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Exciting Recent Posts

Morning Reading - April 15, 2014
Dash Cam Captures Near Miss at Raleigh Car Fire (Video) (2 comments)
Wake County EMS Employees are Happy (Video)
Vintage Image of Charlotte Snorkel
Extra Alarms and Multiple Buffs in Indianapolis (8 comments)
Technical Support Unit 1 (4 comments)
Some Former Firehouses of Indianapolis
Morning Reading - April 7, 2014 (2 comments)
This Morning's Postal Facility Fire (1 comment)
Vintage Photo of Hickory Station, Engines
Early Video of Mobile Home Fire in Kinston
UPDATED: Vintage Virginia Red Car in Raleigh (2 comments)
Wake County Conducting Study on Fire Service Funding Allocations (3 comments)
UPDATED: Vintage Engines of Carolina Beach and Wilmington (3 comments)
Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter, Spring 2014
Ambulance Accidents in Raleigh and Wake County
Ambulances Collide in Raleigh, October 1939 (5 comments)
When Red Trucks Roll
New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming (1 comment)

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This is a North Carolina-based blog by Mike Legeros. Author, historian, photographer, buff. He lives in Raleigh. New to this place? Read these Rules of the Road.

Last Comments

lee (Technical Support…): Eric. Someone was driving TSU-1 around last Tues…
Legeros (Technical Support…): Watson, when Squad 14 and Squad 15 were placed in…
WATSON (Technical Support…): Mike or anyone, Have you heard anything through…
John Q Public (Dash Cam Captures…): People are naive if they don’t think that there a…
Tim (Dash Cam Captures…): This is crazy. Who is the person driving around d…
Legeros (Extra Alarms and …): Thanks for the nice words, John. Those picture…
Connor (The History of Op…): KOM, we do not use 3/4 coats or roll-up boots due…
Legeros (Extra Alarms and …): Updated posting to reflect that the fire was thre…
John Collins (Two Alarms and Mu…): Also, as a fire PIO, I’m a bit of a sucker for ph…
John Collins (Two Alarms and Mu…): Love the shots of the professional onlookers. I c…
Legeros (Two Alarms and Mu…): Think I am way off on the floor size estimate. Le…
Legeros (Two Alarms and Mu…): That would be an interesting chart for comparison…
Legeros (Two Alarms and Mu…): Looking at floor space and number of vendors and …
Jerry (Two Alarms and Mu…): How does the FDIC compare to the expo held in Ral…
Alan Garner (Transitional Fire…): Well filmed
Eric (Technical Support…): What does it respond to? I thought I saw it go on…
William E Ott (Get Ready To Re-P…): Police with all comms encrypted is just wrong. Ce…
Legeros (Morning Reading -…): The Pierce snorkel has been serving for 25.6 year…
The One (This Morning's Po…): The Postal Inspector was also there.
Joey (Morning Reading -…): Hey Mike, I saw the pics of the snorkel in action…
Legeros (Wake County Condu…): History hasn’t been kind to holistic approaches i…
A.C. Rich (Wake County Condu…): The municipal cost share is (in my opinion) a “co…
Legeros (Ambulances Collid…): We’re told that “clearance” was started during th…
Legeros (Wake County Condu…): What’s the history of “rural” fire department fun…
Margaret (The Bowery Grenad…): My pop, father & uncles would always perform this…
DJ (Ambulances Collid…): @Olson- Chief, JT is right about the one time the…
Jason Thompson (Ambulances Collid…): It was still in place when I started and if I’m n…
Legeros (Get Ready To Re-P…): Update, Cary Fire talkgroups will NOT be encrypte…
Olson (Ambulances Collid…): Did they ever say “NO”?
DJ (Ambulances Collid…): I remember the ‘cleared through Raleigh’ thing go…
Legeros (New Raleigh Polic…): Post-event coverage from N&O, www.newsobse…
Speaker Mike (Get Ready To Re-P…): I have heard that Chatham is still on VHF. Anyone…
Marshall Sherard … (Get Ready To Re-P…): I can speak of a few of those counties: —Orange C…
Paul (Get Ready To Re-P…): Of if you’re like me and can’t afford a trunking …
Jason Thompson (Get Ready To Re-P…): Thanks for the reminder, I did the “Home Patrol” …
Speaker Mike (Get Ready To Re-P…): What are the other counties around doing- Chatham…
Marshall Sherard … (Get Ready To Re-P…): Most of it is spot-on Mike! Only change that I ha…
Legeros (Get Ready To Re-P…): Durham City 800Mhz P25 conversion notes… April …
Watters (Vintage Virginia …): This is the old EMS First Responder Vehicle (EMS …
Doppler (Vintage Virginia …): I have seen that truck sitting there before. Pro…
Buckwheat (New Engine 19 in …): Now that is a nice truck. Have there been any spe…
A Platoon (New Engine 19 in …): 11 calls the 1st day A Platoon was on the new rig…
Silver (Vintage Raleigh F…): @Stike Good one Stike….
Stike (Vintage Raleigh F…): I remember sitting at the intersection of Gorman/…
Thomas Dicks (Vintage Raleigh F…): That Aerialscope still pours the smoke when you p…
Legeros (Vintage Raleigh F…): New version uploaded, and links in this posting u…
Legeros (Vintage Raleigh F…): Alas, this has audio sync problems. Will post a n…
Kodiak (Wake County Job P…): + instructor 2 Preferred: 1403 Live Fire Struct…
Legeros (Last Night's Apar…): News & Observer follow-up, www.newsobserve…
PBM (Big Tanker For Ba…): In Nash County, the tanker have a small pump or a…
EMT, MD (Last Night's Apar…): Additional EMS units in the 2nd alarm included EM…
Brandon (Big Tanker For Ba…): I think given the difficulty of financial times w…
Brad Stikeleather… (Vintage Raleigh T…): I remember the day that was tore down. It’s hard …
Mike (Mystery Vehicle): LARC-V (Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo, 5 t…
Legeros (Big Tanker For Ba…): Only if you’re riding it…
Joker (Big Tanker For Ba…): Is that a school bus?
Watson (Big Tanker For Ba…): Would this be the largest tanker around?
shevais (Seven Young Peopl…): November 1st, 2003 is a night I will never forget…
Legeros (Seven Young Peopl…): November 1, 2003 – Six killed in MVA at Chapel Hi…
car3550 (Seven Young Peopl…): I know the one at Nowell Rd & Chapel Hill Rd in R…

+ 0 - 0 | § Morning Reading - April 15, 2014

Recent Twitter activity includes...



Last Week

+ 0 - 0 | § Dash Cam Captures Near Miss at Raleigh Car Fire (Video)

From this posting, here's a video from YouTube user NC DashVids, of a van swerving to avoid an IMAP truck positioned ahead of two Raleigh engines on the ramp from southbound I-440 to westbound Highway 64. The vehicle swerves to the right of the truck, enters the shoulder, and returns to the roadway as it encounters the cones ahead of Engine 2. This happened on April 11.

+ 2 - 0 | § Wake County EMS Employees are Happy (Video)

This one made the rounds last week, an employee appreciation video created by the Wake County EMS Community Outreach office. They're dancing and lip-synching to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy", released in November 2013 on Back Lot Music. Or click here if the embed doesn't work.

+ 1 - 1 | § Vintage Image of Charlotte Snorkel

Found for sale on eBay, a 35mm slide scan of Charlotte's Ladder 1, a 1984 Duplex-Grumman/Snorkel articulating platform. See our data from December on all snorkels that have served in our state, including four for Charlotte. Click to enlarge:

+ 2 - 0 | § NC at FDIC

Left to right, top to bottom: American Emergency Vehicles for Stanly County EMS, Guilford County EMS, and Cherokee Tribal EMS; Hackney for Blowing Rock; Smeal for Charlotte; Ferrara for Wilson. Click to enlarge the collage:

+ 0 - 0 | § Extra Alarms and Multiple Buffs in Indianapolis

Was a good day for buffing in Indianapolis today. Started with the second day of exhibits at FDIC, and ended with an extra-alarm fire at 1545 Van Buren Street (previously cited as 2009 Draper Street) east of downtown. (Been nice 'n' confused about this one. Called it three-alarms on Twitter, after seeing news reported. Posted here as two-alarms, as seen on the IFD feed. Now back to three-alarms, via Tri-State Fire Alerts FB page. Plus reader mail that says it went higher than three!)

Four aerial streams, three monitor nozzles, and four hand lines were used, reported @IFD_NEWS via Twitter. Plus multiple buffs and visiting firefighters. Building measured 250 by 300 feet. Defensive operations and wall collapses. One firefighter injured. First due companies were Engine 27, Engine 23, Ladder 14. Building was unburned section of extra alarm fire last fall. 

Yours Truly was en route to the 2014 Firefighter Turnout when he saw the plume of smoke from some ten miles out. Couldn't possibly be a major working fire with so many firefighters in town? Well, yes it was. See more pictures from Mike Legeros, posted to his Flickr page and also accessible from They start about forty-five minutes into the incident. 

+ 1 - 1 | § Technical Support Unit 1

The Raleigh Fire Department has placed its new rescue pumpers in service. The 2014 Pierce Arrow XT engines were activated on April 4 (Squad 15) and April 8 (Squad 14). Also, the reserve rescue at Station 14 has been designated Technical Support Unit 1.

The 2007 Pierce Enforcer, a sister to the truck operated by Rescue 1, is both a reserve unit and a second piece of equipment for Squad 14. (What does it carry? Readers, can you advise?) There's also a second unit staffed by Squad 15, a tractor-drawn trench rescue unit at Station 15.

See photos of the new squads at the station and in action at Lee Wilson's Flickr site. Updates also forthcoming to my photo site, which links to Lee's photos on a per-set basis.

+ 0 - 0 | § Some Former Firehouses of Indianapolis

Reporting from the road and my first visit to FDIC. Awaiting the start of the "show" tomorrow, when the exhibit floors open at noon and 1:00 p.m. (Among the attractions are the unveiling of a new Pierce chassis.) Been here since Tuesday, and been busy crisscrossing the city. Locating and photographing former and historic firehouses, as usual. Also first time in Indianapolis. What an interesting city! Ample attractions for the urban explorer, plus a very vibrant downtown. Here are a couple of the engine houses found so far. Left to right, top to bottom:

Many, many more photos forthcoming. Read my research notes, to be updated. See other firehouses in other cities. Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 0 | § Morning Reading - April 7, 2014

In case you missed them as tweets, shown on the upper right side of this site, or via web on my Twitter page:

April 6

April 5

See more tweets.

+ 1 - 0 | § This Morning's Postal Facility Fire

Have a few details about this morning's postal facility fire at 1 Floretta Place, the main postal distribution center in Raleigh. The fire, reported after midnight, started in a package sorting area, in a package sorting cart. Witnesses said they heard a "pop" before the fire started. It was quickly extinguished, though several packages were destroyed. Officials are saying that it appears there was a chemical reaction in a package, perhaps from a battery or some type of chemical.

The incident was dispatched at 12:03 a.m. as an explosion and fire (with haz-mat assignments added later?). Engine 23 was first on scene at the one-story, concrete and steel building with 351,250 square-feet. Built 1994. They stretched a single line inside and extinguished the small fire. The building was briefly evacuated, with 155 workers inside at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported, though a number of employees were evaluated by EMS. 

Fire units on scene included E23, E24, L6, B3, B4, C20, C401 (investigator), HM1 (staffed by E2), HM2 (staffed by E27), HM3 (recon unit staffed by E8), HM4 (decon unit staffed by L5), Durham Highway P1, R5. Medical units on scene included EMS 22, EMS 38, EMS 6, EMS 7, D4, D3, M91, T1. Other agencies included Raleigh PD, Wake County EM, and ATF. See a handful of photos from Jason Thompson, including the one below.

Sources include:

Jason Thompson photo

+ 0 - 0 | § Vintage Photo of Hickory Station, Engines

Here's a treat by way of Hickory Fire Department Station 6 on Facebook, a photo of Station 3 on First Avenue in the ealry 1980s. (Located at 1471 1st Avenue SW. Built 1948, closed 1983, still standing.) Shown is a 1936 American LaFrance 400 Series pumper. Model 412 CB PWT, serial #7743, ship date August 13, 1936. (Raleigh also had one, bought for $13,500, with a 1000 GPM pump, twelve-cylinder motor, shaft-drive, and dual rear tires.) The newer truck is a 1968 American LaFrance. Click to enlarge:

The 1936 engine is presently displayed at the Catawba County Firefighters Museum in Hickory. See more photos from my trip there in 2007. (And readers, what's new/different there these days? Might need to do another shoot.) Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Early Video of Mobile Home Fire in Kinston

Dave Statter found this video posted to YouTube by North Lenoir Fire Department, showing their initial attack on a mobile home fire on Ham Street in Kinston on Saturday. Read this WNCT story for more, plus watch the Statter911 story for reader commentary.

+ 2 - 0 | § UPDATED: Vintage Virginia Red Car in Raleigh

April 6
Reader Andrew Watters shares this photo of the department's current EMS response vehicle. There are several Hampden-Sydney College alumni that work for fire departments in Wake County, including Watters. The department is comprised almost entirely of students from the college. The average age of their membership is 20 to 21. 

The department has an interesting history. On March 29, 1957, the Farmville FD was dispatched to a fire at the college. McIlwaine Hall was ablaze, a former academic building and assembly hall and now used for storage. The students had a great dislike for McIlwaine and tried their hardest to hamper the firefighter.

They repeatedly flushed toilets across campus and stood on fire hoses, to impede the water pressure. The building burned to the ground. The following day, the Fire Chief declared that their department would no longer respond to the college. The students realized the gravity of their actions, and formed their own fire brigade, which became the Hampden-Sydney FD. 

March 30
From a reader, this vintage "red car" (or more likely, first-responder vehicle) was seen at a house on South Boylan Avenue last week. From Hampden Syndey, VA, it appears. Thanks, Adam!

+ 0 - 0 | § Wake County Conducting Study on Fire Service Funding Allocations

That might be old news to anyone who follows the actions of the Wake County Fire Commission, but it's received some press in this Wake Forest Weekly story by David Leone, about the town's fire department's plans to build a fourth fire station. The story centers on the project's funding, and questions from the town's commissioners. The $2.2 million facility will be located at 1509 Jenkins Road, an "edge-of-town location" that's needed due to the many calls answered in "rural Wake Forest." Like most other towns in the county, the fire department serving Wake Forest is also contracted by the county to provide protection in unincorporated areas around Wake Forest.

The fire department receives most of its $4.4 million budget through town funding, via a 10 cents per $100 valuation fire tax. Fire Chief Ron Early seeks an increase in that tax, to fund the firefighters who will staff the station. Can the county contribute additional funding? Good question. As the story reports, both town leaders and Fire Chiefs have "long complained that the county doesn't fairly reimburse town departments for the cost of providing service to rural areas."

As the story continues, Wake County Fire Services is conducting a study to see if the process can be made more equitable. Emergency Services Consulting is doing the study. The first draft is due this month. Fire chiefs and town managers will be asked for input. The final draft of the report will be received by "county fire service board of directors" (believe that means the county fire commission) by June. Their recommendation (toward changes in funding allocations) will be sent to the Wake County Commissioners. No changes will take effect until the next budget year, however. And even then, notes the story, "major changes may be implemented in tiers over time to lessen [any negative impact] on fire departments."

That's my rewrite of the gist of the issue, via the Wake Forest Weekly story. What points were missed, or under/over emphasized? You tell me! And one thing's for certain.

'Tis an exciting time to watch Wake County's fire services, with better data and documentation being sought as the engine of change is revved higher and higher.

Read the Wake Forest Weekly story

Read earlier Wake Forest News story about Station 4

+ 3 - 2 | § UPDATED: Vintage Engines of Carolina Beach and Wilmington

April 5, 2014
Found another for sale on eBay. One of Wilmington's 1952 Oren engines. Click to enlarge:

August 12, 2013
Found for sale on eBay, these 35mm slide images of vintage Carolina Beach and Wilmington engines. Left to right, top to bottom are a 1953 International/Bean (CBFD E3), a 1976 Ford/Howe (CBFD E2), a 1970 Ford/Howe (CBFD E1), a 1952 Oren (WFD reserve E3), and another 1952 Oren (WFD reserve E4). Absolutely beautiful. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter, Spring 2014

The Winter 2014 edition of the Raleigh Fire Department newsletter has been posted to This quarter's contents include New Apparatus Delivered, Station 13 Breaks Ground, RRT-4 Responds to Smithfield, Raleigh Fire Department Statistics 2013, Photo Gallery, New Staff, Promotions, Transfers, Retirements, Deaths, and Two-Year Old Gets Wish. The newsletter is produced quarterly, by Editor Mike Legeros. And with a copyediting assist from his wife Julie! Read the new issue (PDF).

+ 0 - 0 | § Ambulance Accidents in Raleigh and Wake County

Expanding on the prior story about a pair of vintage ambulance accidents in the Capitol City, here's a list of incidents to date. Those with significant damage and/or unusual circumstances. There are likely others that aren't listed (yet).

October 21, 1939 (or Saturday before) – Lightner Funeral Home and Raleigh Funeral Home ambulances collide at intersection of Cabarrus and Blount streets. They are responding to a reported stabbing, which was later reported as fatal. The ambulances didn’t hear each other, over each other’s sirens. One ambulance driver was seriously injured, another died of injuries. Two other people on the scene were injured, and a third car was damaged. (The Afro-American, 10/21/39)

December 6, 1952 – Ambulance collides with car in front of Warren’s Restaurant at Martin and Dawson streets. Car is pushed into doorway of eatery, where about 60 people are dining. Five people are hurt, including critical injuries to the driver of the car. His two passengers are badly cut, and the two ambulance attendants are injured. The ambulance was responding to an emergency call. (News and Courier, 12/7/52)

April 20, 1978 – EMS ambulance collides with automobile at Salisbury and Hunter streets. Occurs about 5:10 p.m. on a Thursday. Ambulance is answering an emergency call. Occupants of automobile, two men, are transported and treated at Wake Medical Center for their injuries. (N&O, 4/21?/78)

May 26, 1987 – Vehicle strikes EMS Station 1. Young woman is driving north on McDowell Street and loses control of her 1980 Chevrolet. Her automobile struck the building and she was injured. (RT, 5/27/87)

December 1993 – Mid South ambulance crashes while attempting to access I-40 from Highway 70 in Garner. Believe patient died. Need more details. (OH)

March 1, 1994 – Meat truck fails to stop at stop sign, and collides with Wake EMS ambulance at Milbrook Road and Falls of Neuse Road. The ambulance is responding to an emergency call when struck at 8:10 a.m. The truck strikes the ambulance, which causes both vehicles to veer and strike other cars. Four vehicles involved. Three people are treated and transported, including an EMS member, who suffers a leg injury. The ambulance is a total loss. (N&O, 3/2/94)

February 9, 1995 – Mid South ambulance stops at minor traffic accident on I-40, while traveling to Chapel Hill to pick up patient. A tractor-trailer truck had rear-ended a car, which was pushed into a van. EMT Michael R. Jackson stepped in front of the ambulance while he was retrieving warning markers when the tractor-trailer truck rolled down an incline and into the lane where the ambulance was parked. It struck the ambulance, and both vehicles ran over Jackson, killing him instantly. (NEMSMS)


+ 1 - 0 | § Ambulances Collide in Raleigh, October 1939

Back in the day, ambulances that were "running lights and siren" in Raleigh had to request clearance from RESCOM. The reason for this requirement, as the story was told, was the collision of two funeral home ambulances at the intersection of Martin and Dawson streets, back before the days of Beacon or Raleigh ambulance. What really happened? Google News Archive Search provides some answers.

The Afro-American

October 21, 1939

Death, Wreck, Injuries Result from Fatal Cutting

RALEIGH, N.C. - As the result of a fatal cutting here Sunday evening, an ambulance driver is seriously injured, another driver died Monday from his injuries, a station attendant has a broken leg and a one-legged man has his good leg in bandages.

The Cause

Shortly after 10 p.m., the police summoned the ambulance of Lightner's Funeral Home and the Raleigh Funeral Home. With sirens open so loud one deafened the other, they crashed at the intersection of Cabarrus and Blount Streets.

The Results

The careening cars broke the leg of a filling station attendant, injured the one-legged bench sitter and wrecked a nearby car. The rersults are: dead of knife wounds, Thomas Fletcher; died in the crash, Nathan Burt; injured, Joseph Wilder, a broken leg; a bandaged leg, Manual Williams.

That accident happened at Cabarrus and Blount streets. Where did the Dawson and Martin street memory come from? That was another, later accident.

News and Courier

December 7, 1952

5 Hurt at Raleigh In Collision Involving Ambulance

RALEIGH - Dec. 6 (AP) - Five persons were hurt in a collision involving an ambulance near the heart of Raleigh tonight.

The ambulance, which was answering an emergency call, collided with a car in front of Warren's Restaurant at Martin and Dawson Sts. and bowled the car into the doorway of the establishment, where about 60 persons were eating.

The driver of the car, Herbert Gupton, 44, Raleigh music store operator, was critically injured with a fractured skull and severe cuts and bruises. Gupton's son and daughter were badly cut and two men in the ambulance were injured.

Next question, when did RESCOM start and stop requiring such radio clearance? Was that in place prior to RESCOM? We'll look to readers for that information, as well as any ancedotes on the subject of ambulance collisions.

+ 0 - 0 | § When Red Trucks Roll

Compilation of video clips, of Raleigh Fire Department engines, squads, and ladder trucks leaving the station or en route to calls. Why? Because it never gets old. Footage from 2013 and 2014. Or click here if the embedded video doesn't play.

+ 0 - 0 | § New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming

Today's News & Observer has a story about Raleigh's new police cruisers. The city will unveil their new Ford Police Interceptor sport-utility vehicles at a media event today. (When? Where?) That's one of three new vehicles that'll replace the now-discontinued Ford Crown Victoria. (The other two vehicles are officially undisclosed, but we've talked about before. We won't spoil the secrecy, at least for today!) The city purchased some 70 of the remaining Crown Victorias after production ceased in 2011. They'll be patrolled for a few more years, as their service life is five to seven years. Then they'll the public auctions. You can get your own Bluesmobile. Read the story.

Corey Lowenstein/News & Observer photo

+ 0 - 0 | § Get Ready To Re-Program Your Scanners!

Local radio guru Marshall Sherard has some information of interest to anyone with a digital trunking scanner that they're using to monitor Wake County, Durham City, or Cary. Here's the simplified version of what we've been told:

Wake County - They're re-banding their part of VIPER, e.g. the public safety talkgroups used by fire, EMS, and law enforcement. This scheduled to happen some time next week. Once the switch is thrown, you'll have to update the settings in your scanner. Follow the instructions in this NC forum thread.

Durham - They're converting to a Motorla P25 radio system, and will be migrating twelve public safety channels in the next few weeks. We'll post the technical specifics in a comment to this posting.

Cary - They're activating a new Motorola P25 radio system soon. This is happening over the next few weeks, at least in limited fashion. The Cary Police talkgroups will be encrypted, alas. There are rumors that Cary Fire will also be encrypted, boo hiss. The Cary Fire and mutual aid talkgroups, however, will remain unencrypted.

That's the short version. We'll let Marshall or others expand as needed in comments.


Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros