Wake Forest Fire Department(s)

History


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1910-1919

Wake Forest Machinery & Hardware Company burns.  The Raleigh Fire Department is summoned.  Engine 1 responds, leaving at 10:10 p.m. and arriving in 35 minutes.  The 17-mile run is made partly in a driving ran.  A bucket brigade is working when firefighters arrive.  After the pumper exhausts the 3,000 gallon water tank within five minutes, the firemen are forced to watch as flames practically gut the three-story building.  They also assist with the bucket brigade, which resumes after the water tank is drained.  Damaged to the building and its contents is estimated at $20,000.  The company was less than a year old.  The fire is believed to be "incendiary" in origin, and starts on the second floor.  (June 30, 1915)rt01jul15

1917, fire district established, described as "beginning at the intersection of North street with White street and running on each side of White street 150 feet from the center thereof to the intersection of White street by a cross street from Main street to said cross street crossing the railroad at the Light Plant." (June 7, 1917) tm

1920-1929

1920, Old Wingate Place destroyed by fire. The former property of Wake Forest College President Dr. W. M. Wingate, situated on the southeast side of town, is one of the oldest and largest in town.  The 1:00 p.m. fire originates from a defective flue.  Several hundred students immediately rush to the scene and save practically all of the furniture.  Attempts to extinguish the fire fail, due to a high wind at the time. (January 22, 1920) rt23jan20

1920, contracts award for construction of water and sewer systems.  Water system includes fire hydrants. (March 25, 1920) tm

1921, Thomas M. Arrington Sr. appointed Chief of Fire Department and authorized to organize a volunteer fire company.  Town Board also

  • votes to excuse members of fire company from paying street tax
  • authorizes Fire Chief to build "two houses, a suitable places, for reels and fire hose"
  • appoints committee to consider a "suitable fire alarm" and report at next meeting to Board. (August 4, 1921) tm

1921, J. L. Taylor serves as Fire Chief's assistant. Nineteen volunteer firefighters protect Town, Wake Forest College, and Royal Cotton Mills. Population less than 1,500. Fire alarm sounded by ringing bell atop present on Roosevelt Avenue, at present site of Western Auto Store

1921, first fire apparatus is hand-pulled, two-wheel hose reel with 500' of 2 1/2" hose.  Same is stored at the Town water tank

1921, Town Board authorizes Fire Chief T. M. Arrington to purchase a chassis and body for fire truck, not to exceed $1,000. (September 9, 1921)  tm

1921, Town Board approves purchase of American LaFrance fire equipment at price of $1,650.  Mayor authorized to execute contract. (September 19, 1921)  tm

1921, improvement ordered to telephone system, to include night availability and requiring that the operator given "instant notice" to each member of the fire company, for alarms reported to the "telephone office." Town Board also

  • appoints W.W. Dickson (?) and T.E. Babbitt trustees of the Fireman's Relief Fund
  • votes that $5 member fees to the State Fireman's Association be paid by the town
  • Fire Chief T.W. Arrington also appointed Building Inspector
  • appoints committee to investigate "suitable place for fire department". (November 4, 1921) tm

1921, Town Board passes "ordinances governing the regulation of the fire department and the prevention and control of fires in the town of Wake Forest, North Carolina

Be it ordained by the Board of the Town Commissioners of the Town of Wake Forest, N.C.:

Article I

In the event of an alarm of fire the apparatus of the Fire Department shall have the right of way in and upon all streets, lanes, alleys, squares and railroad crossings in going to any fire and being upon such streets, lanes, alleys, squares or railroad crossings during the progress of fire.  It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct, or neglect to make way for, any such apparatus, or to interfere with the firemen in the discharge of their duties, or to cross over lines marked out by the police or firemen.

Article II

Speed limits for vehicles and traffic ordinances will not apply to any Fire Department Apparatus responding to alarms.  No vehicle of any kind will be allowed to remain standing within one block of the scene of fire during the fire and during such time thereafter as the firemen may be at work about the scene of fire.   Provided: this does not apply to any of the Fire Department Apparatus or vehicles used by members of the Fire Department or Town Officials.

Article III

Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive any automobile, wagon, cart, or other vehicle over the hose belonging to the Fire Department.

Section 2. It shall be unlawful for any locomotive or railroad train to be run over the hose belong to the Fire Department laid across the railroad trucks during an attack on any fire.

Article IV

No person shall enter the Fire Department Station House or any substation house or any other building that may be used exclusively for housing any apparatus of the Fire Department.  Provide: This shall not apply to the town authorities or members of the Fire Department or to any who enters by invitation of the above persons.

Article V

No person shall ride or attempt to ride on any of the Fire Department Apparatus unless called by an officer or member of the Department in case assistance is necessary.

Article VI

The Chief of the Fire Department, Assistant Chief, Captains, and such members of the Department as may be necessary, are hereby vested with police authority during the existence of any fire, and may make arrests during such fires.

Article VII

It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with or tamper with or injure any part of the Fire Department Apparatus.  Provided: This shall not apply to firemen in the discharge of their duties.

Article VIII

Section 1. No person shall interfere with or tamper with or injure in any way any part of the fire alarm system or send in a false alarm.

Section 2. A reward of twenty-five dollars. ($25.00) will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person sending in a false alarm.

Article IX

Any person violating either of the above ordinances shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined fifty dollars. ($50.00) or imprisoned thirty. (30) days.

Passed by the Board of Town Commissioners of the Town of Wake Forest, this, the 3rd day of November, 1921

A FEW SUGGESTIONS THAT MAY BE OF GREAT HELP

Examine the Flues and Chimneys in your house and see that they are operating successfully and will not subject your home to danger from fire if they are burned out.

See that all inside stove pipes are fully protected from the wood work by some non-flammable material.

See that matches are kept in safe places and out of reach of children.  A great many fires take place because this is not done.

Fire Prevention is just as important as Fire Protection.

Be careful in leaving fires and oil stoves burning over night.

Do not allow piles of trash and paper to remain near your building and try not to throw matches or hot ashes into the same.  Empty your hot ashes in a clear place if possible.

When you hear an alarm of fire steer clear of all Fire Department Apparatus.  They have the right of way by law.

Do not interfere with members of the Fire Department while they are in the discharge of their duties.  A line of fire hose in action is constantly under great pressure at all points and if blown out may cause damage or injury and the Fire Department will appreciate it and respectfully ask that spectators kindly remain at a safe distance.

Encourage the boys of the Fire Department.

Read over the Fire Ordinances again.

Avoid wasteful use of water. It is expensive for you and we want to keep our water supply at the maximum during all times.

Remembers and co-operate; at a fire, good water or bad, the boys take all the risk.  Encourage them.

Our Department is strictly Volunteer and our purpose is to serve you first and to try to protect your property as best we can and you have no idea how much a little encouragement from the side lines will help us.  Thank you.

Our Department is strictly Volunteer.  Our pay encouragement and co-operation." (November 4, 1921) tm

1921, Town Board votes to rent front of Harris' garage for "fire department and fire truck" at $12.50 per month.  Board members also vote that a fire alarm system be purchased at a cost not to exceed $385 and that two [fire] stations be arranged for. (December 1, 1921) tm

1922, report to Town Board from Chief of Fire Department:

  • Number of members: 19
  • Elected during year: 1
  • Total membership: 2
     
  • Number of companies in dept.: 2
  • Number of members belonging to NC State Fireman's Association: 2
     
  • Number of fire alarms answered during year: 5
  • Number of false alarms answered during year: 1
  • Total number of alarms answered during year: 6
     
  • Value of property at risk: $21,750.00
  • Damage to property by fire: $21450.00
  • Insurance on property lost: $7,000.00
  • Value of property saved: $15,500.00. (January 4, 1923) tm

1922, Town Board instructs Fire Chief to investigate different fire alarm systems and their costs and to report back before the end of the extension of the 30 days allowed for trial of the present systems. (February 2, 1922) tm

1923, Town Board instructs Fire Chief to order and have installed [Gamewell electric telegraph] fire alarm system and have installed four fire alarm [boxes].  Fire Chief is also instructed to contact contractor of new school building, so schoolhouse is wired for fire alarms on each floor. (January 4, 1923) tm

1925, Town Board votes that fire department members be given their street and poll taxes.  Board members also authorize purchase of nozzle for fire hose. (February 5, 1925) tm

mid-1920's, fire department becomes motorized.  First fire truck is old Westcott automobile purchased from John Brewer and converted by firefighters into a combination chemical and hose wagon. The top is cut off of the car, a bed is constructed for hose, a basket is installed to hold chemical tanks, and provisions are made for carrying ladders.ebf

1926, Town Board hears request of J. C. Taylor for fire box in eastern front of Town.  Matter is postponed for further investigation. (July 1, 1926) tm

1926, Town Board votes that fire alarm box be placed at corner of 6th Street and Rolesville Road. (July 6, 1926) tm

1926, Sanborn Fire Insurance map dated April 1926 summarizes fire department as "

  • Volunteer, consisting of 20 men.
  • One chief and one assistant.
  • One fire station equipped with one Wescott truck, with American LaFrance combination hose and chemical equipment.
  • 1000' 2 1/2" hose, one 60 gallon chemical tank and 200' chemical hose, two hand reels with 500' 2 1/2" hose each.
  • Two 24' extension ladders, one roof ladder.
  • 500' 2 1/2" reserve hose.
  • Gamewell fire alarm system. 11 boxes, ringing 11 alarms in homes of firemen."

Map shows fire station at 59 S. White Street, just south of Owen

Three buildings burn in Wake Forest. Three buildings, housing two cafes and the town's only movie theater, are destroyed by a late morning fire. Discovered about 11:00 a.m., the flames also consume a pair of barbershops housed in the second stories of two of the buildings. The Raleigh Fire Department is "summoned immediately," arriving at the college town in a mere 17 minutes. They aid Wake Forest firefighters in "checking the flames" and preventing their spread to other structures. Total damage is estimated at between $40,000 and $50,000.. (Nearly all of the fixtures of H.E. Joyner's luncheonette are rescued; the other two buildings are "but superficially furnished.") Wake Forest is located 18.94 miles from Raleigh. The fire department's 17-minute run averages 66.93 mph. Reference: "News & Observer," April 23, 1927. (April 22, 1927).

1927, Town Board votes to thank Raleigh and Franklinton fire departments for recent help.  Sum of $25 to be sent to Raleigh and $10 to Franklinton as tokens of appreciation.  Fire Chief is authorized to write letter of thanks. (May 5, 1927) tm

1927, Town Board orders $60.09 to be collected from Mr. Wisehers (?) for damage to fire alarm box from automobile.  Board members also:

  • order fire alarm box transferred to corner of Main and Owen streets on motion of R. W. Wickinson
  • allows each fire department member street and poll tax
  • allows each fire department member $1 for each fire alarm attended and 50 cents for each drill, not exceeding four times per year. (August 4, 1927) tm

1929, members of "committee on building a garage to store fire trucks" reports favorably to Town Board. (June 6, 1929) tm

1929, T.M. Arrington again appointed Fire Chief. (June 6, 1929) tm

1929, fire station building committee reports that a facility can be constructed for $1,500.  Town Board says they'll proceed when sufficient funds are in hand. (July 5, 1929) tm

1929, Fire Chief makes statement to Town Board regarding necessity of purchasing additional fire house. (November 7, 1929)

1930-1939

1930, fire department budget for 1930-31:tm

Rent  $180.00
Supplies  $25.00
Fire Calls  $180.00
Firemen exempt poll tax  $44.00
Firemen exempt street tax  $66.00
Truck Keeper  24.00

1930, contract awarded for construction of municipal building at corner of Brooks and Owen streets.  Basement includes garage for fire department. (August 8, 1930) tm

1933, J. L. Taylor appointed Fire Chief. (May 4, 1933) tm

1933, Walt Hall at Wake Forest College destroyed by fire.  Administration building of school burns about 3:00 a.m.  Building, valued at about $150,000, is oldest at college, constructed in 1835 of brick manufacture red locally by slaves.  Both the local fire departments and special detachments from Raleigh and Louisburg fight fire.. (May 5, 1933) 06may33

1933, high school building destroyed by fire.  Fire starts shortly before midnight.  Loss is estimated at $60,000.  Blaze is well beyond control when discovered.  Efforts of local firefighters are futile.  The building was believed locked and unoccupied at the time of the fire.. (May 31, 1933) no01jun33

1933, Town Board approves reimbursement of expenses of J. L. Taylor and P. M. Utley for fire school in Wilmington, May 9 through May 11, for amount totaling $25.00. (May 4, 1933) tm

1933, Mayor instructed to wire American LaFrance and request extension of privilege for canceling contract for purchase of repossessed fire truck. (July 1933) tm

1933, Mayor reports to Town Board that American LaFrance advised that the repossessed fire truck had been sold prior to execution of the contract. (July 31, 1933) tm

1934, Wingate Hall at Wake Forest College destroyed by fire.  Blaze is discovered about 2:00 a.m. and has gained enough headway that combined efforts of Wake Forest and Raleigh fire departments cannot save the structure.  Damage is estimated at approximately $65,000.  Wingate Hall is the College's oldest building, as its first building, Walt Hall, burned down last spring. (February 14, 1934) no15feb34

1934, Hunter Dormitory at Wake Forest College suffers suspicious fire.  Wad of burning paper found stuffed under the floor at the south end of the building at 3:00 a.m. (February 20, 1934) no21feb34

1934, Wake Forest Golf Club clubhouse burns.  Building is destroyed in early  morning fire and believed of incendiary origin. (March 2, 1934) no03mar34

1934, Town Board begins discussions of purchasing fire truck with Barton pump, 500 GPM, on Chevrolet chassis. (October 20, 1934) tm

1935, Town Board reports that Wake Forest College has agreed to pay one-half of net amount of firefighting equipment.  Mayor and Fire Chief authorized to purchase fire truck with Barton Pump, 400 GPM, on Chevrolet chassis.  Cost $1524.68. (February 16, 1935) tm

1935, Town Board appoints committee to purchase 500 feet of fire hose for fire truck. (December 5, 1935) tm

1936, Sanborn Fire Insurance map update dated October 1936 summarizes fire department as "

  • Volunteer
  • One chief, one assistant chief, and 27 men
  • No paid men on duty
  • One station
  • One Chevrolet truck, 1935 model, equipped with Barton pump, capacity 400 gallons per minute, one 150 gallon booster tank with 200' 1 1/2" hose and 1,200' 2 1/2" hose
  • 800' 2 1/2" hose in reserve on rack
  • Gamewell fire alarm system. 13 boxes. Alarm is sounded by electric siren
  • Fire alarm headquarters located in Town Hall. (brick building). Alarm in each fireman's home."

Town water supply has "3 miles of pipe" and "50 hydrants."

1937, Town Treasurer instructed to pay firemen's per capita tax in sum of $16.50. (December 2, 1937) tm

1937, Town Board appoints committee to investigate cost of constructing both a steel box to store rubber boots, coats, and other "wearing apparel" and a rack for hose for the fire truck. (December 2, 1937) tm

1940-1949

1941, Town Board votes to pay Fire Chief salary of $50 per year plus regular fireman's compensation.  Also, F. R. Keith appointed Fire Chief. (July 10, 1941) tm

1942, train derails downtown.  Southbound Seaboard passenger train strikes Staudt Bakery truck, killing driver, setting fire to vehicle, and causing locomotive to derail and nearly strike the same drug store struck by a train 14 years earlier. A newspaper account notes "bread was strewn up and down the track for 50 yards." (January 15, 1942)

1942, Town Board votes to purchase compressed air whistle, cost $1025.00 installed.  Board members also vote to purchase 300 feet of fire hose at $1.00 foot. (April 2, 1942) tm

1942, Town Board appoints committee to investigate "advisability of encouraging the formation of a Colored Volunteer Fire Company". (May 7, 1942) tm

1942, Town Board orders Captain of Public Works to build shed to house fire hose on town property near water tank on east side of railroad tracks. (June 4, 1942)tm

1942, Town Board votes to appropriate $80 for two firemen to attend the State Firemen's Convention in Greensboro and $10 for two firemen to attend the Colored Firemen's State Convention in Warrenton. (August 6, 1942)tm

1942, Town Board appoints committee to investigate and act upon payment of $1.75 each for 15 members of Colored Fire Company to state association for membership and insurance. (September 3, 1942) tm

1943, Town Board appoints committee to purchase fire truck for Colored Fire Company. (April 1, 1943) tm

1943, Town Board orders $11 paid to R.W. Wilkinson for damages done to his automobile by fire truck. (May 6, 1943) tm

1943, Building Inspector reports that, for fiscal year ending June 30, 1943, town has 577 houses and two bulk gas plants. (June 30, 1943) tm

1943, Town Board directs Fire Chief to have "Colored Fireman's truck" started and inspected each day and to ensure that the truck is kept in good condition.  The annual sum of $60.00 is allocated for this task. (August 5, 1943) tm

1944, Town Board orders

  • four tires for Fire Truck #2
  • fifty-cent registration fee for each 14 members of Fire Company #2
  • colored firemen be paid on same basis as white firemen. (July 6, 1944)tm

1944, proposed fire department budget. (September 29, 1944):

  1942-43 1943-44 1944-45
Wages of Fireman $237.75 $536.25 $550.00
Supplies 568.28 86.18 800.00
Convention & Fire School Expenses 67.28 38.84 100.00
Per Capita Tax 41.25 24.00 40.00
Servicing Colored Fire Truck   82.13 100.00
Salary of Service Man   50.00 60.00

1945, Town Board appoints committee to have Fire Truck #2 converted / repaired. (July 5, 1945) tm

1946, Sanborn Fire Insurance map update dated January 1946 updates prior map information with"

  • 22 men
  • 2 stations
  • Barton pump capacity of 500 GPM
  • Gamewell fire alarm system of 19 boxes
  • Also colored volunteer fire department, 12 men, and Chevrolet truck with 800' 2 1/2" hose.

Map shows fire truck storage building on lot behind drugstore on south side of Main Street, west of Cross Street. [ First location of Station 2 ? ]

1946, Town Board votes to permit Fire Company #2 to sponsor a carnival for fund-raising.  Town to provide electricity, provided a suitable transformer can be obtained. (August 1, 1946) tm

1947, Town Board orders fire box placed near home of Mrs. L.T. Wilson.  Board also orders that when Fire Truck #1 leaves town, Fire Truck #2 proceed immediately to municipal building for local calls until return of Fire Truck #1. (May 1, 1947) tm

1947, Town Board approves Fire Company #2 sponsorship of carnival on same basis as last year. (August 7, 1947)tm

1948, apparatus delivery:  1947 Chevrolet / American / Barton pumper purchased by Town.  1934 Chevrolet pumper sent to Fire Department #2

1950-1959

1953, apparatus delivery: 1951 Chevrolet / American pumper with front-mounted Barton pump purchased by Town. Also, 1934 Chevrolet pumper sold to town of Sanford and eventually ends in small town near Spartanburg, SC, and is still in service as of February 1972

1956, group of citizens meet at Town Hall to organize rural fire department.  Elected / appointed officers include President R. A. Keith and Fire Chief Willis H. Winston.  Fire district is named Wakette Fire Protection District. (April 10, 1956)

1956, rural fire department incorporated as Wake Forest Rural Fire Department, Inc. (April 24, 1956) sos

1956, first fire truck for rural department is 1942 Chevy 1 1/2 ton pumper purchased as Civil Defense surplus for $100 fdr

1958, Fire Chief of Rural Department is Albert Perrywcfa

1960-1969

1966, rural fire department relocates to 352 South White Street.

1966, eight Seaboard Air Line Railroad cars derail just south of town and burn.  Three tank cars of turpentine catch fire and spread to two piggy-back truck cars. Afternoon fire sends columns of thick black of smoke into sky over 40 to 50 foot flames.  Firefighters from Wake Forest, New Hope, Durham Highway, Rolesville, and Raleigh battle blaze.  Foam unit from Raleigh is called but proves ineffective. (April 23, 1966) no24apr66

1966, Forest Theater on White Street burns.  Blaze is discovered about 10:15 a.m. by clerk in hardware store directly across the street from the theater.  Theater is gutted and three smaller shops are slightly damaged.  Firefighters from Rolesville, New Hope, Youngsville, Bay Leaf, Stony Hill, and Raleigh assist, bringing blaze under control by 11:20 a.m.  One fireman is injured, losing tip end of finger when caught in some equipment during the firefighting.  Two others are treated for smoke inhalation on scene. (July 1, 1966) no02ju66

1968, eight Seaboard Coast Line freight cars derail on curve just south of Juniper Street grade crossing at approximately 5:03 a.m. (February 1968)

1968, apparent boiler explosion destroys building at Marshall Dairy. Fire is confined to building. (September 1968)

1969, apparatus delivery: Chevrolet brush truck, 200 gallons, 350 GPM.  Cost about $10,000

1970-1979

1970, Ray Tire Service tire recapping plant on North White Street burns. Fire is reported about 2:30 p.m. (July 1970)

1971, Town board agrees to replace 20-phone alarm system with 36-phone system and enters cost-sharing agreement with rural fire department. (December 1971)

1972, apparatus delivery:  1973 Bean pumper equipped with high-pressure fog, purchased by Southeastern Seminar and given to Town . (February 1972)

1972, fire department open house held. (May 7, 1972) fdr

1973, Stewarts Cafe, Linda's Hair Stylin' Shop, and the Masonic Lodge Hall in downtown Youngsville burn. Fire department assists Youngsville and Forestville at 8:55 p.m. fire. (May 1973)

1973, Town fire department moves into leased service station on 300 block of South White St., next to rural fire station.  Building is renovated by firefighters who clear inside of building and install four new bay doors. (April 1973) ww

1974, Jack O' Diamonds at intersection of US. 401 and NC. 98 burns. Fire occurs approximately 3 a.m. Firemen and eight trucks respond from Wake Forest, Rolesville, and Youngsville. (February 1974)

1974, live burn conducted at house on E. Spring Street. (July 1974)fdr

1974, Amtrak train detrains on curve behind Athey Products plant at about 8 p.m., minutes after passing through Wake Forest  Eight cars of the Silver Star, traveling from New York to Miami, jump the track, injuring 28 of 270 passengers.  Rescue squads respond from Wake Forest, Youngsville, Franklinton, Bunn, Zebulon, Louisburg, Cary, New Hope, as well as ambulances from Raleigh and Wake Forest. Only one of the injured passengers is hospitalized. The cause of the derailment is not immediately known. (August 1974) ww

1975, Greenview Apartments across from Seminary burn. Fire breaks out about 1:30 p.m. Fire contained to two rooms in vacant apartment. (February 6, 1975)

1975, four cabins at Durham YMCA camp off Highway 98 burn. Fire reported at 2 or 2:30 p.m. (August 21, 1975)

1975, live burn conducted at house on N. Taylor St. (October 1975)fdr

1975, freight train caboose catches fire. Seaboard Coast Line train stops behind Howard Mangum's house on US1A. Fire spreads to adjoining freight car. (November 1, 1975)

1976, home economics building at Wake Forest-Rolesville Junior High School destroyed by fire. Interior damage estimated at $10,000. Falls and Wake Forest fire departments spend two and a half hours battling blaze. (May 6, 1976)

1977, fire department purchases 25 pagers.  Each Motorola unit, including pager, charger, and amplifier, costs $285.00.  Firefighters use money from fundraising projects to purchase pagers.  Wake County matching grant program provides 35 percent of the funds.  Firefighters are currently alerted using special phone system.  Single phone call made at police station reaches 36 firefighters simultaneously. (November 1977) ww

1978, natural gas line ruptures at intersection of US 1 and US 1A.  Bulldozer strikes line about 11 a.m.  Repairs completed by 1:20 p.m. (August 24, 1978)ww

1978, Bruce Keith appointed acting Fire Chief of Rural department. (September 1, 1978)

1978, third annual Northern Wake Fire-Rescue Day held.  Wake Forest Rural, Stony Hill, Falls, Rolesville, and Wake Forest Rescue sponsor the event.  Events include parade of 85 fire and rescue vehicles and 26 bands, starting at 10:30 a.m. (September 7, 1978)ww

1978, Jerry Carter elected Fire Chief of Rural fire department. (October 23, 1978)

1978, fire department fish fry held.  Even sponsored by Rural fire department. (October 27, 1978)

1978, Great American Mercantile Building in downtown Wake Forest burns.  Firefighters contain fire and damage to two of three stories.  Building is located at corner of White Street and Roosevelt Avenue.  Wake Forest Fire Departments #1 and #2 respond along with Rolesville Fire Department. (November 27, 1978)ww

1978, duplex on Nelson Street burns.  Handicapped resident rescued by firefighters. (December 3, 1978)ww

1978, fire alarm siren discontinued.

1979, Mill Outlet Village on US1 south of Wake Forest destroyed by fire. Seven rural fire departments are called. Damage is estimated at $300,00. (January 6, 1979)

1979, Sanctuary of Oak Grove Baptist church just north of Franklin County line burns. Eleven rural fire departments and 125-150 firemen on scene. (January 16, 1979)

1979 apparatus delivery: FMC / Bean pumper, 1000 GPM, 750 gallons delivered to Rural department.  Replaces 1964 pumper. (February 12, 1979)

1979, Wake Forest Hotel at 608 S. Main Street burns. (April 13, 1979)

1979, natural gas line punctured just north of US 1 and US 1A intersection.  Highway is closed and 100 employees evacuated from nearby Huyck Corporate plant. (June 8, 1979) rt

1979, fire department assists when old Youngsville Milling Company warehouse is destroyed by fire. (August 21, 1979)

1979, Massey Apartments on North Allen Road burn. (August 26, 1979)

1979, Bruce Keith appointed acting Fire Chief of Rural department. (November 18, 1979)ww

1980-1989

1980, fire at Burlington Industries destroys $150,000 worth of pollution control equipment. Fire spotted about 5:30 p.m. (January 9, 1980)

1980, live burn conducted at old General Cleaners building on Waite Avenue. (March 16, 1980)

1980, apparatus delivery:  1980 (?) FMC / Beach pumper, 750 gallon, 1000 GPM for Town department. Southeastern Seminary contributes to fire department by paying principal on the debt, totaling $70,000.  Town pays interest. (July 1980) ww17jul80

1980, Fireman's Day celebration held.  Event begins with parade featuring two Wake Forest police cars riding in tandem, a color guard and two marching units of the Civil Air Patrol, the Pershing Rifle Team from NCSU, the 82nd Airborne Band from Fort Bragg, the Wake Forest-Rolesville High School Marching Band, Miss Wake Forest 1981, assorted other Queens, the Wake Forest Twirlettes, assorted local officials and officers, Girl Scouts, Brownies, and Cub Scouts, Wake Forest Rescue Squad along with medical units from Butner and Youngville, Wake County Sherffis' Department, Smokey Bear, and fire units from Stony Hill, Warrenton Rural, New Hope, Youngsville, Bay Leaf, Louisburg, Rolesville, Knightdale, Falls, Creedmoor, and South Boston, VA. (October 11, 1980) ww

1980, classroom trailer burns at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School.  Fire is reported at 11:20 p.m.  Damage is estimated at $1,000. (November 14, 1980) ww

1980, fire department participates in search for missing boy. Two-year-old is later found dead from exposure, three days after wandering away from northern Wake County home.  Searchers include firefighters from Stony Hill, Rolesville, and Wake Forest.  More than 600 people become involved, along with tracking dogs and a helicopter. (December 1980) ww

1981, apparatus delivery: 1977 Ford pick-up truck purchased used for conversion to brush truck. (February 1981)

1981, fire department assists Youngsville when seed-cleaning plant leased by Youngsville Milling Company burns. (June 12, 1981)

1981, explosion and fire cause $200,000 damage at North Star Chrysler-Plymouth building on US1 late in afternoon. Four departments respond-- New Hope, Wake Forest, Falls, and Rolesville.  Explosion occurs about 5 p.m.  Workers hear sound "like a sonic boom," go to rear of building, and discover flames from the furnace area.  No new cars are damaged, thanks to passers-by who stop to help move the automobiles away from the fire. (July 2, 1981) ww

1981, rural fire department proposes providing fire protection for town on contract basis.  Impetus is that rural department stands to lose large parts of tax base as town annexes area. According to figures in an annexation study, the rural fire district would lose about $30 million in tax base when the Town annexes south to Chappell Ford.  Additional. another $10 to $15 million in tax base will be lost when the town annexes to the West. Fire Chief Donnie Hight makes presentation to Town Board, noting both Town and rural fire stations sit side-by-side and that the same chief and personnel serve both departments. (August 13, 1981) ww

1981, firefighters and Town officials begin discussions  on contract, cost, service, and merger issues, per Chief Hight's August 13th proposal. (August 31, 1981) ww

1981, firefighters and Town officials agree to combine fire departments, to merge the rural and Town fire districts governed by a board of directors with equal representation from both rural and Town areas.  Both areas will contribute to the fire budget based on their proportional shares of the tax base.  In recent inventory of equipment, apart from the buildings, both departments are about equal.  At present replacement value, Town fire department has $152,000 worth of equipment and the rural fire department has $130,000 worth.  Benefits from the proposed merger include the ability of the merged department to fight fires from the Franklin County line to the Neuse River and greater water availability with quick-dump tankers, in lieu of the Town's poor water pressure.  Detailed planning to begin after both boards agree. (September 1981) ww

1981, fire department assists Forestville at house fire. (December 5, 1981)fdr

1982, rural fire department amends charter so it can serve Town and has power to lease, rent, purchase, and convey. (January 1982) ww

1982, apparatus dedication: 1981 FMC / Slagle tanker, 1,500 gallons.  Cost $56,000.  Delivered to rural department. (February 28, 1982) ww

1982, rural fire department approves formal proposal for Town to contract fire protection, to be presented to Town board at later date. (March 21, 1982) ww

1982, live burn conducted at Holding Farm. (July 1982)fdr

1982, formal proposal made to Town Board, calling for Town to contract fire protection from rural fire department.  The department would lease all Town fire equipment for $1 a year, while the Town would pay the department a descending amount each year for fire protection.  A reorganized Board of Directions, including one member appointed by the Town board, would run the department.  Town and rural fire district residents would be able to vote for two of the six directors.  Benefits noted include cost savings in lessened administrative costs and double payments no longer required for insurance, workmen's compensation, and pension funds.  The rural department can also purchase pagers and radio equipment through the County with matching funds, which the Town cannot.  Both fire districts are overdue for new insurance ratings and proposal would likely lower the town rating of "8" and the rural rating of "9" to a combined "6," translating to lower insurance rates for home owners.  The rural department's tankers would also combat the Town's serious hydrant problems, though the Town is making progress installing new water lines and upgrading older lines. (August 3, 1982) ww

1982, Town board discusses rural fire department proposal, but disagrees with proposed restructure of governing board..  Members set September 2 for another workshop meeting. (August 12, 1982) ww

1982, Town Administrator reports to Town Board that the costs of fire protection would be shifted to town taxpayers under the proposed rural department plan.  Because of the cost shift, he recommends against any contract or consolidation unless there is a sharper definition of the fire service to be provided. (September 1982) ww09sep82

1983, former fire station on Taylor Street burns.  Someone is seen running from the building just before the fire is discovered, having apparently started inside the building against an inside wall.  The evening blaze is discovered at 9:29 p.m.  Twenty-six firefighters use 1,200 gallons of water.  Fire is contained before destroying the building, though the former quarters of Wake Forest's second municipal fire department is declared a total loss. (February 2, 1983) ww

1983, Wake Forest Child Care Center at 325 N. College destroyed by fire. Blaze is reported at 6:47 p.m., less than an hour after the owner left with the last child of the day.  Nearly the entire house is involved before firefighters arrive.  Fire is fifth mysterious fire since first of year. (February 17, 1983) ww

1983, town and rural fire departments merge. Wake Forest and Wakette fire districts are merged.  Wake Forest Fire Department Incorporated is chartered. Town became first municipality in state to contract fire protection to another agency.  Contract race is $0.05 cents per $100 valuation and department receives $24,000 for 1983-84 fiscal year under $0.86 tax rate for town. (July 1, 1983).

1983, land for new fire station purchased on Franklin Street.

1984, empty mobile home in Lake Forest Estates destroyed by fire. (January 1984)

1984, firefighters called to reported house fire at 311 W. Chestnut Street. Reported room full of candles turns out to be single candle in bathroom that gave impression of leaping flames when viewed through frosted window.  Firefighters damage a window pane at back door to gain entry to residence. (February 1984)

1984, Rolesville Market and Supply Company burns. Fire is spotted by passing motorist and believed started by someone climbing upon roof and pouring petroleum substance through bathroom vent and igniting it.  One firefighter is slightly injured when Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Keith is hit by a passing car.  His leg is bruised. (February 27, 1984)

1984, propane leaks from home tank on SR 1923. Firefighters remove tank, place in field, and cool escaping gas with water until tank is empty. (March 8, 1984)

1984, fire department holds Spring Fish Fry. (April 27, 1984)

1984, Wake Forest Machine Service at 502 S. White Street burns.  Fire in roof is under control in 15 minutes. (May 1, 1984) rt

1984, ladies auxiliary formed to help firemen by providing food and drinks at major fires and assisting with fund raising. (July 1984)

1984, fire department insurance classification rating lowered to Class 5.  Previously, the Town was rated Class 8 and the rural district Class 9AA/9A. (July 1984)

1984, live burn conducted at house on US 1 south. (September 1984) fdr

1984, fire department assists Rolesville at house fire on SR 2053. (October 1, 1984)

1984, woman burned throwing gasoline on already lit fire in wood heater.  Jaunita Gill Perry suffers burns to legs, chest, neck, and face while trying to "speed up" the fire.  Firefighters find back portion of home on E. Nelson St. aflame upon arrival around 7:30 p.m.  The elderly victim is alert when transported to the hospital. (October 1984)

1984, fire department fish fry held. (November 9, 1984)

1984, mobile home in Marshall Village east of US 1 destroyed by fire. (November 11, 1984)

1984, mobile home on 600 block of E. Nelson Street destroyed by fire. (November 17, 1984)

1984, fire department assists Rolesville with house fire. (November 19, 1984)

1984, sulfuric acid leaks from railroad car near crossing with Holden Farm Road. One employee of Seaboard Railroad is burned by the acid but not seriously injured.  Spill occurs about 7:15 a.m. (November 24, 1984)

1984, one-car accident on section of old NC 98 near Falls Lake traps driver for 13 hours. Accident occurs on dead-end road, when driver gets lost looking for Interstate 85 and drives through barriers marking the end of the road and into a dirk embankment.  His 1977 Volkswagen flips over upon hitting the embankment.  Accident occurs about 10 p.m. and driver is found about 11 a.m. the next day when an Army Corps of Engineer employee at Falls Lake spots the car. (November 26, 1984)

1984, mobile home at 410 E. Pine Street destroyed by fire. (December 3, 1983)ww

1984, house adjacent to Wake Forest Country Club burns.  Fire apparently begins in dog house and does extensive damage to rear exterior of home.  Fire is reported at 12:53 p.m. (December 25, 1984)

1985, fire department assists Bunn when Linda's Country Kitchen burns.  Wake Forest breathing truck responds. (January 1985)ww

1985, fire department assists Franklin County with woods fire.  Blaze destroys between 200 to 400 acres from SR 1108 southeast to SR1111.  Firefighters from ten departments fight fire which starts at about 11:30 a.m.  Youngsville is initially dispatched and later assisted by Franklinton, Bunn, Mitchiner's Crossroads, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Louisberg, Justice, Pilot, and Centerville.  Stony Hill stands by at Franklinton fire station.  Two Forestry Service tractors are utilized, as are several more privately owned bulldozers.  Residents of Loop Road and US 401 are evacuated. Fire is brought under control by 6 p.m. (March 12, 1985)ww

1985, wood frame-enclosed mobile home in Lake Forest Estates off US1A burns.  Firefighters from Wake Forest, Falls, Rolesville, Stony Hill, and Youngsville respond.  Fire is under control within 20 minutes. (March 29, 1985)ww

1985, fire department fish fry held.  Ladies Auxiliary also holds bake sale. (April 19, 1985)fdr

1985, fire department assists Rolesville with house fire on SR 2051 off US 401. (April 1985)

1985, live burn conducted at former home of Faith Tabernacle United Holy Church and later Spring Street United Church of Christ. (May 1985)ww

1985, live burn conducted at Barracktown.  Firefighters from Wake Forest, Youngsville, Rolesville, New Hope, Falls, and Stony Hill participate in the burning of the old Army barracks. (June 1985)

1985, natural gas line ruptures on Seventh Street. Nearby residents are evacuated.  Firefighters from Wake Forest, Youngsville, Stony Hill, and Falls take turns standing by in 90 degree heat.  Some firefighters use cigarette filters as ear plugs. (July 1985)ww

1985, junior firefighter division started for 16 to 18 year-olds. (August, 1985)

1985, Town commissioners approve funding of study to determine fire department needs. (September 1985)ww

1985, live burn conducted on Barracktown structures. (September 1985)

1985, house transported on trailer burns on US 1 one mile north of the County line.  Both Youngsville and Wake Forest respond.  Fire takes about 45 minutes to control. (September 1985)

1985, groundbreaking ceremony held for new fire station.  Construction expected to take about 180 days.  Cost is around $450,000. (November 10, 1985)ww

1985, fire department fish fry held. (November 15, 1985)fdr

1985, fire department assists Youngsville with house fire on SR 1161. Firefighters from Youngsville, Wake Forest, Franklinton, and Falls fight fire for about five hours. (December 20, 1985)ww

1985, mobile home destroyed by fire. Blaze apparently starts by children playing with matches. (December 24, 1985) ww

1986, old fire station placed for sale. Seal bids with a minimum of $160,000 to be opened on February 28, 1986

1986, new fire station completed at 430 E. Elm Street. (May 1986)

1986, fire station dedicated.  Ceremony starts at 2:30 p.m. (June 22, 1986) fdr

1986, Fire Chief is Donnie Hight. (June 22, 1986)

1988, Tornado strikes eastern Wake County about 1:30 a.m.  Funnel cuts northeast path between Wake Forest and Rolesville, almost parallel to US 401.  At least one Wake Forest resident is critically injured when their mobile home at intersection of Ligon Mill and Burlington Mill roads is lifted into the air and crashed into the ground on the other side of the road, reports the December 1 edition of The Wake Weekly. (November 28, 1988) ww

1989, apparatus delivery:  FMC pumper, placed in service as Engine 61. (Spring 1989)fdr

1990-1999

1992, fire department fish fry held. (November 20, 1992) fdr

1996, Baptist Seminary physical plant building on Wingate Road destroyed by fire. Second oldest building on Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary campus catches fire at 3:56 a.m.  Seven-alarm fire causes nearly one million dollars damage to two-story building.  Cause of blaze is leaky pipe that short-circuited electrical system, which ignited blaze. The building was erected in 1923.  More than 70 firefighters battle blaze. (June 17, 1996) no17jun96, 18jun96

2000-present

2000, First Responder service started for County calls.ww

2001, Station #2 completed on Ligon Mill Rd. Building includes 800-square foot suite leased by Wake Forest Police Department as substation. (February, 2001)

2001, Station #2 dedicated. Ceremony starts at 2:00 p.m. (April 8, 2001) fdr

2002, Engine #63 overturns on Christmas Day while responding to a fire alarm activation at a home on Kimball Ridge at 1:20 p.m.  While en route from Station #1, the pumper slips off the shoulder of Ligon Mill Road, continues sliding off the roadway due to wet soil, strikes a concrete culvert, and becomes airborne.  Three firefighters are injured after the 40,000-pound fire truck flips two and a half times. The most seriously injured is Thomas Howell , with a broken left leg, left arm, and right wrist.   Shawn Thomas is also hospitalized at Wake Medical Center with a broken leg. A third firefighter, Jeremy Blake, is treated and released at the scene.  Fire Chief Jimmy Keith requests mutual aid.  Rolesville answers the fire alarm and Bay Leaf, Falls, New Hope, and Stony Hill stand by to assist as needed.  The 1996 E-One pumper, 1500 GPM, 1000 gallons, is the sister truck to Engine #65, also quartered at Station #1.  Both were delivered in July, 1996. The replacement cost of the fire engine is about $350,000. (December 25, 2002) ww02jan03, oh

Vehicles

See Wake County apparatus register.

Sources
  • cfd Cary Fire Department records
  • dah NC Department of Archives and History
  • ebf Early Black Firefighters of North Carolina, http://members.aol.com/fireriter1/
  • fdr Fire department records
  • oh Oral history
  • rt Raleigh Times
  • tm Town Minutes
  • sos NC Department of the Secretary of State
  • wcfa Wake County Firemen's Association records
  • ww Wake Weekly

Last updated: June 20, 2004


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Copyright 2014 by Michael J. Legeros