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Exciting Recent Posts

Vintage Forest Service Photos
Raleigh's Original American LaFrance Ladder Trucks
People at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo
West Virginia DOT Adds Fire Trucks for Tunnel Response
Raleigh's New Engine and Tiller - More Production Photos (21 comments)
Bumper vs. Bumper - Cary vs. Raleigh
When Stock Photos Fail (2 comments)
Firefighter Fatalities in Johnston and Clay Counties (1 comment)
Site Plan of Cary Fire Station 2
School Bus Turned Tanker in Warrenton, 1957 (2 comments)
Raleigh Fire Museum at Raleigh Fire Expo
2015 NC Fallen Fire Firefighters - First Annual Memorial Ride - Sat., Aug. 15
Vintage Photo - Guilford County Spill Control Unit
Cary Firefighters Form Service Organization, Plan Schondelfire Memorial Marathon on Sept. 6
Monster Wrecker From Fayetteville (1 comment)
Burlington's 1940 Diamond T/Oren Pumper... And a Mystery (2 comments)
Ca-Vel Fire Departments of Stanly and Person Counties (2 comments)
Social Media Workshops at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo
Memorial Service for Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville, Thursday, July 30
Providence Fire Department Ceases Service (1 comment)

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mary young (Historic and Form…): Hi, The fire station located at 1901 N. Elizabeth…
Silver (Raleigh's New Eng…): @RR, reach out to me if you want. I’ll share with…
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+ 0 - 0 | § Vintage Forest Service Photos

From a reader (thanks Greg!), the Forest History Society (that happens to be located in Durham) maintains a photograph collection of over 30,000 items. They've digitized a portion of same, and searching "fire North Carolina" finds 201 matches. People, places, and things, from plows to planes to foresters. Here's a sampling, click to enlarge:
 


Courtesy Forest History Society

  
Left to right, top to bottom:

+ 0 - 0 | § Raleigh's Original American LaFrance Ladder Trucks

Happened upon a reproduction of American LaFrance Catalog No. 20 (1923), via eBay last week. Forty-eight pages and a thick, glossy stock. Printed in 1972. Within are entries for their popular Type 17 tractor-drawn aerial ladder and Type 14 combination service ladder truck. One of each was bought by the city of Raleigh, in 1916 and 1922, respectively.

Here are drawings from the catalog. The service truck says "R.F.D."  Doubtful that's Raleigh, as ours said "R.F.D. No. 2" on the hood. Rochester? Racine? Reno? No telling. Click once or twice to enlarge:
 


 

Below are the complete catalog pages. Raleigh's 1916 American LaFrance Type 17 aerial ladder (#1047) had a manufacturing date of February 5, 1916. It was originally delivered in white and repainted red in the early 1920s. Two decades later, the tractor was replaced with a 1939 American LaFrance 500 Series. Note the height of the tillerman seat. That's because the ground ladders were stored in a single stack, instead of side-by-side as seen in later decades. Read more of the truck's history and see some photos, here and here. Click once or twice to enlarge:
 


 

Raleigh's 1922 American LaFrance Type 14 combination service ladder truck (#3941) had a manufacturing date of September 26, 1922. It was placed in service on August 10. Cost $9,457.00. The truck was operated as a two-piece ladder company. Based on the location of the reported fire, Truck 1 members would take the service ladder truck (for higher buildings) or the service ladder truck (for lower buildings). Both were housed at Station 1 on West Morgan Street until 1941, when they were moved to Station 2 at Memorial Auditorium. Read more of the truck's history here. Click once or twice to enlarge:
 


 
American LaFrance buffs or others, what else would tell about these great old rigs?

+ 0 - 0 | § People at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo

Made this video the other week at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo in Raleigh. Mobile phone for recording, Microsoft's free Movie Maker for editing, and Flash Integro's free video editor enhancements. (Looking for photos? Yours Truly was otherwise camera-free. See these pics on Flickr from John Franks and Tim Blasidell, for starters. Pics from Lee Wilson are pending.)
 

View on YouTube

+ 0 - 1 | § West Virginia DOT Adds Fire Trucks for Tunnel Response

The West Virginia Department of Transportation has taken delivery of three 2015 Freightliner M2-106/Pierce pumpers, 1250/1000 with Husky foam systems. (And bumper turret!) The trucks will protect a pair of mountain tunnels on Interstate 77. They’ll be staffed with contractors (four employees per shift are trained to operate the trucks) and provide preliminary response until local fire and rescue departments.

The project to purchase the rigs was initiated in summer 2013. Last year’s truck fire in the East River Mountain Tunnel further validated the plans. (Google for stories and stunning photos from that incident.) Training of personnel and delivery of the vehicles was completed in June.

Both tunnels had their own engines until the 1990s. Notes this Bluefield Daily Telegraph story by Greg Jordan, they fire departments were removed due to “more stringent training standards and costs with associated with implementing those standards” as well as increased costs for operation and maintenance. (Makes and models, anyone?)

They’ll protect the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel (opened in 1972) and the East River Mountain Tunnel (opened in 1974). On average, notes the story, some 30,000 vehicles per day pass through them. (The story only cites two fire trucks. Maybe the third is a spare, or auxiliary truck?)

See pictures on their Flickr site here, here, and here. See specs and download drawings on this Atlantic Emergency Solutions page. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 0 - 1 | § Raleigh's New Engine and Tiller - More Production Photos

Here are some more pictures from the Atlantic Emergency Solutions Trucks in Production page, showing Raleigh's forthcoming Pierce Arrow XT pumper and tiller. See many more pictures at the above site. Tiller is due in four weeks. Both trucks will be assigned to Station 29, as Engine 29 and Ladder 9. The tiller will be Raleigh's second, following a 2010 Pierce Arrow XT that's assigned to Ladder 4 at Station 1. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 1 - 2 | § Bumper vs. Bumper - Cary vs. Raleigh

From the Atlantic Emergency Solutions Trucks in Production page, here's a comparison of the bumpers of Cary and Raleigh's new Pierce engines under construction. Cary adding a white reflective stripe (job #28596, Velocity chassis). Raleigh adding their first bumper-based chevrons (job #28621, Arrow XT chassis).
 

+ 0 - 2 | § When Stock Photos Fail

See if you can tell what's wrong with this picture. Found by FireNews.net on Twitter (they even wrote this headline!), retweeting from WFMY News yesterday. (Promoting story about $1.1 SAFER grant granted to Greensboro. Read that story.) What, you're not following FireNews via Twitter? They're the go-to source for local and national fire news headlines. Worth the leap, if you haven't started using Twitter.

 

+ 0 - 1 | § Firefighter Fatalities in Johnston and Clay Counties

Two North Carolina firefighters have passed away while on duty, this morning in Johnston County and on Friday morning in Clay County.

     

Johnston County Firefighter Christopher Joe Daniels, 40, died this morning while on duty at Pine Level Fire Department. Daniels was a career Engineer/Acting Captain in Smithfield, and a part-time firefighter at Pine Level, Selma, and Thanksgiving fire departments. He collapsed at the fire station this morning and died.

Flags at area fire stations were lowered today. At the Smithfield fire station, Daniels' helmet and turnout gear were placed outside the station. Four Oaks sent an engine to town, to provide coverage while Smithfield firefighters visited the family. Funeral arrangements are pending. Source: Johnston County Report. Photo from Facebook.

 

Fire Chief James D. "J. D." Robinson, 59, of the Brasstown Volunteer Fire Department in Clay County died on Friday, August 14. He had a medical emergency while standing by at a dirt track car race. He was found not breathing and CPR was immediately started. He was treated at the scene and transported to Murphy Medical Center, where he passed away.

Chief Robertson was also a Fire Instructor at Tri County Community College and a wildland firefighter with the North Carolina Forest Service. His fire service career spanned over thirty years. Sources: Firefighter Close Calls, USFA Fatality Report. Photo from this BFD blog.

 

+ 0 - 1 | § Site Plan of Cary Fire Station 2

Construction is well underway for Cary new Fire Station 2 at 601 E. Chatham Street. Here's the project page on the town's web site. Below is a site plan, found via this document (PDF) on the town's FTP server via Google. Plus a couple photos from this morning. Hearing that the facility should be occupied by late November or early December.

See prior blog postings from January 2013, October 2013, and November 2014. Plus this posting from May 2015, which talks about the town's plans for the existing Station 2. Click to enlarge:
 







+ 1 - 1 | § School Bus Turned Tanker in Warrenton, 1957

Would you believe a school bus turned water tanker? That's what the Warrenton Rural Volunteer Fire Department did in the late 1950s, when they converted a school bus into their first tanker. This picture appeared in the Warren Record on July 26, 1957.

Read the caption: "This is the original built by the rural firemen. It is still in use, but will be located in another part of the county as soon as another tanker can be built. The school truck body was left on chassis to provide cover due to lack of fire house."

The picture was posted to the department's Facebook page in March, and they added some additional details. The tank was 1,000 gallons as best they recall. Round and without baffles. The truck, named Tanker 1, was also equipped with a pump that "ran of belts that engaged a power take-off which was also located inside the bus. A hose would run off the pump [and] out the door."

As far as the department knows, the chassis is still located in Warren County. Make and model of the vehicle? Maybe readers know. Next question, what are some other curious apparatus conversions that you've seen or heard of, around North Carolina? (Thanks for heads-up about this picture, Greg.) Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 0 | § Raleigh Fire Museum at Raleigh Fire Expo

Coming to the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo this week? Visit the Raleigh Fire Museum booth on the Mezzanine Level, right around the corner from the lobby escalators. Learn about our organization as well as other area and regional fire museums. We'll have one or two digital slideshows to entertain you. 

And challenge coins for sale, newly produced by the museum for sale as a fundraiser. (Coins are $10 each. Can't make the show? We'll have them for sale soon on our web site.) The booth will be open Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Looking for Yours Truly? He'll be around all days, including staffing the booth on Thursday night. Mike Legeros is also co-presenting at a workshop on Friday afternoon. Cameras, Citizen Reporters, Social Media and Emergency Services with Jeff Hammerstein (Wake County EMS) from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. That's one of two workshops on the subject of social media, the other's that morning with William Suthard (Huntersville FD). See prior posting.

See you at the show!
 

+ 2 - 1 | § 2015 NC Fallen Fire Firefighters - First Annual Memorial Ride - Sat., Aug. 15

Event announcement. The Brothers of the Inferno Motorcycle Club of Goldsboro is hosting a memorial ride to benefit the North Carolina Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation. The event is Saturday, August 15, 2015. The location is Wayne Community College, 3000 Wayne Memorial Drive in Goldsboro. The cost is $20 per bike with $5 per additional passenger.

Registration is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Then posting colors and prayer at 9:00 a.m. and kickstands up at 9:30 a.m. The route is from Goldsboro to Raleigh and by way of visiting a few fire departments that have experienced line of duty deaths, some local motorcycle dealers, and Barry's Cafe in Cary. (Meal tickets are $8.00 for lunch at Barry's. They'll also have tee shirts for sale for $15 each.)

There will also be door prizes throughout the ride, provided by the corporate sponsors Shelton's Harley-Davidson of Goldsboro, Cycle Gear of Raleigh, Open Road Biker Gear of Goldsboro, and Team Power Sports of Garner. They'll also hold a 50/50 raffle at the end of the ride, which will conclude at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center.

All proceeds will be donated to the NCFFF. For more information, contact Paul at 919-418-4530 or "Beast" at 919-921-2552.

+ 1 - 0 | § Vintage Photo - Guilford County Spill Control Unit

This vintage gem was posted to the SPAAMFAA Facebook group last month. From the collection of Scott Mattson, who posted the image. Guilford County Fire Rescue operated this 1958 Chevrolet tanker. Served as an "oil spill control unit." Recall from our prior posting (in 2009!) that the county fire department was created circa 1965, to protect what was called the Greensboro-High Point Regional Airport. Don't know the date of this photo. Maybe late 1960s or early 1970s? Also, wonder what year the airport took over fire protection? Readers can perhaps help there. Click to enlarge:
 


Scott Mattson Collection

+ 0 - 1 | § Cary Firefighters Form Service Organization, Plan Schondelfire Memorial Marathon on Sept. 6

Let's introduce the Bradford's Ordinary Fire Company, a non-profit service organization recently created by a group of Cary firefighters. They're named for the settlement that was created in 1750 and eventually developed into the town of Cary. Their purpose is simple: doing great things for others. They have a Facebook group and have announced their first event, the 2015 Schondelfire Station Tour Memorial Marathon on Saturday, September 6.

Cary Fire Department Captain and Swift Creek Firefighter Jon F Schondelmayer died on December 18, 2013, after feeling ill while working at the Swift Creek fire station. He went home at lunch to get some medicine and was soon found unresponsive by a Swift Creek firefighter sent to check on him. He was forty-four years old, and a nineteen-year veteran of the Cary Fire Department. Read prior blog post.

The Memorial Marathon spans the entire town, with participants visiting each of the town's eight fire stations. (That's 26.2 miles, with a half marathon option of 14.1 miles.) Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase gifts that promote healthy and active lifestyles to help prolong the lives of needy children. The gifts will be presented during the holiday season, during the town's Interact program that contacts families directly and awards gifts to them individual.

This inaugural event is limited to seventy-people. The registration period is open from August 1 to August 12. See this Facebook event posting for more information, including their e-mail address.
 

+ 1 - 0 | § Monster Wrecker From Fayetteville

Photographer Lee Wilson found this monster wrecker on Sunday passing through Fayetteville. Dual front axles and forward-facing boom. Holy cow!

Operated by AAA Towing and Recovery. See their Facebook page for pics of the truck working. Here are larger versions of this photo and a second shot by Lee.
 


Lee Wilson photo


AAA Towing and Recovery photos

+ 0 - 1 | § Burlington's 1940 Diamond T/Oren Pumper... And a Mystery

Last month, Yours Truly had the privilege of photographing the Thomas Herman Collection. That's a treasure trove of antique fire engines, fire equipment, and fire memorabilia at the home of the legendary collector (and firefighter) of Chesapeake County, VA. (The occasion was a visiting photography group from that area.) See Mike's photos on Flickr.

Herman is an expert on Oren fire apparatus and has spent much of life researching and documenting the company's history. (His excellent book Oren Fire Apparatus Photo Archive was published by Iconografix in 2010.) His collection includes a number of engines built by the Oren Fire Apparatus Company of Roanoke, VA.1

Most of the trucks in his collection served in Virginia. One is from North Carolina, this 1940 Diamond T/Oren (500/200) originally delivered to the Burlington Fire Department.
 

 
See more photos of this beauty. The truck also appeared in this Oren advertisement from the July 1944 issue of Fire Engineering. Click to enlarge:
  

 
What's the history of the truck during it's service in Burlington? Did the truck even have an extended history in Burlington? One curiosity has presented itself. The truck is missing from the summary fire department information included in the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1945 and 1952. Look at these exercepts below. Click to enlarge:
 

 
Explanations? Was the truck no longer in the department's possession by 1945, perhaps loaned or sold? Though that doesn't make much sense. Why would they dispose of a such a new truck? Had the thing had an accident and was beyond the capacity of the town to repair? Was it needed for the war effort, and transferred to another fire department (or location needing fire protection)? Another option is an error on the part of the Sanborn Map company. Could happen.

Most curious. Maybe readers can help here.

1The company was a division of the Roanoke Welding and Equipment Company, which originated as an auto repair and welding shop opened in 1917 by Oren D. Lemon. They built their first fire truck in 1934. They began building custom chassis apparatus in the late 1940s, using a custom conventional chassis built for them by Corbitt, based in Henderson, NC. (After that company folded in 1954, they switched to an identical-looking Duplex chassis.) Their first cab-forward custom trucks were introduced in the early 1960s. In 1961, the then-named Oren Roanoke Corporation was purchased by Howe Fire Apparatus. In 1976, Oren and Howe were purchased by Grumman. But by the mid-1980s, both of the brand names were no longer affixed to newly produced apparatus.

Sources:

+ 3 - 0 | § Ca-Vel Fire Departments of Stanly and Person Counties

Found this vintage fire apparatus photo in Thomas Herman's book Oren Fire Apparatus Photo Archive (Iconografix, 2010). Gorgeous 1947 General Motors/Oren pumper, serial number 500 A-979. Delivered to the Collins & Aikman textile plant in Norwood, NC. That's in Stanly County, south of Albemarle.

The author's caption notes that the overhead rack housed a wooden Bangor ladder and a pair of booster reels were mounted in the back, behind the rear wheels. The truck presently privately owned, the author adds. It still resides in Norwood. Click to enlarge:
 


 

Collins & Aikman operated other plants in North Carolina, including in Farmville and Roxboro. We've blogged before about the latter location and in context of the Ca-Vel Fire Department. Or CA-Vel, depending upon your spelling. The plant was located three miles north of town.

The Ca-Vel Fire Department was listed in the rosters of the North Carolina State Fireman's Association from 1938 to 1959. They're mentioned in newspaper articles in the 1940s as assisting Roxboro firefighters.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1943 showed a one-story fire station building on the northeast corner of the property. Their equipment was listed as a Ford/General pumper, 300 GPM, 80 gallons, with 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose. The address of the fire station was 910 County Road, presently named North Main Street. Click to enlarge:
 

 
The building's no longer there, but a nearby structure looks a bit like a former fire station. (Okay, maybe that's a stretch.) This two-story section of the plant building has two former garage bays facing north. (Maybe, very maybe, a second location for the plant's fire department?) Click to enlarge:
  

 
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the 1943 map and a present-day aerial view. (Person County GIS is the source for the latter.) Click to enlarge:
  

 
Perhaps readers can assist with more history about Ca-Val fire departments in both Person and Stanly counties.

+ 2 - 0 | § Social Media Workshops at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo

Counting down to the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo in Raleigh, which starts in ten days with a two-day golf tournament on Monday, August 10. See this Schedule at a Glance.

Conference workshops start on Friday, August 14. Yours Truly will be co-presenting at one of two social media workshops that afternoon. The other one's is that morning. Here's the skinny on both:

How much to attend these classes? Full conference registration is $70 for NCSFA members or $100 for non-members. (And this year there's a bonus for full conference registrants. Special show floor preview on Thursday night, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

Want to visit the show floor only, with no access to the workshops? On Friday, the "show only" passes are $35.00 each and good for two days. On Saturday, the "show only" passes are $20.

(And while you're walking on the Mezzanine Level of the Raleigh Convention Center, watch for the Raleigh Fire Museum's booth. Yours Truly will be there as well. We're also selling new fire department challenge coins. More on that later.)

Register for SAFRE

+ 3 - 1 | § Memorial Service for Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville, Thursday, July 30

This announcement was shared to public safety personnel this week. Memorial service tomorrow night for recently deceased Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know, we lost Paramedic Donald Fonville, unexpectedly, on July 4th. The precepts of his faith required burial within 24 hours, so many who knew him and wished to pay their respects did not have the opportunity to do.

Accordingly, the Durham County EMS family has planned a memorial service to remember Donald as our brother and a member of the Durham County health care and public safety families. This will be a non-denominational event. It will be held at Clements Funeral Service, 1105 Broad Street, Durham, North Carolina, at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Friends, colleagues, and others who wish to remember Donald are invited to attend.

Attire will be dress uniform for public safety personnel, business or business casual for others.

Chiefs of allied law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies are asked to give this invitation the widest possible dissemination throughout their organizations.

Please come and join us as we remember our departed brother.

Thank you.

SKIP KIRKWOOD, M.S., J.D., NREMT-P, EFO, CEMSO | DIRECTOR • CHIEF PARAMEDIC

+ 3 - 1 | § Providence Fire Department Ceases Service

July 28
As reported in these stories from WBTV, WCCB, WSCO, and WNCN, today is the last day of operation for Providence Volunteer Fire Department in Union County. The department has protected the town of Weddington and surrounding area since 1961. Town officials cancelled their contract with PFD in April, which we originally blogged about (see below). Wesley Chapel Fire Department will begin contracted protection today.

Planned for tonight is a closing ceremony at 10:45 p.m. The flag at the fire station will be lowered and Fire Chief Kenny Schott will make remarks. At midnight, the fire apparatus will depart. They'll turn left onto Weddington-Matthews Road, turn right at the Seminary, and turn right onto Chestnut Street. The public is invited to the event. Attendees are requested to arrive at the station no later than 10:30 p.m.
 

 
The fire department and the town are also engaged in a legal battle. PVFD has filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming breach of contract. (They were two years into the ten-year agreement.) On Monday, Union County Superior Court granted PVFD a temporary restraining order until the trail. That prevents the town from selling the fire station building.

Here's a picture of the station today, as well some great historical views of their original apparatus. Check out that home-built 4x4 mini tanker! All images are from the PVFD Facebook page. Click to enlarge:
 

April 30
Originally titled Union County Town to Terminate Contract with County Fire Department

As reported by WBTV and WNCN this week, the town of Weddington in Union County voted to transfer its contracted fire protection from the Providence Fire Department to the Wesley Chapel Fire Department.

Town officials cited financial reasons as the reasons for the decision. They've been worried about PFD's ability to sustain itself. The date of the termination has not been decided. The plan will see the Providence fire station occupied by Wesley Chapel firefighters.

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+ 1 - 1 | § NC ANG Firefighter Dies at Firehouse in Stanly County

North Carolina Air National Guard Firefighter Capt. James Alan "Truck" Hicks, 44, was found dead on Monday morning at Station 27, at the Stanly County Airport. He was discovered at 7:30 a.m., lying on a sofa in his sleeping quarters, reports this Stanly News & Press story. His passing is being treated as a line-of-duty death, as it occurred within twelve hours of firefighting activities. 

Hicks was among the firefighters who answered as mutual aid to Bethany Volunteer Fire Department, a house fire on Kemp Road at 7:40 p.m. on Sunday. Reports this WBTV story, Hicks and a second firefighter took a tanker to the scene. They both then assisted with interior firefighting. Crews were eventually withdrawn as "conditions inside became too dangerous."

He became sickened at the scene and displayed "nausea and vomiting." (Described as heat exhaustion in other stories.) He reported feeling better about an hour later. Upon returning to their quarters, the two firefighters "went to bed."

Hicks lived in Cabarrus County. He had been a firefighter with Station 27 since July 2010. He's the first member of NC ANG Fire Emergency Services to die in the line of duty.  (Four NC ANG airmen died in 2012, when their 145th Airlift Wing airborne tanker crashed while finding a woodland fire in South Dakota.)

Believe this is the second in Stanly County's history, following the death of East Side Fire Department volunteer firefighter Grady Mill in a motor-vehicle accident on May 1, 1965.

This tribute banner is making the rounds on Facebook. Creator credit TBD:
 


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Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros