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Exciting Recent Posts

An Act to Incorporate the Salem Fire Company, 1869
Bessemer and 10-A Fire Departments, via Vintage Sanborn Maps
Chapel Hill Fire Stations via Sanborn Maps - 1911 to 1945 (1 comment)
Given One Day for Using Profane and Disrespectful Language to a Superior Officer (2 comments)
Updated - Fuel Truck vs. Fire Engine in Wilmington - 1959 (1 comment)
City Firefighters in City Directory, 1963
Latest Version of Raleigh Fire Station Map (3 comments)
There Were Noodles Everywhere... The Horror, The Horror...
Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter - Winter 2015 (4 comments)
Vintage Beacon Ambulance Photos (1 comment)
Youngsville's New Ladder
Wake County EMS Adds District 7 (2 comments)
Rescue 1, Squad 7, and Other Changes in Raleigh (3 comments)
This Morning's Apparatus Accident in Orange County
Henderson County Firefighters Injured After Engine Overturns
Fairgrounds Tanker Overturns, 1985 - And Some History... (3 comments)
Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - January 15, 2015
Garner is Hiring for Full-Time Firefighters
This Week's Working Fires (1 comment)
Mecklenburg County Fire Prevention Van - 1970

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Legeros (Chapel Hill Fire …): Here are the Sanborn Map summaries of the fire de…
Legeros (Given One Day for…): Excellent input! That’s a couple decades later th…
AP (Given One Day for…): Hey Mike, I once worked with now retired Captai…
Legeros (Raleigh Fire Depa…): By way of contextual explanation, given the regul…
Rescue Ranger (Raleigh Fire Depa…): @Interested – follow the link, click on “Fire & E…
Legeros (Raleigh Fire Depa…): The Raleigh Fire Department anticipates recruitin…
Interested (Raleigh Fire Depa…): Are there plans to run another academy in 2015?
Legeros (Latest Version of…): And here’s an “all in one” annexation history map…
Legeros (Latest Version of…): Greg, thanks for your question. Those are unincor…
Greg L (Latest Version of…): Question, as i look at the station map, i see lot…
Chris Nelson (Fuel Truck vs. Fi…): Hey Mike, interesting note on this wreck. Firefig…
Double Check (New Raleigh Haz-M…): ^^^Gotta check those post dates!!
Legeros (Rescue 1, Squad 7…): Paul, there’s a story about this in the new RFD n…
Legeros (New Raleigh Haz-M…): So far so good! The truck’s been going strong for…
L55 (New Raleigh Haz-M…): Does not look like a professionally built unit. H…
Marcus (Fairgrounds Tanke…): @jeff, you are correct in your statement. I belie…
Grizzle Medic (Vintage Beacon Am…): L to R; #16, #6, and #7. There was a fourth raise…
jeff (Fairgrounds Tanke…): Didn’t a Wake-New Hope truck overturn on US-401 a…
EMS (Wake County EMS A…): No DC-8?
Fire Hound (Wake County EMS A…): DC-9 is stationed at Garner Fire Station 4. The d…
Paul (Rescue 1, Squad 7…): So what’s the rational behind this? Seems like ev…
Legeros (Rescue 1, Squad 7…): Moderator here. Letís try something new with dele…
Legeros (Fairgrounds Tanke…): Left one off the list. Morrisville, around 1979 t…
Lester Latkowski (Old Governor More…): My ex-wife worked there just before the school cl…
Legeros (This Week's Worki…): And the fires keep coming… Fri – 1/9 – Morning …
Val Costanzo (Vintage Air Force…): The Body for these units were built By Oneida Pro…
Don Cullember (1951 Ward LaFranc…): She is a beauty!! Are the still available? Ab…
Legeros (Pinewood Fire Dep…): Thanks Dana. This generated some good discussion …
Chaplain Dana McK… (Pinewood Fire Dep…): Having served private rural fire companies since …
Legeros (Butch Robbins, a …): As it happens, James Edwards “Butch” Robbins pass…
BFD1151 (Pinewood Fire Dep…): The middle engine (E2?) in picture two is a 1980s…
Clay Simmons (Butch Robbins, a …): Really nice story. Wish I could find some old iss…
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Legeros (This Morning's Ap…): Here are four pictures as Tweeted by Chief Billy …
Legeros (This Morning's Ap…): Updated with units that responded, and a few othe…
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Galax, Va (The Bowery Grenad…): Rob, Beat Tattoo was a term used by military and…
Grizzle Medic (Airport EMS Stati…): The airport station (EMS6) was busy, sort of. Mos…
Rob (The Bowery Grenad…): Anyone know what “And the Mulligans beat tattoo” …
Airport EMS (Airport EMS Stati…): It’s interesting that they had a EMS Station near…
A.C. Rich (Help Wanted - Are…): Part-time early 93 to late 96.
PJ (Airport EMS Stati…): One of the aforementioned docks was quite handy f…
Silver (Fire Commission M…): First and foremost, good luck in your retirement!…
Timothy Luther (Help Wanted - Are…): I worked part time for Morrisville FD from 1998 t…
Mike Wallace (Help Wanted - Are…): I worked with Tony Chiotakis, and then Mike Chamb…
Chris Yaroch (Military Surplus …): Anyone know if this truck is still for sale? Any…
Legeros (Corinth Holders N…): Chapel Hill has placed a military surplus 6×6 tra…
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CFD (Groundbreaking fo…): Walnut Street Station (or Station 9) is slated to…
joseph webb (Snorkels in North…): STANTONSBURG MOYTON VOL FIRE DEPT 1979 PEIRCE 85 …
Rescue Ranger (Two Alarms on Roy…): Those I want knowing already know. I have reason…
Legeros (UPDATE #2: Histor…): Hose & Nozzle article from July-August 1973, abou…
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Brandon (Two Alarms on Roy…): “There has been no special training for a squad c…
Burns (Two Alarms on Roy…): I would love to put in my $.02 also, but first “r…
Cary Res (Groundbreaking fo…): how many sq ft is old station 2? just cause of th…

