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 And I've seen historical references to Raleigh and Durham adapters, carried on each city's engines, for those mutual aid occasions.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.
Male Threads, Inches
|Raleigh Hose||2 1/2||3 21/64||6|
|Raleigh Hydrants||2 1/2
|Durham Hose||2 1/2||3||8|
|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.
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 FireNews.net. 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 FireNews.net, 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/FireNews.net photo
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
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
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:
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.
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!
Recent Twitter activity includes...
- Daily News from last week, NYPD institutes new procedures for cops responding to fires after officer’s death, http://tinyurl.com/oqasc6z
- The Compass, If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington [or other major city], what should you do?, http://tinyurl.com/ouprgoa
- FDIC vehicles, Legeros Fire Photos posted, more Indianapolis trip pics coming, http://tinyurl.com/mnt3hm8
- Antioch Fire Dept tanker shuttle drill, Lee Wilson photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/lb6zopj
- Wake Forest News, Youngsville Fire Department Fund Raiser a Hot Event, http://tinyurl.com/lsorowx
- Wake Forest News, two WFFD house fire stories, http://tinyurl.com/n6zulo2 and http://tinyurl.com/luutplw
- News & Observer, Cardio link eyed in race deaths at Rock ’n’ Roll half marathon, http://tinyurl.com/mxzu3yz
- Rock and Roll Marathon in Raleigh, EMS units include 20, 21, 25, 53, 67, D10, D9, Medic 59, Bike Teams 1-4, Cart 1,2, + WWFR ATV19 at PNC.
- Big marathon in Raleigh today. Run card or rundown of EMS units providing coverage?
- TriState Fire Alerts, neat Facebook page with incident info. around Chicago, IL, IN, WI. https://www.facebook.com/FireRescueChicago …
- CBS Boston, story behind Boston Fire hose-through-car photos that everyone shared, http://tinyurl.com/nbfwdyt Hard to miss one when parking.
- Indianapolis Fire history, Halloween night 1963, coliseum explosion at fairgrounds, 74 killed, nearly 400 injured. http://tinyurl.com/npsda6j
- Indianapolis Fire history, the Grant fire, Nov. 5, 1973, one of largest in city's history, http://tinyurl.com/7ocrfnq , IFD museum has display
- Indianapolis Fire Dept history, extensive doc on IFD site, including all past station locations, http://tinyurl.com/mzqp7py
From this FireNews.net 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.
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.
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:
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:
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 www.legeros.com/firepics. They start about forty-five minutes into the incident.
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.
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:
- Station 15 / Station 11 at 1030 E. Washington Street (1896 to 1971) and current corporate headquarters of Angie's List (one of over a dozen buildings they use there).
- Station 12 at 339 Sherman Drive (1915 to 1996) and currently occupied by a IFD Medic Unit.
- Station 10 at 3809 E. 34th Street (1958 to 1997) and nearly unrecognizable in its current form.
- Station 22 at 2357 N. Carrolton Avenue (1902 to 1972).
- Station 7 at 301 E. New York Street (1914 to 1979), now office space.
- Station 2 / old Station 8 (1872 to 1932), presently occupied by Local 416. Houses their offices, meeting room(s), and their fire museum. They'll have their annual "pumper pull" on Friday. Visit their web site for more details.
In case you missed them as tweets, shown on the upper right side of this site, or via web on my Twitter page:
- News & Observer, Baseball card photog Bob Bartosz shot all the greats (and a few fires!) http://tinyurl.com/oogxhml
- http://tinyurl.com/m9pmh7m , Raleigh Fire performs difficult extrication, Legeros photo story from Mar. 17,
- Early Video of Mobile Home Fire in Kinston, found via http://tinyurl.com/p5h24y6 , Legeros Fire Blog,
- MVA w/injuries Person Street, Raleigh Fire, Wake EMS, photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/pytubws
- Raleigh Fire RIT drills at Council Building on Dix Campus, Fri. night, photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/nwffeh8
- Texas Observer, Hero Complex, Can dampening a culture of heroism keep firefighters safer? http://tinyurl.com/kglyj69 RT from @
- Great story. Worth asking all around: is "duty to die" an honorable/favorable/scalable framework?
- City of Raleigh press release, Raleigh’s Fallen Eight: Memorial to Their Sacrifice is April 25, http://tinyurl.com/ospr25d
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.
Jason Thompson photo
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: