Oak View Fire Department History

Research notes on the history of the Oak View Fire Department in Guilford County, which protected the Oakview community just outside the old city limits of High Point. They were chartered in 1952, started operating in 1955/56, and merged with the city on January 1, 1960. 

Newspaper Citations

See some of these articles in this Google Drive folder.

1952 to 1954

  • 1952, May 01 – HPE story about plans for organizing fire protection for the Oakview Community.
  • 1952, May 30 – N&O story about new corporations and certification of incorporation filed yesterday for Oakview Fire Protective Association, Inc.

1955 to 1959

  • 1955, Aug 01 – GR story about county (?) board approving $5,000 loan, for fire truck purchase.
  • 1956, Jan 07 – GR story about OVFD fighting a woods fire.
  • 1956, Mar 25 – HPE story about OVFD. It’s been partially operational for several months, though it has been chartered for years. By April 1, some 50 volunteers will have completed training. The organization has 292 “members” or property owners paying subscription fees. They hope membership will eventually include all of the 1500 homes in the area. They have a 1956 Ford/Oren pumper that cost about $10,000. It’s housed at a service station on Old Winston Road, but a station will be erected near Oak View School, on land donated by the Oak View Lions Club. The Fire Chief hasn’t been named, but four captains have been named.
  • 1956, Nov 06 – GDN story noting Jodson Ruth is Chief of OVFD and also president of the county fire association.
  • 1956, Nov 25 – GDN story about OVFD participating in a parade.
  • 1956, Dec 19 – GDN story about OVFD using its pumper to provide pressure to a hospital water system, that was stricken with water problems.
  • 1956? 1957? – Fire station erected at 513 Oakview Road. One-story structure with two bays and 1,900 square-feet.
  • 1958, Sep 28 – GDN story about OVFD fighting a house fire.
  • 1959, Feb 10 – GDN story about OVFD Fire Chief E. J. Ruth elected president of the Guilford County Fire Protective Association.
  • 1959, Jun 13 – GDN story about upcoming annexation and impact on rural departments: 10-A FD, Guil-Rand FD, and Oak View FD.
  • 1959, May 22 – GDN story about OVFD fighting a house fire.
  • 1959, Aug 30 – GDN story about recommended city payment of $25,000 for purchase of OVFD station.
  • 1959, Oct 09 – GDN story about HPFD budget request that includes purchase of OVFD station.
  • 1959, Dec 16 – GDN story about City Council approving payment of $25,000 for purchase of OVFD station and equipment. Includes the land, the building, a pumper, a 1,600-gallon tanker, and “some equipment.”  

1960 to 1964

  • 1960, Jan 01 – City limits expand by 19.6 square miles and adding some 16,000 people. Annexed areas include OVFD response area, as well as “rural districts” covered by 10-A, Deep Gap, and Guil-Rand fire departments. City enters fire protection agreements with the three FDs, for contracted fire protection until city can take over response areas. 
  • 1960, Jan 01 – GDN story about HPFD personnel officially taking over OVFD.
  • 1960, Jan 06 – GDN story about architect hired to enlarge the old OVFD station, recently purchased by the city, along with trucks and equipment. An additional 2,900 square-feet will be added to the 1,600 square-foot building, adding a dormitory room, locker and bath, kitchen-dining area, class room, captain’s office, watch desk, storage, and boiler room.
  • 1960, Feb 03 – HPE story about two newly promoted captains named for HPFD Station 5. The station is manned by five privates and two captains, and needs three more “to make it a full engine company.” 
  • 1960, Sep 07 – HPE story about city terminating fire protection contracts at end of month with 10-A FD and Deep River FD. Also, city has recently acquired a 1,500 gallon tanker. Also, city has two tankers, on at “city hall station” and second, 1,500 gallon tanker at Oak View station [Station 5]. Prior contracts with Guil-Rand FD and 10-A FD expired on June 30.
  • 1961, Mar 02 – HPE listing of real estate transfers, noting Oakview Fire Protective Association Inc. to the City of High Point, for the Oakview Road lot.
  • 1963, Jun 14 – Articles of incorporation filed for Oakview Community Service Corporation, the purpose of which includes managing “all assets formerly belonging to the Oakview Fire Protective Association, Inc.” The incorporators include former OVFD Fire Chief E. Judson Ruth.
  • 1964, Jun 14 – HPE story about the Oakview Community Service Corporation, which was formerly the “fire organization,” setting up scholarships for “outstanding students” of the community, using the earnings from monies received when the OVFD station and equipment was sold to the city.

Other Information

This photo from 1965 appeared in a collection of historical articles and photos compiled by High Point Fire Department Ken Norman circa 2005, via High Point Museum.


  • GDN – Greensboro Daily News
  • GR – Greensboro Record
  • HPE – High Point Enterprise
  • N&O – News & Observer (Raleigh)
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Wake County Ambulance Colors

Random chart. Ambulance colors of Wake County, past ‘n’ present. See this Facebook page for reference pictures. And which agencies are still operating? Exactly one[1]. Wake County EMS.

[1] Yes, “Raleigh Rescue” is still operating, but it’s been decades since they transported patients.

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SAFRE 2021 – The 100 Year Report

One-hundred years and two weeks ago, the 34th annual convention of the North Carolina State Firefighter’s Association opened in Gastonia (pop. 12,871 in 1920). The three-day event was preceded by a reception for delegates and visiting tournament teams on Monday, August 22. The convention formally opened at 11:00 a.m. the following day, at the Gaston County Courthouse. On Wednesday, August 24, another business session was held, followed by a picnic and luncheon on South Street and Franklin Avenue, as well as baseball at Loray Park. The next day, and the last day of the event, tournament contests were held on Broad Street and Second Avenue, starting at 9:00 a.m.

Here are some highlights of the three-day event:


Tuesday, August 23 – Morning Session
11:00 a.m. – Convention Hall

The convention was called to order by President James H. Wood of Asheville. As the minister who was scheduled to appear had not arrived, the President asked someone “on the floor” to offer a “prayer for our guidance during our deliberations.” The invocation was given by Chief W. P. Neister of Spencer Shops.

The Address of Welcome was given by Mayor R. G. Cherry of Gastonia. “It is indeed inspiring to come into the presence of a convention which is made up of a body of men like these fellows who have red hot American blood flowing through their veins,” he said, to start.

Continue reading ‘SAFRE 2021 – The 100 Year Report’ »

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Raleigh Adds Shift Safety Officers

Big day in Raleigh yesterday. Safety Officer 14 was placed in service at 0800 hours on Saturday, July 17, 2021, the first shift-assigned incident safety officers (ISO) for the department.[1]

Staffed by three seasoned captains, the unit is based at Station 14, and is automatically dispatched on structure fires, haz-mat calls, and technical rescue calls. They can also be requested to other incidents as needed.

On scene, they’ll moving around and watching what’s happening, and looking for hazards and making suggestions as needed to the incident commander. They can also jump on the radio, if urgent safety matters need immediate attention.

Among their new equipment and PPE are high-visibility vests and SCBA identifiers, red. And one Fire Fighters Friend-brand exit locator device, which will be deployed just inside the threshold of a structure, to aid in evacuation. It’s equipped with both a flashing beacon and a siren.

Shown left to right at Captain/ISO K. C. Ray (A shift), Safety Chief Keith Wilder, Captain/ISO Stephen Welch (B shift), and Captain/ISO Brian Taylor (C shift).

[1] What’s the historical perspective? The most-recent Safety Officer position was created in 2010 as a day-duty position at Fire Administration. Currently filled by Battalion Chief Keith Wilder and named Safety Chief, it oversees the Health and Safety Compliance Division.

Earlier safety officers included Command Tommy Gattis, assigned to training, and who performed that role at (major?) incidents in the 1990s (and other years?). See the Facebook version of this posting for more about that. 

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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Wake County Fire Commission will hold its regular-schedule meeting on Thursday, July 15, 2021. This is a physical, in-person meeting. It starts at 7:00 p.m. 

The agenda and meeting documents are below. Information on submitting public comments and access for viewing/listening are posted on the Wake County Public Meetings Calendar

View Meeting Documents


  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Keith McGee
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members Present
    • Adoption of Minutes for May 20 Regular Meeting
    • Approval of Agenda
  • Public Comments:
  • Items of Business
    • Committee Appointments
    • Update on Future Opportunities
  • Regular Agenda
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report – Aaron Brown
    • Standing Committee Updates
      • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Health & Wellness
      • Training
      • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting – September 16, 2021
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Relocating Fire Station 14 – Now in Service

This is an ongoing blog posting about the relocating of Fire Station 14. 

See Legeros updates below. See also ongoing Legeros photos. And here’s the official project site from the city.


  • 7/8/21 – Now in Service
  • 4/16/21 – Construction Nearly Completion
  • 8/10/19 – Walls Going Up
  • 6/25/19 – Site Work Nearly Finished
  • 3/23/19 – Site Work Finishing
  • 7/25/18 – Site Work Started
  • 1/17/17 – Construction Bid Awarded
  • 12/28/17 – Site Cleared
  • 11/9/16 – Second Public Meeting
  • 8/15/16 – Drawings and Floor Plan
  • 8/6/16 – Public Meeting

July 8, 2021
New Station 14 opened on July 7, 2021. It was activated at 6:17 p.m. 

Squad 14, Ladder 14 from Station 17, and Battalion 3 moved into their new quarters that day. Units and personnel moved their PPE and work equipment, along with personal belongings. IT staff relocated computers and communications equipment. Some other things, such as exercise equipment, would be transferred later. 

In addition to Squad 14, Ladder 14, and Battalion 3, the new station also houses Mini 14 and three trailers, for boats, ATV, and technical trainer. The boat trailer is parked inside the station, with the other two parked outside.

Station 14 will also house a new shift Safety Officer, who will be placed in service in the coming days. 

April 16, 2021
Construction nearing completion. Here’s a photo from last month:

Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 14 – Now in Service’ »

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Charlotte in Yellow

This is a version of an earlier Facebook posting.

Here’s view of a vintage Charlotte Seagrave 70th Anniversary Series pumper in yellow, along with other not-red units of the time. The 1966 model, nicknamed “the Chiquita Banana”, was one of two that were bought as a pair.

Recounts retired Charlotte Battalion Chief Kenneth Shane Nantz, they originally served as Engine 1 and Engine 20, both at Station 1. They were also the first engines equipped with pre-piped turret guns and electronic sirens, and the last two purchased with bells. 

The other one ended up as Engine 8 and remained red. This one became Engine 5, had a significant wreck, and was repainted yellow when rebuilt. 

The picture was posted to the Facebook public group North Carolina Towns by Makatoka King. Visit the group and search on “fire” to find some other vintage fire pics from around NC, posted by King. Source posting

Makatoka King photo

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Raleigh Short Academies

This is a version of an earlier Facebook posting.

Hey Mike, how many “short academies” has Raleigh conducted before the one that graduated today? First, a bit of context.

Academy 46, which graduated today, was one of two that started on the same day in late April. Sixteen were hired, for a ten-week academy, and with existing firefighter experience and certifications as a requirement. (Why did the city implement a “short academy?” To get a quantity of new firefighters on line ASAP, to fill vacant positions.)

The academy was conducted concurrently with Academy 47, which required no prior experience for hiring, and concludes its thirty-week academy in November. Those members will graduate with experience and state certifications in EMT, Firefighter I, Firefighter II, and Haz-Mat Technician Level I.

Prior to 2021, the last “short academy” was held in 2004. The first was held in 1998, and that series is shown in orange in the below bar chart. Also shown, in green, were three academies that included recruits from outside FDs. (From Wilson and Wake County.)

See more academy history notes and data at https://www.legeros.com/ralwake/raleigh/history 

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One Truck, Two Trucks, Yellow Trucks & More – Solving a Mystery at the Airport

June 29, 2021
And, finally, here are new old photos showing both CB3000 crash trucks at the CFR station at the same time. Proof positive of what’s explained below. Sid Meier photos, scanned from film prints.

Sid Meier photos

May 11, 2016
Let’s solve a mystery.

Did the airport fire department have one or two Walters CB3000 crash trucks, back in the day? Wait, doesn’t story go that the 1973 Walter CB3000 (delivered new) was re-manufactured by Crash Rescue Equipment Services in/around 1990? Yes, that’s the long-told story.

Continue reading ‘One Truck, Two Trucks, Yellow Trucks & More – Solving a Mystery at the Airport’ »

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