+ 0 - 0 | § An Act to Incorporate the Salem Fire Company, 1869

Let's turn from historic maps to historical legal documents, specifically Private Laws of the State of North Carolina, as passed by the General Assembly during its 1868 to 1869 session. See back in the day, municipalities had to receive legislative authorization to perform certain functions. Such as fire protection. Also, the charters of such fire companies were granted through legislative acts. (Cough, cough, at least that's my minimal understanding of how early towns and cities worked.)

Each session's laws were collected into printed books. Said volumes have been digitized by the state library, with collections dating back to 1817. With but a couple clicks, you download a searchable PDF version the book. Perform a keyword search on "fire company" or "hose company" or "engine company" or "hook and ladder" and you'll information about North Carolina's earliest fire departments. (Yes, Yours Truly is working through these early volumes. Will post collected findings at a future time.)

Here's the legislation that was ratified on January 7, 1869, authorization the incorporation of a fire company for the town of Salem, which decades later became one half of Winston-Salem. Click once or twice to enlarge the pages, or read all three as a PDF document:

+ 0 - 0 | § Bessemer and 10-A Fire Departments, via Vintage Sanborn Maps

Let's take a historical trip to Guilford County, for a pair of former fire department buildings as depicted in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. First is the Bessemer Fire Department in northeast Greensboro. They were formed in the early 1940s and were one of the state's first "rural" fire departments. Others included North Asheboro (by 1945), Guilford College also in Greensboro (1946), Seagate in Wilmington (1946), Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte (1947), Pleasant Garden near Marion (1948), Pinoca in Charlotte (1949), and Sedge Garden in Winston-Salem (1949).

This annotated image from 1948 depicts the one-story fire station on Elwell Avenue, along with a description of the department: Volunteer with a Chief, Asst. Chief, Captain, and 31 men. One "station man" on duty 24 hours. Apparatus is a 1942 Chevrolet/American pumper, 500 GPM, 200 gallons, with 1000-feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and 300-feet of 3/4-inch hose. Alarms are sounded by telephone. Click once or twice to enlarge:

The fire station building is still standing, addressed as 610 Elwell Street. Tax records say it's a one-story concrete block commercial build with 2,674 square-feet. Built 1940 with two additions. Effective year of construction 1970. Records of the deeds show that the parcel was purchased by the Bessemer Sanitary District in 1942, and sold to a private owner in 1957. We might infer that the fire department operated no earlier nor later than those years. (They were listed as members of the North Carolina State Firemen's Association from 1945 through 1958, in annual reports.) Click to enlarge:

Bing Maps / Mike Legeros photos

Next is the 10-A Fire Department in southwest High Point. They operated from 1955 to 1980 and were originally located on Highway 10-A. Sanborn Maps from 1956 describe the department as "for subscribers only", as volunteer with a chief and 25 firemen, two combination pumper, hose, and booster trucks, and fire alarms by telephone. The fire station was a two-story cinderblock building at 1019 Westchester Road. Click to enlarge:

After annexation by the city, the fire department relocated some four miles southwest to 1306 Joe Moore Road. That's in Davidson County, just over the county line. The new station was built in 1961. The fire department was reorganized in 1980 and renamed Hasty Fire Department on September 28, 1980. The department is still operating and from that location. The original station on Westchester Drive is gone, and probably long gone.

+ 0 - 0 | § Chapel Hill Fire Stations via Sanborn Maps - 1911 to 1945

For your Sunday evening historical enjoyment, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map drawings of Chapel Hill fire station locations, from 1911 (hose house), 1915 (one-story fire station), 1925 (two-story fire station), and 1949 1945 (two-story town hall). Those are the map years. Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 0 | § Given One Day for Using Profane and Disrespectful Language to a Superior Officer

Here's the latest addition to my Raleigh Fire Department history site, transcribed personnel records from 1913 to 1941. They originated as a pair of ledger books that long-resided at Station 1. The recorded information including start and stop dates, background and biographic information, and disciplinary actions. The handwritten entries looked something like this:

For the historian, the names and dates are invaluable. For the lay reader, the discipline records are enormously entertaining. Firemen were punished for actions both on- and off-duty. Cursing, fighting, or falling asleep while on "night watch" could cost you a day's pay. Or three days pay. Or outright discharge. Recorded problems of those off-duty including public drunkenness, inappropriate personal relationships, and becoming a "rum runner." Er, that is, being caught while acting as a "rum rummer."1

Yours Truly transcribed both books in late 2004. (Merely took a decade to share this. Sorry.) Syntax and spelling has been preserved. They've been posted as a PDF document that's formatted as electronic book. Includes an index of names, to help locate specific entries.

Read the personnel log (PDF).

1Work schedule you ask? Split shifts, beginning 1914. Day duty was 14 hours, night duty was 10 hours. Plus one day off each week. Firefighters worked every day. Second platoon created in 1924, still split shifts. Firefighters now working every other day. (Twenty four-hour shifts didn't start until 1946.) It's possible that some firemen even lived at the station. City directories into the 1930s list the station address as their residential address. Don't have confirmation of this from other sources, however.

+ 2 - 0 | § Updated - Fuel Truck vs. Fire Engine in Wilmington - 1959

January 24
Here are a couple more photos as passed along from our friends at the Wilmington Fire Department. Click once or twice to enlarge:

Courtesy Wilmington Fire Department

January 1
Cover of a deteriorating copy of Hose & Nozzle magazine, January 1960. Date to be determined, presuming the prior year. Maybe November or December. See more magazine covers (including this one, to be added). Here's the story as printed:

Five Wilmington Firemen Hurt in Crash

A fire truck speeding to answer a pre-dawn alarm at Wilmington, N.C., crashed into an oil tanker loaded with 6,500 gallons of gasoline.

The collision spilled firemen from their perch on the truck and ripped open the oil tanker. Five firemen were injured, including three who were hospitalized. Their injuries were not believed serious.

Almost all of the tanker's load of gasoline poured into the street. Firemen sprayed water on the pavement and then flushed drains for an area four blocks long, running to the Cape Fear River, and two blocks wide.

The fuel was not ignited bu tthe clearing operating lasted about five hours.

The firemen were answering a call at the Cape Fear Hotel.

Injured were Capt. Ellis Eugue Casteen, Burleigh A. Scotton, S. C. Hill, Ray Smith, and Charles Edward Bland.

The driver of the oil truck was not injured.

Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 0 | § City Firefighters in City Directory, 1963

As mentioned prior postings, city directories are superb sources for fire department historical information. Such as personnel names and timeframes of service. Back in the day, the only "searching" of such directories was skimming page by page. Looking across rows upon rows upon rows of names for the occupation "city firefighter" (as were called, at least in Raleigh).

A century's worth of North Carolina city directories were made available online in 2013. Here's that prior posting. Each directory can be downloaded as a single PDF document. They've been converted to "searchable text," so you can easily people names containing "city firefighter" or "fire dept" or "engine co" in their occupation.

Below are Raleigh firefighter names found in the 1963 city directory. Matches were made on the string "city fire." The results were cut 'n' pasted with warts and all. Such as duplicate entries, misspelled entries, and... missing entries. Where's, say, Fire Chief Jack Keeter? His directory entry is:

KEETER JACK B (Blois G) Chief Fire Dept City of Raleigh, 222 S Dawson, Tel TEmple 2-7736, h L-l Country Club Homes, 2508 Fairview rd, Tel TEmple 2-3402

Ergo, no match on "city fire." These listings also contain "funky characters" as a result of the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process.

