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Exciting Recent Posts

February's Working Fires (1 comment)
Biltmore Fire Departments - A Short History
The Curious Case of Spring Lake's American LaFrance Aerial Ladder
Vintage Photos of Westarea's Ford/Atlas Pumpers (4 comments)
Friday's Major House Fire with Fourteen Fire Departments (7 comments)
Vintage Photo of Bethesda Chief's Buggy
Vintage Photo of Raleigh's GMC Service Truck
Reader Question: Why Should Taxpayers Support Continued Funding Fire Departments with Fewer Calls? (18 comments)
Run Numbers For 2014 (11 comments)
Durham County Adding Sprinter Ambulances
Raleigh Firemen Who Lived at the Fire Station
Durham Adds Auxiliary Trucks - Fire Engineering, 1942 (1 comment)
UPDATED: Butch Robbins, a Unique Firefighter From Sharpsburg, 1976 (2 comments)
UPDATED: Raleigh's New Air Truck in Production (2 comments)
North Carolina Fire Dept and Fire Protection Laws - 1820 to 1924
Old Photo of Old Tanker - Archer Lodge, Formerly Wendell (1 comment)
No More Anonymous Comments on WRAL News Stories
Car vs. Hospital in Rocky Mount
Morrisville Brush Truck Struck by Train, 1985
Raleigh's Open Data Portal / Parsing Last Year's Fire Data (2 comments)

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J.J Gittes (Reader Question: …): Chris, real estate records only show property own…
Chris (Reader Question: …): All of these comments bring forward many good poi…
looking out (Reader Question: …): To Standards, That may be the minimum “required”…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Good questions, Standards. One thing that’s a fac…
Standards (Reader Question: …): Duda, Just like Mr. Legeros said excellent perspe…
FV (Friday's Major Ho…): Fuquay Battalion 1 had safety on side Charlie.
fire1983 (Friday's Major Ho…): I don’t think CFD E4 responded.
fire1983 (Vintage Photos of…): I think Pilot FD in Franklin Co. had or has a bla…
BFD1151 (Vintage Photos of…): Just thought of two in-service trucks in the west…
Bob (Vintage Beacon Am…): The MVA involving Beacon 7 was at the intersectio…
Delivery Photo (Vintage Photos of…): Nice looking!
BFD1151 (Vintage Photos of…): Mill Spring in Polk County just got a brand new I…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Duda, excellent perspective!
Legeros (Friday's Major Ho…): Chris, the IC requested “two Raleigh engines” and…
Chris (Friday's Major Ho…): Does RFD dispatch closest engine(s) when they are…
911 (Friday's Major Ho…): @Rescue Ranger. Yea if you could get a truck to i…
Duda (Reader Question: …): One thing I didn’t see addressed is that Wake Cou…
Rescue Ranger (Friday's Major Ho…): Looks like a heck of a water supply a mere 50 fee…
D.Cates (Friday's Major Ho…): Add Eastern Wake Pumper 1 to Garner #4 for covera…
Trey Byrd (Run Numbers For 2…): Zebulon ran 1,492 for 2014
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Another piece to this puzzle is that there isnít …
Mullen (Reader Question: …): Itís an interesting argument. The only problem is…
Jones (Reader Question: …): To explore Scooter’s point, an interesting spread…
Olson (Run Numbers For 2…): The Wake County EMS system generated 89755 report…
Schultz (Reader Question: …): Primarily, when we consider fire coverage, we hav…
A. Byrd (Reader Question: …): I would like to tack on to D. Mckays post: if you…
Scooter (Reader Question: …): To me a valid question to ask on this is how many…
D. McKay (Reader Question: …): I have a question for the original poster: if “on…
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Mark (Reader Question: …): Most fire department calls in this day and age ar…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Thanks for responding, David. But we probably sh…
Sasser (Reader Question: …): A good question, and often times an inflammatory …
Jeanne Plausen (Run Numbers For 2…): As a Wake County resident and taxpayer, why shoul…
Sasser (Run Numbers For 2…): Chapel Hill Fire-Rescue Incident and Unit Respons…
D McKay (Run Numbers For 2…): www.johnstonnc.com/mainpage.cfm?c.. Here…
FVFD (Run Numbers For 2…): Fuquay Fire, 3470 for 2014. 1289 fire calls and 2…
FF8 (Run Numbers For 2…): Fairview – 1328 calls for 2014
Juan (Run Numbers For 2…): 29,400 overall for Fayetteville Fire Department i…
Swiman (Run Numbers For 2…): Wake Forest Fire, 2950 total calls for 2014
DHFD (Run Numbers For 2…): Durham Highway: 756
Juan (Run Numbers For 2…): Fayetteville run numbers by station-individual un…
DJ (Durham Adds Auxil…): The biggest change I have seen from DFD to GVFD t…
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jboggs (Raleigh's Open Da…): It has been a while, I would note that items 2,3,…
Jon Butner (Old Photo of Old …): What is interesting is how far fire apparatus has…
BFD1151 (Old Engine 4 and …): Winston-Salem Station 8 and 9 are similar in appe…
Legeros (Raleigh's Open Da…): Building fires in 2014, highest to lowest totals …
Legeros (Dawson and Lane S…): Here’s another page with information about the bu…
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john (Best Recruit Acad…): Also, you aught to ride to the academy sometime i…
john (Best Recruit Acad…): Yes Charlotte has outpaced Raleigh in growth of b…
D.Cates (Vintage Slides of…): For Parkwood that is actually a tanker, which was…
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Legeros (Old Engine 4 and …): Two more submitted by readers, for the second lis…


+ 0 - 0 | § February's Working Fires

The month of February saw quite a few working fires in the Capital City. By my tally, they were:
 

  Date Address Structure First Arriving Notes
1 Feb. 3 717 Merrywood Drive Duplex Engine 3  
2 Feb. 5 3200 Verdugo Drive House Engine 10  
3 Feb. 6 1018 Early Rise Street House Engine 10  See photos.
4 Feb. 6 3105 Julian Drive House Engine 11  See photos.
5 Feb. 7 109 Pineland Circle House Squad 14  See photos.
6 Feb. 16 5933 Carmel Lane House Engine 15  Originally as fire alarm.
7 Feb. 17 5105 Country Trail Leesville Community Library Engine 23  Originally as fire alarm.
8 Feb. 19 7650 Pangea Lane Apartments Engine 22  
9 Feb. 20 3856 Cane Garden Drive House Engine 26  
10 Feb. 21 3312 Atlantic Avenue Duplex Engine 11  
11 Feb. 21 2320 Clark Avenue Apartments Engine 5  
12 Feb. 22 1201 S. East Street Apartments Engine 3  
13 Feb. 22 701 Gannet Street Former nursery, now dwelling Engine 8  Originally as smoke investigation.
See photos.
14 Feb. 26 119 Lord Ashley Road House Squad 14  Originally as fire alarm.
See photos.
15 Feb. 26 6204 Dresden Lane House Engine 16  
16 Feb. 27 8249 Marshall Brae Drive Dwelling Engine 28  

January was busy also, with thirteen working fires by my count. December was fewer, as were prior months. Don't have counts, alas.

March has started strong, with two today (so far).

+ 0 - 0 | § Biltmore Fire Departments - A Short History

Let’s take a trip to Asheville, for a historical perspective on the Biltmore fire departments of yore. We'll start with fire protection at George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, which was completed in 1895. The property was protected by various types of fire equipment, including fire hydrants with hose and fire apparatus. Though the Biltmore House has never caught fire, smaller buildings on the estate burned in early decades.

In 1903, a fire department was organized at nearby Biltmore Village. The Biltmore Fire Department protected both the estate and the village until 1929. They operated hand and motor apparatus including a 1926 Ahrens Fox triple combination pumper. That year, the village was annexed the city, and Asheville Fire Station 5 opened at the former Biltmore Village fire station.

Also that decade, the town of Biltmore Forest was charted in 1923. The planned residential community was developed from some 1,500 acres of estate property. The Biltmore Forest Fire Department operated with combination firemen and police officers, as well as volunteer firemen. They had a single combination fire and police station and five pieces of apparatus over the decades until they ceased operation in 1995. The town contracted with the Asheville Fire Department until 2013, and then the Skyland Fire Department, which completed a new fire station near the town in 2014.

That's the abstract, now read the research notes. Twenty pages of historical details. And pictures! They're located at legeros.com/history/biltmore.
 

+ 1 - 0 | § The Curious Case of Spring Lake's American LaFrance Aerial Ladder

Here's the strangest thing you'll see this week, a 1949 American LaFrance 700 (or 800?) Series 100-foot aerial ladder with a tag axle added. Served Spring Lake Fire Department by the late 1980s and early 1990s. Top picture by Jeff Harkey is circa 1990. Bottom photos by Lee Wilson is dated July 12, 1991. (By that time, the truck was out of service and had been replaced with a 1968 Young Crusader Snorkel that formerly served Henrietta, NY.)

