Better Photo of Chief Butts… Found!

In 2012, the Raleigh Fire Department published a centennial history book. The project committee included Mr. Blogger, AKA Mr. Historian. For the histories of the Chief of Department, we needed portraits of each person. But their quality varied greatly.

One better picture needed was Fire Chief William Ralph Butts, who served 1941 to 1947. We had a scratchy copy of a copy, and we found an somewhat better version with a scanned copy (from microfilm) of his obituary. (Via local history library, via first finding his death certificate on microfilm.)

Found The Original

Fast-forward to 2018, and the original has surfaced, from a collection of materials from retired Captain B. T. Fowler (1951-1986). He was the department’s historian for many years. He’s also the father of retired Fire Chief Earl F. Fowler (1999-2005).

Left is the obituary image. Right is the original. Or should we say, apparent original? Looks like a clear match, except that it doesn’t. Butts seems older in the obituary image. But that’s probably or certainly an illusion from the reduced resolution of the newspaper printing process. 


Victory Ball Committee, 1944

The picture is cropped from this larger group photo taken in 1944. It shows the “Committee for Victory Ball” in front of Memorial Auditorium. 

Who else is pictured? To the right of Chief Butts is Assistant Chief Robert Lee Matthews (1926-1963). Unsure of the others. Click to enlarge:


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Design Approved for Wendell Falls Fire/EMS Station

This afternoon, the Wake County Board of Commissioners approved the design for the Wendell Falls Fire/EMS Station. These four documents (PDF) were part of the presentation:

The joint facility will be located on 2.76 acres on Taylor Road, about 500 feet from Wendell Falls Parkway. This location is about a half-mile from the US 64/264 interchange. The site was approved for acquisition in November 2016.

Wake County will own the property and the building. It will be occupied by Wendell Fire Department (as a third station) and Eastern Wake EMS (housing EMS units and administration). 

The single-story, 16,549-foot facility will be equipped with four double-length apparatus bays, living and sleeping quarters, a training room, an exercise room, laundry space, and 44 parking spaces. 

Construction is expected to start in Fall 2018, with a twelve-month construction time. The project will cost just over $7 million, including land.

Here’s a rendering by designers ADW Architects. Looks great! Click to enlarge:



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New Research – American Eagle Flights 3378 & 3379

Announcing new historical research about American Eagle flights 3378 and 3379 and the emergency response to both crashes. 

Flight 3378 crashed into a reservoir at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on February 19, 1988. All twelve souls aboard were killed.

Flight 3379 crashed into the woods near Davis Drive in Morrisville on December 13, 1994. Fifteen passengers and crew were killed. Five passengers survived. 

A memorial to both flights was erected at Carpenter Park in Cary, and dedicated in 2016.

Visit the history site, which includes stories, images, and data about both crashes, as well as information about the memorial and its dedication.


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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – March 15, 2018

The Wake County Fire Commission met on Thursday, March 15. Apologies for not posting this agenda information in advance. Among the items discussed were “two for one” apparatus replacements for four departments. See below for meeting highlights.

View agenda packet


  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Billy Myrick
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members Present
  • Items of Business
  • Adoption of Minutes for November 16, 2017 Regular Meeting
  • Annual Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman – Nick Campasano
  • Approval of Agenda
  • Public Comments:
    • Comments from the public will be taken at this time. Members of the public are invited to make
      comment to the Commission, with a maximum of 3 minutes per person. A signup sheet for those
      who wish to speak during the public comments section of the meeting is located at the entrance of
      the meeting room.
  • Regular Agenda
    • Recommendation for sub-committee consolidation
    • North Region Committee Appointments
    • South Region Committee Appointments
    • Apparatus 2-1 Replacements and possible relocations
    • County purchase of Town of Fuquay-Varina Tanker
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report
    • Standing Committee Updates
    • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Staffing and Compensation
      • Steering
      • Training
      • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting April 26, 2018

Two For One Apparatus Replacements

Four departments were approved for “two for one” apparatus replacements:

  • Garner FD – Engine 11 (1998 Pierce Dash) and Rescue 2 (1997 Pierce Saber heavy rescue) are scheduled for replacement in FY19. Request to replace both with ladder/rescue combination, at same cost-share cost to county, for cost of one heavy rescue. Approved.
  • Fuquay-Varina FD – Engine 5 (year/model?) is FY19 replacement. Request to replace Engine 5 and Rescue 2 (year/model?) with ladder/rescue combination, at same cost-share to county, for cost of one heavy rescue. Rescue 2 given to county, for reallocation. Approved. (Note: Town budget not finalized, so proposal is planned/intended.) 
  • Zebulon FD – Ladder 95 (1987 Duplex/Grumman platform) and Rescue 9 (2009 GMC/MWF medium-duty). Request to replace both with ladder/rescue combination, at same cost-share to county, for cost of one heavy rescue. Rescue 9 given to county, for reallocation. Approved. (Note: Town budget not finalized, so proposal is planned/intended.)
  • Northern Wake FD – Ladder 15 (1999 Pierce Dash ladder) is  FY21 replacement. County wants to move to FY19 for replacement, to take advantage of multiple truck purchase, with county buying four ladders at once, with potential savings of $27,500 per truck. New ladder would be a ladder/rescue combination. Request to replace Ladder 15 and Rescue 25 (2009 Spartan/Hackney heavy rescue, former Stony Hill FD) with ladder/rescue combination. Rescue 25 returned to county, for reallocation as resource. Approved.

Upon completion, county would have three rescues for reallocation. Three FDs have rescues scheduled for replacement in the next three years. The newly acquired rescues would be moved to these three departments. This would save county $864,000 over next three years.

Planned allocations:

  • NWFD R25 > EWFD, currently operating 1997 International/E-One
  • FVFD R2 > Rolesville, currently operating 1998 Freightliner/E-One
  • ZFD R9 > WWFD, currently operating 1999 HME/EVI

All were approved as budget directions, and subject to approvals as needed by fire department boards and as supported by municipal budgets.

Note: View agenda packet documents for more details.

More Highlights

New Chairperson and Vice Chairperson elected:

  • Keith McGee, Apex Fire Chief – Chairperson
  • Lee Price, Wake New Hope Asst. Chief – Vice Chairperson

County purchase of FVFD tanker:

Fuquay-Varina FD is receiving a new tanker. Their 1995 Freightliner/S&S tanker will be retired. It is being offered for sale to the county, for allocation to Holly Springs FD. They need a tanker to meet requirements for available water and water hauling capabilities, within rural areas covered by HSFD. Approved.

Helmet color standardization:

Equipment subcommittee recommended standardizing helmet colors for department members not qualified for structural firefighting. Recommend orange or yellow helmets. This augments an earlier recommendation that standardized colors county-wide as red, black, and white. Approved.

Wendell Falls fire/EMS station:

Facilities subcommittee reported that plans are nearly finished for the Wendell Falls fire/EMS station. Three drive-through bays with an optional fourth bay. Pending agenda item for county commissioners to approve. (Need more details. Site address? Timeframe?)

New fire academy:

Training subcommittee reported. County fire academy 10 planning to start in July.  

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Antioch > Patetown Fire Department Merger in Wayne County

From a reader, the Anitoch Fire Department in Wayne County has merged with Patetown FD. Their fire protection districts have been combined into a single Patetown district.

The change was approved by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners on November 21, 2017, and was effective January 1, 2018.

The Antioch fire station at 2095 Big Daddy’s Road will operated as a Patetown “substation.” From this discussion on our Facebook fire page, we’re told that one former Antioch engine is stationed there, along with Wayne County EMS Medic 10 and a reserve Medic unit.

Antioch Rural Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated in 1959, according to state corporations records. Their corporate status remains unchanged. Patetown Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated in 1958.

Memo to self. Remember to update my former fire departments web page

2018-03-16-waynePatetown fire district map, from Wayne County Board of Commissioner meeting minutes, November 21, 2017

2018-03-16-wayne2Antioch fire station, Google Maps

2018-03-16-wayne3Patetown fire station, Google maps

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Raleigh Fire Department Recruit Video, 2001

Presented by the Raleigh Fire Museum via their YouTube channel, here’s another “vintage” recruit video. From Academy 26, which ran from fall 2000 to spring 2001. Lots of familiar faces, both doing push-ups and those ordering the doing of push-ups. See my RFD history page for recruit class pictures and other historical information. 


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College of Charleston Mini-Pumper

How many colleges around the Carolinas (or farther) have their own fire engines? One of our readers recently spotted this one (thanks Greg!), a College of Charleston (SC) mini-pumper. Their fleet also includes an ambulance.


Pictures are from the school’s Department of Public Safety Facebook page. Here’s a description of their Fire & EMS branch:

The Chief of Fire and EMS is designated as the College’s Fire Marshal and coordinates all fire safety activities at the College in conjunction with the City of Charleston Fire Department. The Chief and his staff routinely conduct fire/safety inspections of all facilities and equipment, initiate fire drills, handle all fire-related investigations and reports in conjunction with state and local agencies, coordinate ongoing training/certification efforts for department staff members, collaborate with community and state emergency management teams, and make recommendations concerning improvements in fire safety to appropriate administrative representatives. Source: annual security report (PDF)

Readers, what other college-based fire and/or EMS services are around?

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Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter – Winter 2018

The Winter 2018 issue of the Raleigh Fire Department newsletter has been published to Yes, you might be a nerd, if you have a separate domain for news of your favorite FD.

Old-school, old-style reporting. Eight pages about facilities, incidents, apparatus, personnel, et al. And in our eleventh year! Contents of the new issue:

  • New Fire Station 12
  • Chief Harvey Retires
  • New Mini Pumpers
  • Chief Boyette Retires
  • New Apparatus Ordered
  • Retirements
  • Transitions
  • Remembering Chief Glover
  • Promotions & Appointments
  • New Staff
  • New Recruit Academy
  • Protection From Flu Exposure
  • 2017 Run Numbers
  • Photo Gallery
  • Metropolitan,
    One Year Later

The newsletter is published three times yearly. The editor is Mike Legeros, and he’s ably assisted by many in the department’s various divisions. Thanks, all, for your help.

Read the latest issue(PDF), which has been posted to


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