits, and any other personal habits which would reflect on the individual, the Fire Department or the uniform." (September 23, 1971) 

Fire department has nine full-time and 18 volunteer firefighters as of September 23, 1971.

Cary Area Rescue Squad chartered. First call is answered at 4:15 p.m. on August 11, 1972. Fire Department discontinues rescue service. Rescue squad is formed by firefighters from Yrac, plus one Cary firefighter. First rescue squad Chief is Jerry Adams.Two decades or so later, when the organization changes its name to Cary Area EMS, the orange and white heavy rescue truck is transferred to the Fire Department, painted red and white, and placed in service as Rescue 2.aaac

Apparatus deliveries: American LaFrance 1000 GPM pumper purchased. Another older, pumper is refurbished.cfdr

Two-way radio equipment replacement program started. Radio system also tied into County-wide radio system.


Contract signed to expand Station 1. The $78,000, two-story, 5,200 square-foot addition will add additional apparatus room, larger sleeping quarters, a large training room, and more storage area to Station 1. (February 1972)

Fire department begins dispatching Cary Area Rescue Squad. (Mid-August, 1972)

Fire department has 12 full-time and 10 volunteer firefighters.cfdr

1970 Ford 1/2 ton pick-up truck purchased and later equipped with "dry chemicals for fighting fuel or gasoline fires."cfdr

Chief's car purchased. cfdr

New radio base station and new mobile radios installed.cfdr


Fire department has 14 full-time and 14 volunteer firefighters, three pumpers, one equipment truck, one pick-up truck, and one car.cfdr

Fire department hires full-time fire prevention officer.cfdr

New programs involving fire department including servicing and maintaining all fire hydrants and reviewing all site plans for future town development.cfdr


Fire department has 15 full-time and 11 volunteer firefighters as of January 3, 1974.

House fire at 604 Queens Ferry Road kills woman. Fire is reported at 3:46 a.m. Firefighters find Marilyn Powell, 41, "lying 'between the stove and the back door in the kitchen, just 36 inches from the back door" reports the January 18 edition of The News and Observer. Mrs. Powell's twin teenage sons escape. Police officer arrives and attempts rescue, shooting through lock of outside door to bedroom, but cannot enter because smoke is too thick. (January 17, 1974)no

Twenty-second Annual Fireman's Day held. Hundreds attend the celebration that begins at 4:00 p.m. with "a special firefighting and rescue demonstration given by members of the Fire Department and the Cary Area Rescue Squad." Also included is a "fish-fry dinner" and a "basketball match between the Cary Fire Department and the Cary Police Department" reports the May 8 edition of The Raleigh Times. Admission to the ball game is a $1 donation to the fire department. Police officers defeat firefighters 39-34. Door prizes "given away at halftime" are "an RCA color television, a Honda motorcycle, a 10-speed bicycle, and a Singer sewing machine." Earlier, firefighters sold tickets for chances to win the prizes. Coincidentally, none of the four prizes are awarded to Cary residents. (May 8, 1974)

House fire at 1016 Wilshire Drive kills three girls. Fire is reported at 3:45 a.m. and is caused by careless smoking. Other occupants escape. Fire begins in "downstairs area" and sends "heavy smoke into the upstairs area" where the girls are sleeping, reports the June 10 edition of The News and Observer. Killed are Susan Hagwood, 6, and her half sisters Shirley Hathaway, 15, and Elizabeth Hathaway, 16. All three girls die of smoke inhalation, Wake County Coroner Truman Rhodes later reports. (June 9, 1974)no

Town Public Information Officer issues press release requesting citizens make "no non-emergency calls" to the fire department "for at least ten minutes after the siren has been silenced," after automobile fire on December 17 results in multiple calls from news reporters and other people, tying up telephone lines needed by the dispatcher. (December 26, 1974) pr 


Land for new Station 2 purchased. Town had agreed to buy "slightly over half an acre" at the Cary Village Shopping Center, reported the May 30 edition of The Raleigh Times. Station was expected to be operating by March, 1976. Fire Chief Terry Edmundson told the Cary News that the Fire Insurance Bureau told the town in 1970 that it would need a second fire station by the time its population reached 13,000. (July 15, 1975)wcrer

Fire Chief Terry L. Edmondson resigns "amid allegations that he made false alarm telephones to his own department" reports the August 2 edition of The News and Observer. Two calls on July 28 report fires at the South Hills Motor Inn and Helmold Fire. Voice similarities are noted and a Southern Bell operator tells fire officials that the second caller's number was traced, and was made from Edmondson's home. Edmondson was initially suspended for two weeks without pay. The fire chief cited the charges and previous frustrations as his reasons for resigning. Town officials declined to conduct an investigation. Captains Dewey W. Poole and Macon W. House are appointed acting chiefs. Edmundson is subsequently hired as Fire Chief of the Raleigh-Durham Airport fire department. (August 7, 1975)cn13aug75, no02aug75

Fire department has 17 full-time and 13 volunteer firefighters as of August 1, 1975.

Ned Perry hired as Fire Chief, serves until 1993. Perry is 17-year veteran of the Raleigh Fire Department, ranks as a Captain, and is president of the Raleigh Firefighter's Association. The salary for the position is $15,828. (October 6, 1975)

Fire hydrants "on portions of Chatham and Academy streets" approved by Town Council for painting in red, white, and blue Bicentennial colors, reports the October 15 edition of The Cary News. Fire Chief Ned Perry protests, showing the Town Council "pictures of unattractively decorated" hydrants and noting "problems firemen could have" if the hydrants are not painted carefully. (Thursday before October 15, 1975)

Apparatus purchase: 1975 GMC service truck with body designed by Fire Chief Ned Perry. Body work performed by Alexander Welding of Raleigh. Enclosed body style keeps ladders dry, freeing firefighters from having to clean equipment after runs during rain. Compartment doors are also lighted and the compartments are custom-fit for the equipment.oh


Fire department begins monitoring CB channel 9, the emergency frequency, after receiving base station donated by Cary citizen Larry H. Royster. (January 1976)cn

McDonald's restaurant at Cary Village and next to Station 2 site burns. Two engine companies and one ladder company respond from downtown. The early morning fire, reported at 12:45 a.m., apparently starts "from a wire behind the basement electrical panel box" reports the February 4 edition of The Cary News. Heavy smoke on second floor alerts "a passing motorist who turned in the alarm." Extensive damage is done and firefighters remain on the scene until 2:00 a.m. (Wednesday before February 4, 1976)cn

Brush fire burns 40 to 50 acres of land "between NC 54 and Hillsborough Road from the WPTF towers to Wayside Furniture" reports the March 3 edition of The Cary News. Nine fire departments assist Cary Rural Fire Department while Cary City and Apex respond to another woods fire "in the 900 block of West Chatham Street." Cary Rural Fire Department Fire Chief David Weaver believes first fire was actually "five different fires which were ignited by sparks from the brakes of a passing train." (March 3, 1976)

Last Fireman's Day held. Twenty-fourth annual event is sponsored by both Cary and Yrac fire departments. Celebration starts with "games at the Cary Office Center on Walnut Street" reports the April 28 edition of The Raleigh Times. Same consist of an "inter-department water fight" and a "bucket brigade race." Next is a "famous flounder fish fry" from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cary Elementary School. "Quizzo" starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Academy Street fire station with hot dogs "available for refreshments." Live music starts at 8 p.m. "in the parking lot of the Fidelity Bank across the street from the Academy Street fire station." Morning Dew performs. Door prize drawings are held at 10:00 p.m. with "dollar chances" sold for "prizes consisting of a Teaberry C.B. radio, microwave oven, outdoor gas grill," a ten-speed bicycle, and a skateboard. (May 1, 1976)rt 

Station 2 completed on 875 NE Maynard Road. Total cost of station, including land and landscaping, is slightly more than $200,000. Station opens in August 1976. Ceremony and open house held on December 5, 1976.

Fire department has 26 full-time employees and 11 auxiliary firefighters, four pumpers, and one ladder truck as of December 5, 1976.


Cook Out restaurant at 500 Chatham Street burns. Fire is reported at 3:28 a.m. and firefighters arrive one minute later to find wooden A-frame structure fully engulfed in flames. Fire is under control within ten minutes, but thirty-four firefighters remain on the scene for three hours. More than a dozen cans of pain stored on the second level of the one-story structure may have helped the fire spread. Both the building, valued at $35,000 and $18,000 worth of cooking equipment, are a total loss. Fire is believed started by ignition of several quarts of floor cleaner, perhaps by severe winds causing an electrical shortage. (March 23, 1977)rt23mar77

Land purchased for Station 3 on Kildaire Farm Road near the intersection with the proposed location of Cary Parkway. The property costs $3,180. Eighteen months later, town officials discussed moving the station site, due to rising estimated expenses in the planned station construct. Architect William Keener tells officials that the current lot will require more filling, grading, and shaping than originally anticipated. The parcel is subsequently rejected for the project, and a new site is purchased in October 1984, at 1807 Kildaire Farm Road. (March 1977)cn16aug78

Raleigh Times reports on organizational updates since the hiring of Fire Chief Ned Perry:

  • Firefighters organized into three platoons, instead of two.
  • Work week shortened from 72 to 60 hours.
  • Plans to assign a paid firefighter staff the ladder truck.
  • Plans to house the ladder truck, to protect from wind and weather. Currently, the truck is parked in the lot across the street from the firehouse.
  • New program started, where department members visit schools, churches, and businesses, to help firefighters have faster access to buildings during emergencies.
  • Firefighters organized into two companies, with each company responsible for responding to one-half of the town. (May 30, 1977)

Siren removed from Station 1. (July-August, 1977)yfd

First female joins as volunteer firefighter.


Freight train derails near Old US.1 just west of Cary. Four empty coal cars on a Seaboard Coast Line train derail in afternoon accident. No injures are reported. (February 2, 1978)no03feb78

Distraught man kills self and wife with bomb at Cary Village Shopping Center. Blast occurs about noon in conference room of law office, after Jerry Ronald Sowers, 32, threatens to "blow up himself and everyone in the building" unless allowed to talk to his wife alone at a 9 a.m. meeting to discuss a separation agreement. Opening his vest and revealing a six-inch device covered with gray tap, Sowers first demands to take his wife out of the building. Later, holding a battery in one hand and a bare wire in the other, he demands to spend an hour with his wife alone. About 10 a.m., his lawyer persuades Sowers to have the talk in the conference room. The building is evacuated about 10:30 a.m. Police grant Sowers his requested hour at 11:50 a.m. Minutes later, both Sowers and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Sowers, 36, are killed instantly. Fire Chief Ned Perry estimates the force of the explosion equal to "several sticks of dynamite." Investigators later say they may never be able to determine if the bomb was accidentally or intentionally triggered. (May 11, 1978)no12may78, no13may78

Joyce Finnerty hired as first fire educator. The thirty-one year old Cary resident is only one of three fire educators in the state. Her first priority is expanding the fire department's school educatoin program. She's also planned to receive training and serve as an active firefighter. (October 1978)cn11oct78

1953 Seagrave pumper assigned to brush fire duties.


1963 Dodge 4-wheel drive brush truck placed in service. Former Air Force ambulance was purchased as military surplus for $700.00 in 1978. Low-mileage vehicle (11,000 miles) was obtained from an Army Surplus Depot and rebuilt by firefighters (with consultation of town mechanics) into brush truck at cost of $1,500. The conversion took place at both fire stations 1 and 2 and at the Town Shop. (May 10, 1979)

Fire department accepts applications for four positions. First step in application process is passing an aptitude test administered by the Employment Security Commission. Once past that hurdle, applications face a series of fire department tests including carrying a specific amount of weight for a certain distance and carrying a hose up a ladder. Once hired, incoming firefighters learn to maneuver with equipment and are expected to begin a physical exercise program. During a four-week orientation phase, rookies must learn every piece of equipment on a fire truck. There's also a written exam and dexterity tests. At the end of four weeks, the firefighter is assigned to an officer and company and can officially be called a Firefighter I. The starting pay range is from $10,005 to $13,250. (June 1979)cn06jun79

Town gets 911 emergency telephone service, becoming first Wake County community to adopt the shorter number. (October 8, 1979)no05oct79

Town revamps pay schedules for all employees, bringing salary levels in line with comparable municipalities. (Winter 1979)cn

Fire hydrants changed to national standard threads. Department members changed on 900 fire hydrants in town during a seven-day period. The project cost about $41,000. To expedite the program each hydrant was assigned a number. The town was then divided into quarters, and then into routes. Firefighters were divided into teams to install the threads on the hydrants, hoses, and trucks. The existing threads originally matched Raleigh's, and for the assumed purpose of mutual aid, if Raleigh responded to Cary. The threads later evolved into a different "Cary thread," and both types were in use. By changing to national standard, there were several benefits: developers could purchase fire hydrants without special ordering. Such hydrants would be delivered faster. And the fire department could order new hose couplings faster, without customization. The new equipment was provided by Zimmerman and Evans Fire and Safety in Greensboro. (December 1980)cn02jan80


Fire department adopts SLEP, Service Life Extension Program after program receives endorsement from town Safety Committee. Program is designed to extend the life of current equipment and is planned to begin by modernizing two pumpers.

  • Engine 2 will be rebuilt, with diesel, pump ratios, transmission, air brake systems, and gauges all replaced and extending the life of the apparatus by better than 20 years. The refurbishing is estimated at $45,000, compared to the replacement cost for an equal engine in excess of $90,000.
  • Engine 4 is already being revamped, with work continuing on an in-house basis, and which should be completed in three to six months. (February 1980)cn20feb80

Fire department assumes Public Works duties of creating and maintaining street signs for town. Facilities are set up at Station 2, complete with lamination machine built by firefighters. Members of "B" shift are "primarily involved in setting up the systematic program" reports the May 14 edition of The Cary News, and "for at least part of every workday, the men of B shift move to a different locale in the town with a work list that has been dictated by observed needs of the police department." Firefighters "have their work cut out for them" as town "is in the process of replacing all concrete street name posts" with upright, single-blade signs with reflecting lettering. (Spring 1980)cn

1953 Seagrave pumper removed from service.

Fire department consists of 26 full-time and 14 volunteer firefighters. Full-time firefighters work eight-hour rotating shifts and are also on-call for major fires. Out of 26 fire departments in Wake County, Cary and Raleigh are the only ones with paid staffs. (June 18, 1980)


1965 American LaFrance pumper rebuilt. Rebuilding includes installation of 6171T Detroit diesel engine, an MT644 Allison automatic transmission, power steering, complete rewiring, air brakes, cab top, sand blasting, and repainting. Refurbishment costs $70,022.16.cfdr


Fire Prevention Officer Captain Wayne House assists Syracuse Plastics Inc. on Old Apex Road with education of newly formed fire brigade. (February 1982) cn

Residence at 200 Wendy Court burns. Afternoon fire is stared by shorting wires in homemade bird repellant. Damage is estimated at $30,000. Firefighters are called to the scene at 2 p.m. (May 16, 1982)

Volunteer are firefighters phased out, and fire department becomes a career organization.


Brush fires along Seaboard Coastline railroad trucks are fought by around 50 firefighters from Cary, Yrac, Morrisville, Fairgrounds, and Swift Creek fire departments. First fire is reported at 3:45 p.m., along the tracks near the town hall. Other fires are fought near Lowes, near Aeroglide Corporation and Bashford Road. Fires are believed started by sparks or oil from train heading west out of Raleigh, though, when stopped in Apex, nothing is found wrong.(Friday before March 6, 1983)na

Chemical spill at 113 W. Maynard Road causes evacuation of businesses, schools, and residents. Four firefighters are injured when splattered by percholoroethylene, a dry-cleaning substance, while trying to plug the leak on a truck transporting same. The fluid seeps under their gloves and runs down their chests. They're treated on the scene, with water and subsequent lotion. One of the four, Captain William Reynolds, is hospitalized after inhaling the substance, 175 gallons of which are eventually released onto the ground. Police close Maynard Road from Kildare Farm Road to Pond Street, close three businesses and evacuate Briarcliff Elementary School at about 1:30 p.m.. More than 60 firefighters from nine departments are called to the scene. Cary firefighters stay on the scene until 2 a.m. the next morning. Getting enough breathing air proves the greatest challenge, as firefighters attempting to stop the leak keep running out of bottled air. Firefighters subsequently spend three hours in Raleigh that night, refilling SCBA tanks. Local restaurants provide food to the exhausted firefighters, both delivering to the scene and feeding more than 30 firefighters for free at a restaurant. Maynard Road residents are allowed back into their homes after midnight, instructed to leave their windows open for 45 minutes, to ensue any chemical vapors escape. (Monday before March 13, 1983)cn, no


Land purchased for Station 3 at 1807 Kildaire Farm Road. (October 26, 1984)wcrer

1984, Wolfe's Appliance and Service Company at 140 East Chatham Street burns. Fire is reported about 3:05 p.m. About 25 firefighters bring blaze under control shortly after arrival, but smolder insulation creates thick brown smoke that pours from building for more than an hour. Firefighters remain on scene until 9:30 p.m., ensuring flames are out. Rich's Style Shop suffers minor smoke damage. Police reroute traffic around area for about two hours. (Sunday before November 26, 1984)no26nov84


Land for future fire station (Station 4) purchased at 1401 Old Apex Road. (June 27, 1985)wcrer


Station 3 completed at 1807 Kildare Farm Road. Site is located one mile farther south than first site purchased near Kildare Farm Road and Cary Parkway, but abandoned at recommendation of Fire Chief, who believes same is too close to Station 1.aaac

Fire department has 44 firefighters, two employees in Fire Prevention, two Assistant Fire Chiefs, and one Fire Chief, three engine companies and one ladder company, with three firefighters assigned to each, as of August 2, 1987.

Current support vehicles:

Car 1 1987 Chevrolet, four-door sedan, driven by Fire Chief
Car 2 1986 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 3 1986 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 4 1987 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 47 1987 Mercury Zephyr, driven by Fire Inspector
Car 48 1980 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by Fire Inspector
Unit 18 1970 Ford, 1/2 ton pick-up truck
Unit B9 1986 Dodge, 1 ton van, driven by Bulk Water Sales Technician [ former Haz-Mat truck? ]

Source CFD.


Rushing rainwater sweeps 13 year-old boy into drainage culvert while crossing creek in woods near Nottingham Circle and Harlon Drive. Accident occurs about 4:20 p.m. Water carries boy about 75 yards into four-foot diameter culvert which gradually descends underground and eventually runs under Interstate 40. Firefighters, altered by boy's friend who runs for help, remove cover off of catch basin and retrieve boy, who grabs crack in cement wall near the catch basin. (July 10, 1988)rt11jul88

Land for future fire station (Station 5) purchased at 2101 High House Road. (December 21, 1988)wcrer

Station 4 completed at 1401 Old Apex Road.

Fire department responds to 1513 emergencies for year, averaging over four per day.cfdr


Building at 306 Middleton Avenue burns. (January 13, 1989)noi

Fire department has 73 employees including one full-time bulk water sales person, has two specialized, 18-person teams (hazardous materials and fire investigation). Also, every firefighter a certified Emergency Medical Technician as of September 9, 1989. Apparatus includes four engines, one ladder, one ladder / salvage truck, and two engines in reserve. cfdr

Carolina Computer Store at 700 Western Boulevard Extension burns. Fire starts in rear storeroom and guts business. Nearby York Sports Club and Economy Dry Cleaners receive smoke damage. Fire alarm is received at 1:45 a.m. About 30 firefighters respond. Damage to computer store's inventory is estimated at $100,000. Businesses are located in Cary Village Square. (September 15, 1989)no19sep89

Ace Hardware & Home Center at Mayfair Plaza at Kildaire Farm and E. Maynard Roads damaged by explosion and fire. Suspicious blaze starts about 9:15 p.m. in enclosed area behind store. Explosion, from 40-pound liquid propane tank used as forklift fuel supply, spreads fire to rear of store. Fire is latest of several suspicious fires around shopping center. (November 12, 1989)rt13nov89

Fire department begins providing EMT service.

Land for new Station 1 purchased at 1501 N. Harrison Avenue. (December 15, 1989)wcrer

New radio system installed, 800mhz "trunked" system. (1989-1990).cfdr


Town fire protection rating improved. The Class 6 rating is changed to Class 3 by ISO Commercial Risk Services of Atlanta. The improve is estimated to save commercial and rental property owners $500,000 in fire insurance premiums. The improved rating represented more than ten years of planning and spending to building new fire stations, purchase better equipment, raise training standards, and improve response time. The Class 3 rating matches Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The rating is effective March 1, 1990.no09feb90


Medlin-Davis Cleaners at MacGregor Village burns.  Fire is reported about 2:00 p.m. and destroys three-fourths of the building's equipment. Kerr Drugs and Hot Shots Billiards & Pub also suffer damage. (December 2, 1991)


Station 1 completed at 1501 North Harrison Ave. Constructed at cost of $1.3 million on 6.5 acres of land donated by SAS Institute Inc. on condition that fire station is designed to "blend architecturally" with nearby homes.aaac

Old Station 1 at 100 N. Academy Street converted to Fire Administration Building.


Wayne House is appointed as Fire Chief.

Fire department has 68 firefighters, five fire prevention officers, three assistant chiefs, and one Fire Chief.


Construction worker trapped after ten-foot trench collapses. Worker laying pipes for new water tower on Cary Parkway near Kildare Farm Road is buried around 5:20 p.m. and rescued after six hours and subsequently flown to Duke University Medical Center. (Monday after June 14, 1994)no


Natural gas leak on Walnut Street prompts evacuation of more than 300 homes in Greenwood Acres and Pirates Cove, as well as the Cary Towne Center. The 12-inch main requires several hours to repair. (Thursday before August 12, 1995)

Restoration of 1953 Seagrave pumper started at cost of about $20,000. Apparatus is restored using chassis and parts from a second 1953, oh

Apparatus Delivery: 1995 Mack service truck. Body style is designed as same style as 1975 GMC service truck. oh


Land for future fire station (Station 7) purchased at 6900 Carpenter Fire Station Road. (February 15, 1996)wcrer

Woodcreek apartments on Woodcreek Dr. burn. Four units destroyed in evening fire. (Wednesday before November 1, 1996)no

Station 5 completed at 2101 High House Road. Facility includes Police Department substation.


Rex Wellness Center of Cary burns after propane gas explosion. Two workers injured. Fire quickly extinguished. (Friday before August 2, 1997)no

Fire department celebrates 75th anniversary, with five engine companies, two truck companies, one ladder company, and one rescue company employing 120 full-time employees and an annual budget of $5.3 million. The department serves a town of 82,000 people and 40 square miles. (October 11, 1997)


Land for future fire station (Station 6) purchased at 3609 Ten Ten Road. (January 12, 1999)wcrer

Fire department receives international accreditation.


Amber Woods apartments at 113 Ribbon Lane burn. Eight units destroyed in early morning fire. (Wednesday before January 20, 2000)no


Land for future fire station (Station 8) purchased at 408 Mills Park Drive. (May 17, 2001)wcrer

Station 6 completed at 3609 Ten-Ten Road.


Garden Supply Company at 1421 Old Apex Road burns. Afternoon fire takes over an hour to control. Seven Cary units answer call, with mutual aid from Western-Wake, Morrisville, Fairview, and Apex. Firefighters Tim Gouge and Todd Dollar are slightly injured when Ladder 3 suffers a collapse, the platform dropping 8 to 10 feet. A temporary replacement truck is delivered within days. (June 4, 2002)no

Apparatus delivery: 2002 Pierce Dash pumper, 1250 GPM single-stage Waterous pump, 500 gallon tank. Placed in service as Engine 1 (August 2002)pm, oh

Fire Chief Wayne House retires. Fire department starts national search for replacement (December 2002)


Deputy Fire Chief R. Allan Cain appointed interim Fire Chief (January 1, 2003)pr

R. Allan Cain appointed Fire Chief (April 10, 2003)pr

Apparatus deliveries: two 2003 Pierce Dash pumpers, 1250 GPM Waterous pump, 500 gallons, with 475 hp Detroit Diesel series 60 engines, 8kw Harrison generators, hydraulic ladder racks, and EMS cabinets in crew cab. Placed in service as Engines 5 and 6 (April 2003).pm, oh

North Carolina Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force 8 placed in service. It is comprised of members and equipment from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary fire departments. (September 2003)

Apparatus notes: 

  • 2004 Pierce Dash platform ladder delivered in April 2004.  Placed in service as Truck 5 (May 2004)
  • Truck 5 removed from service.  Truck 7 placed in service at Station 5 (May 2004)
  • Old Ladder 1 sold to Buis Creek, NC (May 2004)

Apparatus delivery: 2006 Pierce Dash pumper, 1250/500.


Station 7 opens at 6900 Carpenter Fire Station Road. Engine 7 and Truck 7 are placed in service. The 17,200 square-foot facility cost $4.5 million, and also houses Morrisville Fire Station 3 and their Engine 3. (April 2007)mjl-blog

Apparatus delivery: 2007 Ford F-550/Kanphide swift-water rescue unit, USAR 803.


Apparatus deliveries:

  • 2008 Pierce Velocity rear-mounted aerial ladder, 1500/300/105-feet. Truck 6. Delivered April 21, 2008. Replaces 1993 Pierce Lance service truck.
  • 2008 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue. Truck 7. Delivered in June.

Apparatus deliveries:

  • 2009 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500/55, 1 of 2. Engine 3.
  • 2009 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500/55, 2 of 2. Engine 7. Both delivered December 21, 2009.

Apparatus delivery: 2010 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500/55. Engine 1. Delivered March 1, 2010.


Apparatus deliveries:

  • 2012 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue, 1 of 2. Rescue 2. Delivered January 19, 2012. Replaces 2000 Ford/KME light rescue.
  • 2012 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue, 2 of 2. Rescue 4. Delivered January 19, 2012. Replaces 2000 Ford/KME light rescue.
  • 2012 Pierce Velocity rear-mounted aerial platform, 1500/300/100-foot. Ladder 3. Delivered January 20, 2012.

Engine 8 placed in service. The company is housed at Station 7, and relocates during daytime hours to the territory of Station 8, which is under construction. They operate a 2002 Pierce Dash pumper. (April 8, 2013)mjl-blog

Town withdraws support for NC USAR Task Force 8, and the Cary Fire Department withdraws from the team. (May 2013)oh

Station 8 opens at 408 Mills Park Drive. Houses Engine 8. The 15,000 square-foot facility includes a police station. The building was dedicated on June 19, 2013.mjl-blo

Apparatus deliveries:

  • 2014 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500. Engine 4. Delivered March 18, 2014.
  • 2014 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue. Rescue 7. Delivered May 14, 2014. Replaces 2008 Pierce Velocity.

Insurance Services Office (ISO) improves Cary's fire rating from Class 3 to Class 1. (July 1, 2015)mjl-blog

New Station 2 and Station 9 open:

  • Station 2 relocated to 601 E. Chatham Street. It's dedicated on December 18.
  • Station 9 placed in service at old Station 2, 875 S. E. Maynard Road. Future fire station planned at 1427 Walnut Street, on property by town. (December 14, 2015)

Apparatus notes: First quint company placed in service as Engine 6, along with other changes:

  • Engine 6 removed from service.
  • Ladder 6 converted to a quint company and renamed Engine 6.
  • Rescue 4 moved to Station 6. (December 14, 2015)

Apparatus delivery: 2016 Pierce Enforcer pumper, 1500/500. Engine 5. (September 21, 2016.)

Fire Chiefs

See Wake County Fire Chiefs (pdf).


See Wake County apparatus register (pdf).


Raleigh Fire Museum photo albums.


cb Calvin Beck, History of Cary Fire Department, 1921-1937
cfdr Cary Fireman's Day records
cn Cary News
dr Department Records
fr Fire or Alarm Record
gn Garner News
mjl-blog Legeros Fire Blog
na News article
no News and Observer
pm Pierce Manufacturing
pr Press Release
rt Raleigh Times
sos NC Secretary of State
ts The State Magazine
wcfa Wake County Fireman's Association records
wcrer Wake County real estate records
yfd Yrac Fire Department records

Last updated: October 23, 2016


Copyright 2016 by Michael J. Legeros