The tag axle and rear body work are aftermarket and probably done during a refurbishing. Might've been added to help with braking. Might've been added to help with weight restrictions. Maybe readers know more! Also a mystery is the truck's origin. Most likely served another city (or even two) before arriving at Spring Lake. Click to enlarge:
 


Jeff Harkey photo




Lee Wilson photos

+ 0 - 0 | § Vintage Photos of Westarea's Ford/Atlas Pumpers

Here's another trip back in time, a pair of Ford/Atlas pumpers that served the Westarea Fire Department in Cumberland County. Engine 102 (later 1032, later 2032) was a 1982 Ford/Atlas in black and Engine 152 (later 1532) was a 1984 Ford/Atlas in red. The black truck was photographed by Jeff Harkey, circa 1990. The red truck was photographed by Lee Wilson on July 7, 1991. What other all-black rigs have served in North Carolina? Click to enlarge:
 


Jeff Harkey photo


Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Friday's Major House Fire with Fourteen Fire Departments

Fourteen fire departments from Wake County (and one from Johnston County) battled a major house fire in southern Wake County on Friday. Though the structure was of "ordinary size", there were numerous challenges ranging from roadway access to water supply to building construction. Here are some notes on the incident:

Run Card

Departments and Units:

  1. Apex E4
  2. Bay Leaf Tanker 127, Tanker 257 (believe they were both diverted for coverage)
  3. Cary E4, E6, R2
  4. Cleveland E3
  5. Durham Highway P2
  6. Fairview E3, E2, E1, Tanker 6, Tanker 7, R1, C1
  7. Fuquay-Varina E4, Tanker 1
  8. Garner E9, E3, Tanker 12, B1
  9. Holly Springs E3
  10. Raleigh E13, L8, B2
  11. Morrisville E3
  12. Stony Hill Tanker 268
  13. Swift Creek Tanker 2
  14. Wake Forest Tanker 2

Plus Wake County Fire Services, Wake County Emergency Management.

Coverage

Water Supply / Hose Lines

Here's "interpretative map" based on observations at the end of the incident, along with some phone photos. Pictures from my cameras will take another day or two to be posted. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Vintage Photo of Bethesda Chief's Buggy

Here's another blast from the past, a sharp-looking Chevy chief's buggy of the Bethesda Volunteer Fire Company in Durham County. Love those Hot Wheels wheels! Photo by Jeff Harkey, circa 1990 or abouts.

The van was purchased when R. H. Ballard was Fire Chief. He was fond of driving vans and drove one for many years as his personal vehicle. When the department decided to purchase a car for chief's use, a van was the natural choice. This was replaced in/around 1994 with a Ford Excursion. The van remained in reserve as a utility vehicle or, on occasion, as the chief's buggy.

Another bit of history: this vehicle was also involved in an accident on South Miami Boulevard in the mid-1980s. Chief Ballard was driving ahead of Engine 1 to a fire alarm activation. When a building fire was reported elsewhere in the district, the Chief made a sudden u-turn to respond. His van was t-boned by the trailing Bethesda engine. The vehicle was repaired by combining the remains of the original with the rear half of another Chevy van. Click to enlarge:
 


Jeff Harkey photo

+ 0 - 0 | § Vintage Photo of Raleigh's GMC Service Truck

Bought this on eBay, color slide of the city's 1964 GMC service truck. Photographed in October 1982 by Joel Woods. Served as Truck 6, Truck 16, Truck 8, Truck 15, and as a reserve. Chassis cost $3,270.56. Purchased in January 1964. With body and maybe equipment, cost $5,229.00. The body was probably constructed by Alexander Welding. Was placed in service as Truck 6 at Station 6 on February 8, 1965. Click to enlarge:
 


Joel Woods photo

 
There were three "modern service trucks" operated in Raleigh. The first was a 1963 Ford with a 1922 American LaFrance ladder bed. The chassis was wrecked in 1979 (see picture and another picture) and replaced with a 1980 Ford chassis. The second is listed above. The third was a 1971 Chevrolet. They were used in the city through the mid-eighties. Read about those trucks in my apparatus registry. Click to enlarge these photos. Top are the Fords, bottom is the Chevy:
 


News & Observer, Jeff Harkey (x2), Lee Wilson

+ 1 - 0 | § Reader Question: Why Should Taxpayers Support Continued Funding Fire Departments with Fewer Calls?

This reader question was posted to yesterday's run numbers thread and asks a great question about support for funding of fire departments with low(er) run numbers:

As a Wake County resident and taxpayer, why should I support continuing to fund a fire department that only runs 756 calls a year? Wouldn’t it make more logical (and fiscal) sense to let Raleigh or some other neighboring department handle there area? Just seems like a waste of resources from a laymen’s perspective.
Jeanne Palusen - 02/19/15

Let's post the responses over here instead over there, and leverage an excellent opportunity for public information and educaiton. And maybe some good discussion. We'll keep the other thread open for more run number postings.

+ 1 - 0 | § Run Numbers For 2014

Below are the calls and unit responses (runs) for Raleigh and Cary fire departments, plus runs for Western Wake. See also this prior posting about incident data and fire station first due call totals in Raleigh.
  

Raleigh   Cary Other Departments
37,507 calls
56,546 unit responses

E1 - 1842
E2 - 1717
E3 - 2696
E4 - 1234
E5 - 1261
E6 - 1228
E7 - 1935
E8 - 1861
E9 - 1529
E10 - 1636
E11 - 2303
E12 - 2391
E13 - 1337
Sq14 - 1639
Sq15 - 2334
E16 - 1664
E17 - 1309
E18 - 1117
E19 - 2101
E20 - 1536
E21 - 1363
E22 - 1269
E23 - 1021
E24 - 782
E25 - 759
E26 - 900
E27 - 637
E28 - 604

Top Ten

E3 - 2696
E12 - 2391
Sq15 - 2334
E11 - 2303
E19 - 2101
E7 - 1935
E8 - 1861
E1 - 1842
E2 - 1717
E16 - 1664
L1 - 973
L2 - 2012
L3 - 980
L4 - 2120
L5 - 970
L6 - 455
L7 - 987
L8 - 541

R1 - 1057

B1 - 461
B2 - 605
B3 - 521
B4 - 299
B5 - 763

Air 1 - 142

Haz-Mat 1 - 78
Haz-Mat 2 - 83
Haz-Mat 3 - 51

C20 (Div Chief) - 142
C401 (Investigator) - 217
C420 (Platoon Deputy
Fire Marshal) - 993
8,446 calls
16,206 unit responses
(total of below)
 
E1 - 1086
E2 - 1323
E3 - 1658
E4 - 1128
E5 - 1038
E6 - 683
E7 - 671
E8 - 608
 
L1 - 793
L3 - 1093
L5 - 815
L6 - 383
 
R2 - 1209
R4 - 984
R7 - 457
 
B1 - 1190
B2 - 1087

Durham Highway
756 calls

Fairview
1328 calls

Fuquay-Varina
3470 calls
1289 fire calls
2181 EMS calls

Wake Forest
2950 calls

Wake New Hope
1762 calls

Western Wake
613 calls

Wake County EMS
89,755 calls

Chapel Hill
4486 incidents
See comments for details

Fayetteville
29,400 calls
See comments for details

Send or post yours to be added!

See more Raleigh run number data (PDF)    

+ 6 - 0 | § Durham County Adding Sprinter Ambulances

From the Durham County EMS Facebook page, comes an announcement about (and a photo of) their newest ambulances. The new Demers MX152's are built on a low-maintenance, fuel-efficient Sprinter chassis and designed to provide enhanced safety and comfort for both patients and paramedics. Final inspections are underway at the factory. The seven ambulances are due the first week in March. See also this posting from Rescue Vehicle News.

+ 1 - 1 | § Raleigh Firemen Who Lived at the Fire Station

Last month we presented a list of Raleigh firefighter names as listed in the Raleigh City Directory of 1963. Let's look at some other city directory voumes, for names of some firemen who lived at the fire station:

Wait, firemen lived at the fire station? As in, their primary residence? Correct. This piece of history was raised in last month's posting about old discipline records.

Reader "AP" noted "I once worked with now retired Captain J.C. Munns and he described to me once that during his early years at RFD, he was assigned to St 3 and lived at the station back when they only had two shifts. As you noted, he even received his regular mail at the station, which I think was common practice. He noted on his off day, he would hop on the engine if a house fire came in."

I've queried a few folks and learned these details about "living at the fire station":

Couple factors to consider here. First, their salaries weren't terribly high. One retiree recounts trying to buy a $12,560 house in the newly developing Woodcrest community. This was the early or mid-1950s. He made $73 a month, including city taxes and insurance. The bank said sorry, he didn't make enough money. He returned in 1957 after his salary was higher and bought the house.

There was also a residency requirement. Firemen had to live within the city limits, and the city limits were considerably smaller. Here's an annexation showing the significantly smaller city size. Thus, their housing choices were limited by geography. As each decade passed, the city grew. New subdivisions were developed by builders and they were annexed by the city. Firemen had more choices of places to live.

The residency requirement was expanded in February 1969, to anywhere within Wake County. Provided they lived on a paved road and that their telephones were "connected to the Raleigh exchange." The restriction was further expanded to a road mile distance. What was it, then thirty-five, then fifty?

Need reader input here. Both on the residency requirements, and any additional "living at the station" details that people have heard. Click to enlarge:
 

 
Postscript. Visit my fire department timelines and you'll see progressive annexation maps, per-decade. But... they don't match this map. Who's right and who's wrong? Probably my bad.

+ 0 - 0 | § Durham Adds Auxiliary Trucks - Fire Engineering, 1942

Found for sale on eBay is an excerpt from Fire Engineering, about a pair of "auxiliary trucks" (my words) added in Durham during the war years. These were a pair of one-ton trucks that were placed in service to handle "small fires in residential areas." Such as car fires, chimney fires, and grass fires. Run cards were updated for "straight fire alarms." Instead of two "big pumpers" and a ladder truck, they'd dispatch one pumper, one ladder truck, and one "small truck."

The change was made after they analyzed their runs for 1941. They found that "ninety-eight percent of fires in Durham could've been handled adequately with the ladder truck, one small truck, and ten men." Sound familiar, anyone? Such as the midi-pumper concept of a few decades later? (The war also likely inspired the program. Material restrictions prevented many fire departments from adding or replacing apparatus. This placed a premium on existing trucks. Using "auxiliary trucks" such as this, departments saved wear and tear on the larger and often older rigs.)

Here's what they carried:

  • 900 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose
  • two 2 1/2-inch controlling nozzles
  • one set of reverse couplings
  • one hydrant wrench
  • three hose spanners
  • three hose straps
  • one crowbar
  • two hand lanterns
  • one hose clamp
  • one tarpaulin
  • two axes
  • two soda and acid extinguishers
  • one 24-foot extension ladder
  • one 12-foot roof ladder
  • two brooms
  • one 65-foot hand line
  • one light plant including generator, 200 foot cord, floodlight with 500 watt bulb
  • one hand operated spotlight
  • one pike pole
  • 120-gallon booster tank equipped with 250 feet of 3/4-inch hose with the following type nozzles:
    one 1/4- inch straight tip, one garden hose tip, one spray nozzle
  • one 20-foot length of 3/4-inch suction hose with strainer.

The Durham Fire Department might've been the first in the state to implement this concept. Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington also operated "squad trucks." Read prior blog posting. See also another posting with a vintage ad about the Durham truck.

As for Durham's trucks, one was sold to Garner in 1952 as their first fire truck. Then the thing was sold to Harrells Fire Department in Sampson County. Here are pictures of mine from 2004, of the truck at the Harrells fire station. (What sort of modifications might've been made to the truck, while it served in Garner and/or Harrells? Don't know.) Click to enlarge:
 

 
Now, notice the top two photos. Upper left is 1942, upper right is 1945. Same truck, but with front pump added? Or two different trucks? To be determined!

Meanwhile, enjoy the full article. Click once or twice to enlarge:
 

+ 0 - 1 | § UPDATED: Butch Robbins, a Unique Firefighter From Sharpsburg, 1976

February 14, 2014
From our friends in Nash County come this clipping showing Butch in action at the pump panel. Plus one impressive set of sideburns! Maybe readers recognize the era of the photo. Thanks Bob and Todd (e.g. the Nash County history book authors).

As noted in his obituary (he passed away this summer), James Edward “Butch” Robbins passed away this summer at age 64. He lost him legs and arm as a soldier in Vietnam in 1968. He was a dispatcher for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and a member of the Sharpsburg Fire Department.

He also had many other jobs including, farming and auctioneering. Click to enlarge:
   

December 28, 2014
Found this cover story in the July-August 1976 issue of Hose & Nozzle magazine. Butch Robbins, a volunteer firefighter with Sharpsburg. He responds to fires in his jeep and serves as a pump operator. He has no legs and one arm. Wow. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 1 - 1 | § UPDATED: Raleigh's New Air Truck in Production

February 14
Let's add another set of pictures, these showing the body mounted on the chassis. See more on the trucks in production page on the Atlantic Emergency Solutions site. Click to enlarge:
 

February 13
Spy photos of Raleigh's new air truck in production at Pierce. That's a Kenworth chassis, the first in the fire department's history. Due for delivery in March. Replaces the current Air 1 which was recently moved to Station 8. That's a 2002 International/SVI, which will be moved to the training center. Only the third mobile air compressor in the department's history. Who can name an earlier "air truck" that just carried bottles? Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 1 | § North Carolina Fire Dept and Fire Protection Laws - 1820 to 1924

For your Thursday historical enjoyment, here's a newly compiled collection of "fire laws" as passed by the North Carolina General Assembly between 1820 and 1924. The digitized versions of the originating documents were extracted from the official archives.

Each session year's collection was searched for such keywords as "fire company," "hose company," "hose reel," "hook," "ladder," "steam engine," "fire engine," "fireman," and "fire." The curated results were saved as individual PDF documents.

The collection includes both statewide legislation and local (private) laws, as pertaining to the towns and/or fire companies of:

  • Beaufort
  • Bethania
  • Charlotte
  • Durham
  • Edenton
  • Elizabeth City
  • Fayetteville
  • Greensboro
  • Greenville
  • Jacksonville
  • Kinston
  • Lincolnton
  • Little Rockfish
  • New Bern
  • Raleigh
  • Rutherfordton
  • Salem
  • Salisbury
  • Smithfield
  • Tarboro
  • Warrenton
  • Washington
  • Wilmington
  • Wilson
  • Winston

What are these laws about? Many are charters or incorporations of individual fire companies. Others include legislation about fire company consolidations, relief funds for firemen, and exemptions for firemen for special civic duties.

The landing page tells more, including the methodology of my research and tips on finding more of these yourself.

View the documents

 

+ 1 - 1 | § Old Photo of Old Tanker - Archer Lodge, Formerly Wendell

Here's a golden oldie from the archives of Lee Wilson. Photographed in 1990 or 1991. Military conversion tanker that served the Wendell Fire Department in Wake County, and then the Archer Lodge Fire Department in Johnson County, where it's pictured here.

Was placed in service in Wendell in July 1979. Reported the Gold Leaf Farmer on August 2, 1979, the 1962 Diamond T five-ton "Army truck" was modified by Craft Steel Industries of Farmville. It carried 1,920 gallons of water and was equipped with a 350 GPM pump.

Cost $11,800, which was paid largely but not exclusively by the county fire tax. Some citizens also contributed donations. The tanker joined three other trucks operated by the fire department. Click to enlarge:
 

 
Lee Wilson photo


David Robertson/Gold Leaf Farmer photo

How many other military conversion fire engines served in Wake County. Here's a montage of most of them. Top to bottom, left to right are Apex, Cary (times three), Durham Highway, Fairview, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Rolesville, Six Forks, Yrac, and Wendell. Missing is Knightdale's tanker, for starters. (Last seen sitting in the trees.) Click to enlarge:
 

 

+ 1 - 1 | § No More Anonymous Comments on WRAL News Stories

Did you catch this story yesterday on the WRAL web site? They are changing their comment system from (a.) the WRAL based-system, which allowed anonymous user profiles to (b.) Facebook, which requires and displays your real identity1.

Unless you're contributing to the sports forums, that is, which will remain anonymous-enabled. An earlier version of this story said something to the effect "we recognize that 'smack talk' is a part of the experience that users enjoy.'" Something to that effect and which made me laugh, since that's entirely true of fire blogs. (Folks love some pot-stirring, except when they're the ones being critiqued. Or their departments.)

I've clicked around the WRAL site this morning and found that they've connecting a couple different social media channels to their registration system. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Are you still required to have a Facebook account, if you register using Twitter, for example? Don't know.

(The user agreement screen includes a "receive special offers" option. Based on experiences with too many other commercial web sites, clicking "no" will nonetheless result in unsolicited said offers received via e-mail. Here's hoping WRAL proves me wrong.)

Does this new system mean that WRAL's archaic "business hours only" commenting period will shift to real-time? With commenting permitted on the weekends? Maybe we'll get lucky. (Must have been a math thing. Salaries of nights/weekend moderators greater than income tied to web clicks during same period. Since nobody reads the news just for the news, right???)

Why are they making the switch? Quote them: "A growing number of news sites are eliminating comments entirely because of the resources required to monitor and remove abusive or otherwise inappropriate comments left on stories. We, however, see value in allowing readers and viewers to thoughtfully discuss the news of the day."

We've blogged about this before, notably in this October 2013 posting titled Civility, Psychology, Online Comments and The New Yorker.

Will this blog be making the switch one of the days (or years)? Unsure and for a couple reasons. For starters, we'd probably have to move to a new platform. (This blog uses an older version of Pivot.) Also, adding Facebook comments might mean that the comments "live" somewhere other than with the original posting. Which is problematic for archive purposes. 

Anyway, it's an interesting and not unexpected move from WRAL.

1Real identity, really? Not entirely true. Facebook really really wants people to use their real names, but it isn't absolutely required. In fact, some drag performers recently made the news in a spate about same. That is, as memory serve. Mr. Blogger keeps more a closer on issues relating to performers who favor tropical attire.

+ 1 - 1 | § Car vs. Hospital in Rocky Mount

There's a rare headline! Happened at Nash General Hospital about 3:15 a.m. this morning. The car crashed into the emergency room. No injuries, but the driver was, well, taken inside to be checked. No charges have been filed, no further details have been released. Read the WRAL story.

There are a few more details from this WITN story. The Crown Victoria crashed through the front door, and intruded about eight or ten feet into the structure. Didn't quite reach the security checkpoint, however. 
   


WRAL photo

+ 1 - 1 | § Morrisville Brush Truck Struck by Train, 1985

From the archives of our friends at the Morrisville Fire Department comes this tale of an usual apparatus accident. On August 14, 1985, this Chevrolet brush truck (model and year?) was struck a train... and survived. The Cary News on August 18 reported the story in an article written by George Jeter.

Happened on a Wednesday afternoon. Crews were fighting a "more or less routine" woods fire call along the tracks between the "crossings at Secondary Road 3014 and the Huntington development project near Morrisville." Then they heard the whistle of Norfolk Southern Engine 2795.

Fireman Robert Beard said they'd "just got the hose off" the truck, when they heard the train "rounding a bend to the west." He worried the truck might derail the train. Another firefighter said "I didn't even think about the truck - I saw that train and I was gone."

Some five volunteer firemen were "on or around the truck" when the whistle was heard. They "lept and ran from the truck," which had been driven down the tracks, to reach "flames along the steep banks of the railroad embankment."

The operator of the freight train tried to stop. Though slowed, the engine struck the truck at about twenty-five miles per hour. The fire engine was pushed at least forty feet down the track before coming to a stop. The collision happened about 3:30 p.m.

No one was injured in the impact, though at least one firefighter was "cut by brambles" as they climbed the banks of the easement.

Crews resumed firefighting using "backpack water sprayers". One "from from the YRAC Rural Fire Department" also arrived to help. Once the fire was extinguished, the damaged brush truck was moved "off the tracks by hand" to be towed out of the "narrow easement land."

What other such accidents have occurred in North Carolina?

We blogged in December about a Charlotte engine struck in 1973. We also compiled Hose & Nozzle reports in a posting, that included the March or April 1970 incident involving a Monroe pumper.

The worst such accident happened in Fayetteville. On March 17, 2000, Fire Engineer David Sharp died after the aerial tower he was driving was struck by a train. He was the lone occupant of the apparatus, and was returning from an automatic fire alarm.

Click to enlarge:
 


Cary News/George Jeter photo




Morrisville Fire Department photos

+ 0 - 2 | § Raleigh's Open Data Portal / Parsing Last Year's Fire Data

The call has been issued for run numbers. Will have data soon from Raleigh and Cary and maybe a couple other local departments. Meanwhile, let's do some data play.

We've blogged before about Raleigh's Open Data Portal before. They surface quite a bit of police and fire department data, including all incidents from 2007 to present. That is, fire calls and requests for service only. No rescue, no EMS. See explanation at the bottom of this posting.

Let's parse the data from last year and see what we can find. One data disclaimer, though. For properties damaged by fire, any second building that receives damage as an exposure is listed as a second record. Ergo, some single fires had two or three records. (For those who examine the data, that will make sense.)

Top Call Types (From NFIRS Categories)

What were most frequent types of fire and service calls?

  1. 3576 - Dispatched & cancelled en route
  2. 1004 - Smoke detector activation no fire - unintentional
  3. 1000 - Alarm system activation no fire - unintentional
  4. 890 - False alarm or false call Other
  5. 714 -  Service call other
  6. 512 - No Incident found on arrival at dispatch address

What's the count of building fires? 209.

Busiest Platoon For Fires?

Which shift had the most building fires?

  1. 73 – B
  2. 71 – A
  3. 65 – C

When Do Building Fires Occur?

For those 209 building fires, the most common hours of the day:

  1. 19 - 17:00 to 17:59
  2. 16 - 18:00 to 18:59
  3. 15 - 14:00 to 14:59
  4. 14 - 12:00 to 12:59
  5. 12 - 16:00 to 16:59
  6. 11 - 11:00 to 11:59
  7. 11 - 19:00 to 19:59
  8. 10 - 22:00 to 22:59

Where Do Most Calls Occur?

For all fire and service calls, which engine is busiest within their first-due territory. Here's the call volume categorized by first-due territory. Meaning, frequency of incidents based on their address as corresponding to first-due engine. Note that Engine 1 and Engine 13 are combined as Station 1 territory.

  1. 1268 - Station 1 (E1/E13)
  2. 937 - Station 11
  3. 817 - Station 3
  4. 808 - Station 12
  5. 759 - Station 19
  6. 737 - Station 15
  7. 692 - Station 8
  8. 565 - Station 22
  9. 556 - Station 20
  10. 532 - Station 6
  11. 532 - Station 5
  12. 508 - Station 9
  13. 502 - Station 7
  14. 492 - Station 2
  15. 475 - Station 21
  16. 470 - Station 10
  17. 459 - Station 16
  18. 442 - Station 24
  19. 408 - Station 14
  20. 407 - Station 17
  21. 378 - Station 4
  22. 366 - Station 18
  23. 357 - Station 26
  24. 331 - Station 23
  25. 311 - Station 25
  26. 183 - Station 28
  27. 175 - Station 27

That's great, but how about building fires only? Will look again. 

Popular Places

Top incident addresses, where street numbers were recorded:

  1. 177 - 509 GLENWOOD AVE
  2. 67 - 3000 NEW BERN AVE
  3. 64 - 116 ST MARYS ST
  4. 37 - 1209 PLAINVIEW DR
  5. 35 - 4420 LAKE BOONE TRL
  6. 33 - 1420 S WILMINGTON ST
  7. 33 - 4325 GLENWOOD AVE
  8. 33 - 500 E HARGETT ST
  9. 32 - 3019 FALSTAFF RD
  10. 32 - 4812 SIX FORKS RD
  11. 31 - 1315 OAKWOOD AVE
  12. 31 - 5412 FIELDCROSS CT
  13. 30 - 15 E PEACE ST
  14. 28 - 2910 CAPITAL BLVD
  15. 28 - 5 E EDENTON ST
  16. 28 - 513 E WHITAKER MILL RD
  17. 27 - 501 N WILMINGTON ST
  18. 27 - 911 N BLOUNT ST
  19. 26 - 500 FAYETTEVILLE ST

Top incident addresses, with no street numbers:

  1. 78 - CAPITAL BLVD
  2. 51 - I 40 WB
  3. 46 - I 440 EB
  4. 46 - NEW BERN AVE
  5. 44 - I 40 EB
  6. 31 - FALLS OF NEUSE RD
  7. 31 - I 540 EB
  8. 30 - GLENWOOD AVE
  9. 30 - WESTERN BLVD
  10. 28 - I 440 WB
  11. 22 - S WILMINGTON ST
  12. 20 - POOLE RD
READ MORE

+ 2 - 1 | § Coolest Industrial Pumper-Tanker Ever?

From the Pierce Flickr page, Jack Daniels Fire Brigade in Lynchburg, TN. Unit is named Pumper 7. Capacity is 3000 GPM, 3000 gallons water, 500 gallons foam. Read this story by Patrick Huguenin about the JDFB and their Fire Chief Fred Elliott. The brigade has thirty-four members, all full-time employees of the plant. Thanks to Lee Wilson for finding the pic. See larger versions of the picture.
 


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Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros