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Exciting Recent Posts

UPDATED: Raleigh Hose Thread History (5 comments)
Wake Forest House Fire - Fully Involved on Arrival
UPDATED: New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming (1 comment)
Mounted and Unmounted
Photos From FDIC
Last Week's Specialized Rescue in Carrboro
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)

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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

Andrew (Historic Millbroo…): I grew up (and sold our house just this year) in …
stretch (UPDATED: Raleigh …): FDNY couplings are 8 TPI. See this chart. Raleigh…
D. McKay (UPDATED: Raleigh …): Can’t speak for the cities apparatus but New Hope…
M. Owen (UPDATED: Before F…): Back in the early 60’s we used to go to “The Fall…
Bob Edmundson (UPDATED: Raleigh …): Good presentation at Bay Leaf last night Mike. T…
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…

+ 8 - 7 | § UPDATED: Raleigh Hose Thread History

April 18, 2014
Was teaching class last night on North Carolina firefighter history. While discussing the first fire hydrants installed in Raleigh, questions were made about the "Raleigh thread." What's the history there? Here's a blog post from 2009 that provides a bit of information.

I've been told that Raleigh's thread is the same that New York City uses. (Correct?) And I've seen historical references to Raleigh and Durham adapters, carried on each city's engines, for those mutual aid occasions. (Can recall a pair of instances when Durham sent engines to Raleigh, for fires at Dorothea Dix and at the Yarborough House in the 1920s.) 

As memory serves, city engines in more recent decades carried adapters for "other hydrants." That a correct memory there? Would those have been county hydrants? (But there aren't such things, right?) Private hydrants, with different threads? Maybe I'm thinking of adapters for Cary or Wake Forest or...

September 14, 2009
Question of the day. When did Raleigh start using its own hose and hydrant threads? From this 1924 report, there were 464 hydrants in the city on May 31, 1924. All were Mathews pattern, except for 64 Columbia and one Glamorgan. What are or were those patterns? Don't know. Nothing found on Google (yet). Hose couplings sizes were listed in the below chart. And that chart is repeated in this 1931 report, which lists 557 public and 133 private hydrants in the city on February 28, 1931. By that time, the report added, adapters for Durham hose were carried on Raleigh's Engine 1.

Connection Nominal Size,     
Outside Diameter,
Male Threads, Inches    
per Inch
Raleigh Hose 2 1/2 3 21/64 6
Raleigh Hydrants 2 1/2
3 21/64
4 55/64
Durham Hose 2 1/2 3 8
Goldsboro Hose
Fayetteville Hose
Wilson Hose
2 1/2 3 1/16 8
Henderson Hose 2 1/2 3 7/32 8
National Standard     2 1/2 3 1/16 7 1/2

What does the above chart tell us? First, that Raleigh wasn't the only department with its own hose thread. In fact, none of the above departments list coupling specs that exactly match National Standard. When did Raleigh adopt their coupling size? Good question. The city's first fire hydrants were installed in 1887, with hand reels and sections of hose also purchased. Hose had appeared earlier, for the 1870 steamer, and possibly even earlier for the city's hand engines. But it was 1887 that hydrants appeared, and when far more hose was added to the fire department. Hose was subsequently standardized, and by 1924 at least. Alas, Sanborn Maps from the 1880s to the 1910s don't help. There's no information on hose or hydrant threads.

+ 1 - 0 | § Wake Forest House Fire - Fully Involved on Arrival

Even with the proliferation of camera phones and reader photos on news sites, it's reasonably rare that we see an arrival photo as dramatic as this image posted by That's from Saturday's house fire in Wake Forest.

The photo is by Teresa Martens and appears in a story submitted by Wake Forest News Editor Steve Rhode. Arriving units found the front of the structure fully-involved at 417 Cottesbrook Drive. The two-story, single-family dwelling measured 2,485 square-feet and was built in 2010.

Read more about the fire from, including the list of Wake Forest and Rolesville units that responded. The Wake Forest News has also posted a trio of stories about the fire, the family's praise for the firefighters, and community efforst to raise money for the family: April 13 #1, April 13 #2, and April 16.

Teresa Martins/ photo

+ 0 - 1 | § UPDATED: New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming

April 18
Lee Wilson has posted photos from the April 2 event, that saw the uneviling of the Raleigh Police Department's new Ford, Chevy, and Dodge cruisers. This News & Observer story from after the event told me about the vehicles and the evaluation process. 

Lee Wilson photo

April 2
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 | § Mounted and Unmounted

Seen last week in Indianapolis, a pair of Methodist Hospital vehicles. One is an ambulance with yellow lights (indicating convalescent unit only?), and one is apparanetly a former ambulance missing the body. Always wondered what a chassis looks like, once the "box" is gone. Click to enlarge these phone photos:

+ 0 - 0 | § Photos From FDIC

Have posted my photos from FDIC last week. Here are the links:

Still in processing are pictures from the IFD museum, twenty-eight historic or former firehouses, and one of the old training facilities.

Still to be posted are a few hundred mobile phone photos, that need sorting and parsing.

+ 0 - 0 | § Last Week's Specialized Rescue in Carrboro

From a reader comes this photo from Carrboro, after a kid's toy was accidentally thrown to the roof of a park shelter on Friday. Firefighters came to the rescue from the station next door. The child was heard to say "This was the most exciting day ever!" Click to enlarge. Thanks, Scott!

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

Recent Twitter activity includes...



Last Week

+ 0 - 1 | § 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 - 1 | § 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 - 1 | § 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:


Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros