Three Alarms on Water Oak Drive

Three alarms were struck in north Raleigh on Monday, May 11, 2022, at 3900 Water Oak Drive. Three-story, wood-frame apartment building with 12,760 square-feet and 16 units, if reading tax records correctly. Dispatched 8:49 p.m. with Engine 19 first-arriving, with heavy fire in the front of the structure. Second alarm requested within a couple minutes.

See photos by Mike Legeros | Listen to radio traffic

Transitional attack, with crews going inside after knocking down the exterior flames. Two occupants rescued. As heavy fire conditions extended to and through the roof, crews were evacuated while aerial operations were set-up. Ladder 4 (on reserve) deployed to rear of structure, with master stream to the roof. Ladder 15 later deployed from west side of building, for roof access.

Mike Legeros photo

Two hydrants were caught on New Hope Road, one just east of Water Oak, and another closer to Louisburg Road. One engine each boosting pressure, plus a third engine supplying Ladder 4, if memory serves correctly. Third hydrant was caught on Water Oak, north of the fire building, but wasn’t charged.

Units staged on both Water Oak and New Hope road, the latter of which was closed between Capital Boulevard and Louisburg Road.

Third alarm dispatched about 9:49 p.m. Seventeen residents displaced. Controlled at 10:37 p.m. Thanks to Lee Wilson for real-time incident updates. Photographer arrived about 10 minutes into incident. Google for the various news reports.

Mike Legeros photo

Run Card

1st alarm: E19, E15, E27, E21, L15, L12, R16, B1, B5, SO14
Working fire: DC1, INV1, A10, B2
Added: E11
2nd alarm: E28, E9, L4, L1, Sq7
3rd alarm: E26, E25, E2, L23
Also: Operations Chief, Logistics Chief, Chief Fire Investigator, Chief Safety Officer

EMS31, D6
EMS11, EMS12, D3
EMS48, EMS50, EMS52, EMS78, D9, Chief 200

^ Transcribed from radio dispatches. Excluding EMS T1 and EVAC1, which did not respond. Corrections welcome!

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Greensboro Rescue History



1942, October – Greensboro Daily News on October 7, 1942, reported that city-county civil defense officials will use money from the sale of donated scrap materials to purchase a rescue truck for Greensboro FD and to be used both in the city and throughout the county.

1944, June – City-county civil defense organization purchased a used Army ambulance at Fort Bragg, for conversion into a rescue truck.

Continue reading ‘Greensboro Rescue History’ »

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Salem’s Circa 1850s Hand Engine

We’ve been solving a history mystery this month over in the private SPAAMFAA group on Facebook, in a posting about the origins of Salem’s surviving circa 1850’s hand engine. Here’s a photo from Old Salem Museum and Gardens, where the engine sits in storage. See more photos.

Original Documentation

We entered the fray with this knowledge, from an 1893 anniversary history of SFD:

Our Findings

The origin of the engine:

  • Originally served Watchman Fire Company in Baltimore, MD.
  • Watchman FC was organized in 1840 and housed on Light Street and later E. Montgomery Street. The latter building survives to today. 
  • This hand engine was very likely (but not definitively) by Rodgers & Sons of Baltimore. 
  • Characteristic details, noted by Josiah Wagener, include use of leaf springs (surprisingly rare on Philadelphia style engines), the use of wavy carved trim (almost unique to Rodgers engines), the slightly curved end boards on the tub, and the spring loaded hooks to secure the brakes from rocking during transport (common on Rodgers engines and rare among other manufacturers). 
  • In March 1849, the assets of Watchman FC included three suction engines, one hose carriage, and 500 feet of hose.
  • The Watchmen Fire Company was disbanded in January 1860, following the creation of the Fire Department of Baltimore City in 1859.
  • At the time they disbanded, their assets consisted of one large suction engine and two hose reels.  

It’s delivery and use:

  • It arrived in Salem by December 10, 1858, the date that it was tested for the first time.
  • It was the town’s first suction engine–it could draw water from wells, ponds, or other sources–and could supply two hose streams. The town’s earlier hand engines relied on water supplied by bucket brigade.
  • It was known as the Fries Engine, as it was purchased by Messers. F. & H. Fries and the town commissioners together.
  • It had a picture of General Zachary Taylor on it, for a time. (Maybe when purchased?)

Historical perspective:

  • 1785 – First fire engines delivered, two hand engines from Europe, one hand-carried and one with wheels. They have survived to present day, see photos.
  • 1832 – Newer hand engine delivered from Philadelphia, 200 GPM capacity, built by Merrick & Agnew. Also equipped with two-inch hose, first fire hose for town.
  • 1855 – Four-wheel hose carriage added, used for about 30 years.
  • 1858 – Newer hand engine purchased, from Baltimore’s Watchman Fire Company.
  • 1859 – Larger 1785 hand engine retired.
  • 1884 – Button hand engine purchased. The earlier engine, bought in 1858, was retired. Reported the People’s Press on May 8, 1884, the new engine was “out on trail” the past Saturday. It “throws two streams of water” and “of the latest improved pattern.” Some 30 men can operating the engine at one time, “ranging alongside the engine.” And “it pulls heavy.”
  • 1886 – Hand engine exchanged for Button steam engine.


From the Weekly Raleigh Register on May 25, 1859.

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Raleigh Run Numbers – 2021

Belated blog posting of prior Facebook posting\g. Run numbers for Raleigh FD in 2021, unit runs and total calls [incidents]. See prior years, from 1993 forward, in this PDF document.

47,943 – Total Calls
70,684 – Total Runs

Unit Runs

E1 – 1,728
E2 – 2,162
E3 – 2,508
E4 – 1,385
E5 – 1,358
E6 – 1,235
S7 – 2,900
E8 – 2,231
E9 – 1,871
E10 – 1,968
E11 – 2,955
E12 – 2,812
E13 – 1,726
S14 – 1,838
E15 – 2,599
E16 – 2,214
E17 – 1,560
E18 – 1,407
E19 – 2,974
E20 – 1,972
E21 – 2,166
E22 – 1,640
E23 – 999
E24 – 1,194
E25 – 953
E26 – 1,386
E27 – 928
E28 – 1,296
E29 – 417
L01 – 2,006 – Renumbered from Sta 4 to Sta 1 on Jan 25
L04 – 1,099 – Renumbered from Sta 1 to Sta 4 on Jan 25
L06 – 1,239 – Activated at Sta 6 on Mar 29
L12 – 1,893 – Renumbered from L8 on Jan 11
L14 – 1,146
L15 – 2,093 – Renumbered from L2 on Jan 20
L20 – 1,231 – Renumbered from L7 on Jan 4
L23 – 831
L25 – 560 – Renumbered from L5 on Jan 18
R16 – 1,328
B1 – 552
B2 – 662
B3 – 682
B4 – 439
B5 – 976
Safety Officer 14 – 467
Division Chief 1 – 166
Investigator 1 – 296
97 – Air 10
92 – Air 28
75 – HM2 – Renumbered from HM1 on Feb 22
67 – HM8 – Renumbered from HM3 on Feb 22
33 – HM25 – Renumbered from HM4 on Feb 22
63 – HM27 – Renumbered from HM5 on Feb 22
47 – HM29 – Renumbered from HM2 on Feb 22
28 – Haz-Mat Program Manager
28 – Mini 7
15 – Mini 14
09 – Mini 28
20 – USAR 801
17 – USAR Program Manager
15 – ATV14
09 – ATV25

Busiest Engines

‘E19 – 2,974
E11 – 2,955
Sq7 – 2,900
E12 – 2,812
E15 – 2,599

Busiest Ladders

L15 – 2,093
L01 – 2,006
L12 – 1,893

Busiest Rescue

R16, baby!

Busiest Battalion Chief

B5 – 976 (as if you had to ask)

And that’s a wrap for that year. See you in January, 2023!

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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – April 14, 2022

The Wake County Fire Commission will hold a special-called meeting on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at 7:00 p.m., at the Wake County Emergency Services Education Center, 221 S. Rogers Lane, Raleigh, NC 27610 .

The purpose of the meeting is to receive and approve the proposed FY23 budget, at which point it will become part of the County Manager’s recommended budget, which will be submitted for approval by the Wake County Board of Commissioners in June. 

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 call of membership
    • Approval of Agenda
  • Public Comments:
  • Regular Agenda
    • FY23 Budget Presentation
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting – May 19, 2022
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Relocating Fire Station 22 – April Update

This is an ongoing blog posting about the relocating of Fire Station 22. 

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


  • 4/2/22 – April Update
  • 10/20/21 – December Update
  • 6/12/21 – June Update
  • 5/29/21 – Walls Going Up
  • 5/7/21 – Building construction started
  • 2/22/21 – Site clearing started
  • 12/23/20 – Construction bid awarded  
  • 9/16/20 – Construction bids started 
  • 6/25/19 – June Update
  • 4/23/19 – Revised Design Drawings / Demolition Fone
  • 3/23/19 – Demolition Starting
  • 2/15/19 – Temporary Quarters Occupied 
  • 10/22/18 – Temporary Quarters Being Installed
  • 12/1/17 – Design Services Selected
  • 8/14/17 – City Council to Approve Project

April Update

April 2, 2021

Completion expected later this month. Here’s an aerial photo from March 22:

December Update

December 10, 2021

Completion expected in February 2022.

June Update Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 22 – April Update’ »

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Apex Public Safety Station 6

Here’s another update on future fire stations in Wake County. Design drawings and site plans for Apex Public Safety 6, under construction at 1206 Wimberly Road. Joint fire and police facility, single-story, two bays.

And designed to help address some of the pressing issues facing today’s fire service: occupational cancer, behavioral health, and inclusion. Thus there’s a decon transition area between the apparatus bay and station living areas. Also interior finishes were chosen to make the facility more of a fire “house” than a fire “station.” And the facility was designed to provide as much shared social space as feasible, while still providing an appropriate amount of seclusion as needed. Bravo!

Here’s the project description from the town’s budget page: “Public Safety Station 6 ($6,500,000) […] will provide fire and emergency services to the White Oak Basin and Green Level areas of Apex. Development trends indicate construction of 2,100 new homes will occur in this area within the next few years. Response times from Fire Station 3 do not meet our standards due to the physical distance from the station to the area. This station will feature a new design to meet the needs of both fire and police departments. Station 6 will house a new engine and 12-14 fire personnel.”

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Knightdale’s Future Fire Station 4

What’s cooking with new fire stations in Wake County? Here’s an update from Knightdale and a design drawing for future Fire Station 4 at 1325 Hodge Road. The ~12,500 square-foot, single-story, three-bay station sits on a four-acre** parcel on the western side of their response district, south of Knightdale Boulevard and west of Interstate 540. Among the features are a 34-foot training tower and individual sleeping quarters for 25 people. Site work is expected to site in the next couple of months. Looks awesome. 

** The site was combined from two parcels, the smaller of which is shown on maps here. The county IMAPS site hasn’t yet reflected the recombination.

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Cary to Install Idle Reduction Technology on Apparatus

On Thursday, March 10, 2022, the Cary Town Council voted unanimously to spend $324,000 to outfit nine of the town’s fire trucks with idle reduction technology. 

Here’s the complete text of the meeting agenda action item, from this Town of Cary web page.

Town of Cary
Purchase of Fire Truck Idle Reduction Technology

Speaker: Danna Widmar, Assistant Town Manager

Executive Summary: After exploring performance and estimated cost savings, staff recommends installing Idle Reduction Technology (IRT) on nine existing fire apparatus for a total cost of $324,000. The Cary Fire Department anticipates utilizing IRT technology as a transition to a fully electric fleet. IRT is a battery-operated system that provides operational capacity of various equipment while at a call destination. Given current replacement schedule and information available from the manufacturer, this retrofit work on nine existing vehicles will augment a full transition to IRT and electric technologies by FY 2035, with full electric projected by FY 2040.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that Council approve the use of $324,000 of already appropriated general fund dollars for the idle reduction technology retrofits discussed in this staff report.

Continue reading ‘Cary to Install Idle Reduction Technology on Apparatus’ »

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