How closely does this match the actual roster of firefighters that year? Good question. Don't know if the year (1963) represents when the thing was produced (and thus people were queried for their occupations), or when the thing was published (meaning these were firefighters in, say, 1962).

Food for thought. Enjoy the list.


+ 0 - 0 | § Latest Version of Raleigh Fire Station Map

Here's the latest version of my Raleigh fire station map, updated with the latest company and unit changes. See this page for a text list of stations and apparatus. Want an interactive version? See this Raleigh map from the excellent That's the North Carolina-based fire station mapping project. (They've also made maps of Chicago and Atlanta. The former is web-based, the latter is app-based. Next up is Detroit, which is underway.) Anyway, this map is linked from my Raleigh FD information page.

+ 0 - 0 | § There Were Noodles Everywhere... The Horror, The Horror...

This one made national news yesterday. Oodles of Ramen noodles littered the roadway after a transfer truck struck a bridge support on I-95 in Nash County. The Highway 48 bridge to be precise. No injury to the lucky driver. WTVD covered the story as did other local outlets. CNN later picked it up and posted this punny version. Good luck seeing the caption "Big Rig Noodle Hauler" again in your lifetime. Heavy equipment was required to clear the highway, which was closed for six hours. Front loader and backhoe. See the WRAL story for those pics, plus a nifty aerial view of the prepackaged causalities. Loved Ramen in college, still love them today.  

WTVD/Jim Schumacher photo

+ 0 - 0 | § Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter - Winter 2015

Let's go old school with the quarterly Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter. The winter 2015 issue has been posted to Contents include features on the Priority Inspection Program, the recent ISO evaluation, a building collapse on Blount Street, a two-alarm fire on Generation Drive, facility and apparatus updates, and more. The newsletter is a quarterly publication for personnel, retirees, and citizens. Read the new issue (PDF).

+ 2 - 1 | § Vintage Beacon Ambulance Photos

Here are a pair of vintage photos of Beacon Ambulance Service in Raleigh. Snapped from a pair of snapshots some months ago. Readers can provide details on who, what, where, and when. See more vintage images of Beacon in this photo album on the History of EMS in Wake County Facebook page. Read about the history of Beacon on my EMS history page. Click to enlarge:


+ 0 - 0 | § Youngsville's New Ladder

The Youngsville Fire Department in Franklin County is receiving this Pierce Arrow XT aerial tower this week. The 100-foot rear-mount platform arrives on Monday after appearing at the Piedmont Fire Expo in Winston-Salem this weekend. It's the first aerial apparatus for the department. See larger version of this factory photo.

+ 0 - 1 | § Wake County EMS Adds District 7

District Chief 7 was placed in service today at the Garner East EMS station, e.g Garner Fire Station 4 on Spaceway Drive. The Wake County EMS paramedic unit is a full-fledged response unit. The District Chiefs also function in a supervisor capacity, and have a variety of additional administrative responsibilities. Chief Kev today is driving a Suburban, which is a temporary truck until the new Expedition is ready. Here's a Facebook posting from WCEMS with more information a couple more photos.

Where are the other District Chiefs located? Here's the list, though they don't have designate response areas. These are their "base stations" and they respond as closest unit via automatic unit location via GPS.

District 1 Downtown 331 S. McDowell Street Raleigh Wake County Public Safety Center
District 2 Fairview East (?) 4500 Ten-Ten Road Apex Fairview FD Station 1
District 3 Durant 10000 Durant Road Raleigh  
District 4 Six Forks Main 1431 Lynn Road Raleigh Bay Leaf FD Station 3
District 5 Cary Main 107 Medcon Court Cary  
District 6 Wendell Main 401 E. Third Street Wendell  
District 7 Garner East 125 Spaceway Court Garner Garner FD Station 4
District 9 ? 107 Sunnbrook Road, Raleigh WakeBrook Campus, staffed 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Advanced Practice Paramedic Supervisor.
District 10 n/a n/a n/a

Special Event District Chief, placed in service at
such things as the State Fair.

And here's a map. Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 1 | § Rescue 1, Squad 7, and Other Changes in Raleigh

Effective 0800 tomorrow Friday, January 16, a number of apparatus and company changes are being implemented in Raleigh, notable for Special Operations Command (SOC) companies and units:

The tractor-drawn trench rescue unit staffed by Squad 15 will move to Station 17. It will be staffed by Ladder 3. As you can probably gather, the other units are being moved with crews fully or nearly intact. 



+ 1 - 2 | § This Morning's Apparatus Accident in Orange County

Also this morning, Orange Rural Fire Department Engine 232 overturned on Phelps Road at Mason Keyon Road. (Or was that Engine 233, a 2000 KME pumper-tanker?) It was responding to a motor-vehicle accident. The accident occurred less than a mile from Station 2, which is located at 835 Phelps Road. There were no injuries to the firefighters aboard. Watch WRAL video report. Click to enlarge the bottom photo:

John Cox/WRAL photo

Austin Hall/WTVD  photos

+ 0 - 2 | § Henderson County Firefighters Injured After Engine Overturns

Two Henderson County firefighters were injured this morning when their American LaFrance pumper overturned and rolled down an embankment. The Mountain Home Fire Department engine was responding to a vehicle accident in Carriage Park. That's a private development off Haywood Road (Highway 191). While en route, the engine left the roadway on Carriage Park Way just after 8:00 a.m.

Lt. Matt Brackett was transported to Mission Hospital in Asheville with a broken collarbone and internal injuries. He's reported in stable condition. Engineer Rich Hodge was transported to Pardee Hospital and was treated and released. Also injured at the scene after falling on ice was firefighter Matthew Tweed. He was also treated and released from Pardee.

The accident was blamed on icy and foggy conditions. See stories from WLOS and  WYFF for more information including photos and video. Click to enlarge:

WYFF images (original credit not indicated)

Jeremy Cress photos, via Jaclyn DeAugusto/WLOS via Twitter

+ 0 - 0 | § Fairgrounds Tanker Overturns, 1985 - And Some History...

From the archives of the News & Observer, by way of the North Carolina State Archives, come a pair of photos from November 11, 1985. They were taken by Gregory Wiggs, one of two photographers on the scene. Fairgrounds Fire Department Tanker 197 (correct number?) overturned on Blue Ridge Road. The truck was built by Atlas on a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis. What was the model year?

The next day's newspaper ran the picture on the right with this caption:

"Two truck operators attach a chain to a fire truck that had flipped on Blue Ridge Road near the entrance to the N.C. Museum of Art. The Fairgrounds Rural Fire Department truck was extensively damaged Saturday when it hit a curb and flipped after swerving to avoid a small car that had made a U-turn in its path, Raleigh police and witnesses said. The driver of the fire truck, Richard Ernest [Will], 21, of 3616 Blueberry Drive, was treated at Rex Hospital and released. The driver of the car was being sought, police said."

Click to enlarge:

News & Observer photos

Looking across the decades, there have been a number of other apparatus "rollovers" in Raleigh and Wake County. Two have resulted in line-of-deaths, the first for both the Cary and Raleigh fire departments. The most prominent, a tiller accident in 2009, resulted in national awareness of apparatus safety as well as specialized training programs for tiller operators.

The historical list includes:

+ 1 - 1 | § Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - January 15, 2015

The next meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission is Thursday, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive. The documents for the meeting are linked below.



Agenda packet (PDF)

+ 1 - 1 | § Garner is Hiring for Full-Time Firefighters

Garner Fire Rescue is hiring for full-time firefighters. Salary is $30,400. Applicants must be 21 by March 1, 2015, and possess certifications for NC Firefighter Level II, NC EMT, NIMS levels, NC Haz-Mat Ops, plus TR and VMR completed within twelve months of employment. See the application packet for more information. Application period closes at noon on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. Both the job announcement and application packet are available on the Employment page of the department's web site. Good luck!

+ 2 - 0 | § This Week's Working Fires

The colder weather has seen a spike in working structure fires since Monday. Around Raleigh, Durham, and Wake County, they've included the following, which are single-family frame dwellings unless otherwise noted:

Readers are welcome to add additional incidents, or details to the above fires.

Stay warm and roll those tankers!

+ 3 - 0 | § Mecklenburg County Fire Prevention Van - 1970

From Hose & Nozzle magaine, September-October 1970, here's the picture and story of a "shiny red step van" donated to Mecklenburg County by the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Charlotte. The unit would be used to "storge and transport equipment [that] firemen use in giving fire prevention programs." Click to enlarge:

+ 2 - 1 | § Montage of Station 29 Construction Photos

The city's newest fire station continues its construction at 12117 Leesville Road. Completion is expected in late February. Here's a montage of six construction photos, from August 31 to January 4. See more photos. Or read this prior posting and discussion therein. Click to enlarge:


Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros