Relocating Fire Station 22 – Designs for New Station, Temporary Quarters Occupied

February 15, 2019
Some updates…

Temporary Quarters Occupied

Engine 22 relocated on February 5, 2019, to temporary quarters at the water plant on Falls of Neuse Road. Ladder 5 was also relocated, to Station 25. The engine house on Durant Road has been vacated and will be demolished at a future date. 

Designs For New Station

Here are design drawings of the new Station 22, planned for 10050 Durant Road. With two-story living quarters and three apparatus bays. The designer is Davis Kane Architects. Click to enlarge: 

October 22, 2018
Project updates: Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 22 – Designs for New Station, Temporary Quarters Occupied’ »

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Two Alarms on Crossroads Arbor Way

Evening update: See Legeros photos.

Two alarms were struck yesterday at 1723 Crossroads Arbor Way. Two-story, garden-style apartment building with sixteen units and 10,656 square-feet. Built 1999.

Dispatched 2:19 p.m. Upgraded to working fire while companies were en route, based on caller information. Swift Creek Car 1 first-arriving, followed by Swift Creek Engine 1. Fire found on end unit, and quickly spread to common attic, with strong winds contributing to the fire spread. 

Three aerials into the air, with Ladder 7 with soon operating, with interior crews withdrawn, and the bulk of the fire knocked down. Then crews re-entered apartments from the opposite end of the building. Ground monitor and hand lines used for exposure protection.

WTVD image

Controlled 3:19 p.m. Crews remained on scene for a number of hours for overhaul. Cause determined as accidental, from improperly discarded smoking materials. Sixteen apartment units rendered uninhabitable. No damage to exposures. No injuries. Twenty-three people displaced. Several pets also rescued. 

Hydrant locations:

  • Crossroads Arbor Way, east side, right front corner of fire building, SCFD E1, supplying hand lines and L7 (initially?).
  • Jones Franklin Road, west side, north of Crossroads Boulevard, with supply line through fence access gate, E5 supplying L7.
  • Crossroads Arbor Way, east side, just west of intersection with Crossroads Crest Way, E1 supplying hand lines.
  • Crossroads Vista Way, east side, halfway between intersecting streets, E2 supplying L8.

Mike Legeros photo

Run card:

  • First alarm: E8, Sq14, E2, E1, L7, L8, R1, B5, SCFD E1, C1
  • Working fire: C20, C402 (investigator), A2
  • Second alarm: E5, E15, E10, E20, L3, L1, B4, plus E20, L4, responding from training
  • Plus: C3, C4, C14 (safety officer), C401 (chief investigator), C54
  • Relief: E22, L24, L9
  • EMS: TBD

Historical note. Though a different building burned, these apartments were scene of an earlier major fire on December 28, 2011. Two alarms, midday. And strong winds also contributing to fire spread. See Legeros photos from 2011.

Mike Legeros photos

Mike Legeros photos

See more photos.

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Fire and Fire Control in Colonial Wilmington – 1975

Yes, it’s history month at Blog Central. Was shown this last week, from a fellow research. The story of fire protection in Colonial Wilmington, from a May 1975 article in the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Bulletin. 

Includes details on what was likely North Carolina’s first hand engine, delivered circa 1756. Plus a few details on the other towns of the time, both in and out of state.

This one’s a must-read for history buffs. Details on colonial fire protection in the Carolinas can be quite hard to come by.

Read the bulletin (PDF, 2.7MB). 

Here’s the original source.

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Fiftieth Anniversary of the Salem Fire Department – 1893

Here’s a vintage booklet about the Salem Fire Department, printed for the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary, celebrated on September 16, 1893.

The twenty-page booklet includes a history of the department going back to the Moravian settlement of 1766, and first fire protection laws in 1773.

It’s presented courtesy of Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, scanned from their collection.

View the booklet (PDF, 19MB)

Department Milestones

These milestones are noted in the booklet:

  • 1766 – Settlement of Salem started.
  • 1773 – First regulations related to preventing fires, by sweeping chimneys. 
  • 1778 – First “system of water works.”
  • 1781 – First recorded fire. 
  • 1785 – First fire engines delivered, two hand engines from Europe.
  • 1785 – Fire buckets ordered by town, with each house required to have at least one.
  • 1828 – Pump added to water system. Water was moved into the town’s reservoir, which fed via “earthen pipes” some ten or twelve cisterns around town. Each cistern had a “common wood pump” with a brass connection for hose, for supplying the fire engine. 
  • 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.
  • 1843 – State law exempts firemen from militia duty. It’s thought that this led to the old Salem Military Company being disbanded, and the first “organized fire company” created.
  • 1843 – Salem Vigilant Fire Company organized. 
  • 1845 – First fire for Vigilant Fire Company, Siewer’s Cabinet Shop.
  • 1853 – Second fire for Vigilant Fire Company, outbuilding near “dwelling house.”
  • 1854 – First uniforms for Vigilant Fire Company.
  • 1855 – Four-wheel hose carriage added. Used for about 30 years. 
  • 1855c – Engine house moved from original location on Salem Square to Academy Street, just west of Tar Branch.
  • 1858 – Newer hand engine purchased, from Baltimore. Named “the Watchman.”
  • 1859 – Larger 1785 hand engine retired.
  • 1861 – Vigilant Fire Company disbanded, after state law no longer exempted firemen from militia duty. They had “done duty at four fires” over 18 years. 
  • 1864 – First dwelling house destroyed by fire. Most of the former firemen were in the army, and citizens took their places at the engine, and in a bucket brigade.
  • 1866 – Fire company reorganized after the end of the war. 
  • 1868 – Fire company adopted new by-laws and constitution, and chartered as Rough and Ready Fire Company.
  • 1868 – Total fire alarms from 1766 to 1868 is nine.
  • 1871 – First fire for Rough and Ready Fire Company, a smokehouse.
  • 1874c – Engine house moved to Main Street.
  • 1884 – Button hand engine purchased. 
  • 1886 – Hand engine exchanged for Button steam engine.
  • 1886 – New engine house.
  • 1893 – Hose wagon added, built by captain of the department.
  • 1893 – Electric fire alarm system added. 
  • 1893 – Total fire alarms from 1868 to 1893 is 24, with grand total of 33 fire alarms since settlement of town in 1766. 

More Information

See also related content, including Mike’s modern photos of Salem’s old fire engines and a history of old Winston and Salem fire stations

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Boston Buys Fire Engine For Fayetteville – 1832

The story’s been long-told that Fayetteville received a hand engine from Boston in 1832, in the year following the great fire of May 29, 1831.

But get this, it was donated by the Boston Fire Department and bought with “voluntary subscription of its members.”

From the Fayetteville Observer on May 22, 1832, the engine had arrived on a ship at Wilmington, and was expected that day or the next. Click to enlarge:

Here’s an earlier article, from March 6, 1832, which includes a description of the engine:


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Holiday Island Fire Brigade – 1984

Found another obscure fire department. Or, in this case, fire brigade, as this Perquimans Weekly story said on August 30, 1984. 

Protected Holiday Island, near Hertford, with some 250 residential structures and 106 families as permanent residents.

The island was located four miles outside the district of the nearest fire department, Bethel VFD. And the community had been expressing interest in their own fire protection for a few years.

The new brigade consisted of twelve volunteers and a one-ton 1979 Chevrolet pick-up with a skid-mounted pump and tank, with 150 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose, and 200 feet of booster line. 

Click to enlarge this clipping, found via Digital North Carolina Newspapers:

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Manteo Burns… Norfolk Sends Engine – 1939

On September 11, 1939, a major fire in Manteo saw mutual aid arrive from far and very far away. Elizabeth City sent one or more units, from 67.3 miles away as the Google flies. As did Norfolk, VA, located 90.5 miles away today. 

Reported Fire Engineering magazine in their November issue, Norfolk’s new 500 Series American LaFrance pumper made the 108-mile run in two hours and sixteen minutes. (Model year 1939 it appears, from the SPAAMFAA ALF records online.)

“They made the run, had water on the fire, and had put through a long distance call to Norfolk,” wrote the magazine.

The fire started at 5:40 a.m. and was extinguished exactly three hours later, recounted the News & Observer on the following day, and later reprinted in the Coastland Times on October 9, 1964. (The latter accessed via Dare County Digital Heritage Collection.)

Sixteen commercial buildings were destroyed, which were about two-thirds of the business district. (Other accounts said twenty-one buildings burned. Maybe the others were only damaged.)

Assisting the firefighters were a number of Coast Guard men, recounts Sarah Dowling in her Arcadia Publishing book “Hidden History of the Outer Banks.” (Found via Google Books excerpt.)

The fire started in the storage room of the Standard Oil Company, which was located on the waterfront. Two blocks of buildings along the waterfront burned.

Its spread was fed when a truck driver, trying to move his vehicle to safety, struck one of the storage tanks. The collision loosened a connection that poured gasoline into the street, and into the path of the blaze, reported an AP story in the Burlington Daily Times-News, later that day.

They cited the cause of the $200,000 fire as reported as a short circuit in the “wharf office” of the oil company, noted Fire Engineering.

This dramatic picture, credit unknown, was posted to the  Outer Banks Vintage Scrapbook Facebook page by Chip Py, in December 2012. See original posting.

Sources: Listed above.

The below snapshot was posted to the Outer Banks Vintage Scrapbook Facebook page by Lou Ellen Quinn, in July 2015. See original posting.

The below “aftermath” picture is from the Outer Banks History Center’s Flickr Page. reference number 33GRF-82-280 – Ben Dixon MacNeill Collection. 

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First Rated Rural Water Supply – Nahunta FD, 1979

Note: See this Facebook posting for comments and discussion about this blog posting.

On August 1, 1979, the Nahunta Fire Department in Wayne County became the first rural fire department in North Carolina–and in the United States–to receive a Class 8 fire protection rating for its rural water supply system, that used tankers and portable dump tanks to provide a sustained and consistent flow of water for firefighting.

This news was announced at that year’s annual conference of the state firemen’s association and state fire chief’s association, held in Asheville from July 30 to August 2. Remarks made at the event, as recounted in the printed proceedings, noted that through the department didn’t have a hydrant within about seven or eight miles of their district, but still received a “Municipal Class 8” rating by the Insurance Services Office.

The rating was based on the “Fast Dump System,” as they called it. And it was something that had been in the works for about eleven years. (At Nahunta? In Wayne County? In other places in the state?) The Fire Chief was Jay Howell, who took a nod during the announcement. Wayne County Fire Marshal Carl Ray Coley’s efforts were also cited.

To share the knowledge, an evening meeting was held at the conference, for any department members to attend and ask questions about how ISO determined rating, and how other departments might qualify in the future.

The state fire commissioner’s office (as one speaker called it) also assisted, and noted that Nahunta was also the first rural fire district in the nation to receive such a rating, for the “fast dump system.” The state fire and rescue office “recommended and trained with” the department until the water supply system was approved. And they noted they’re working with other departments in the state, for use in their areas.

One colorful description of the process was “its just like having a big wash tub near the fire scene where the water supply from that fire district can be tanked in and dumped [in].”

Who were the next departments in the state to receive such a rating? Good question!

How quickly did departments in other states get rated by ISO, using the same system? To be determined!

When was the “fast dump system” first started in North Carolina, or in the other states? Have long heard it came from Midwestern farmers in the late 1960s, and a resulting presentation at FDIC on year. Need more information.

Historical Perspective

The Nahunta Fire Department was organized after a meeting on February 12, 1958, by Nahunta Farmers Club members who wanted fire protection for their area. They became one of the earliest rural fire departments in Wayne County, and organized with two stations: No. 1 at Nahunta and No. 2 on Gurley Dairy Road.

They elected officers and a board of directors. The department collected monies from the communities, beginning with a minimum of $5 per tobacco barn. They also solicited donations.

Station 1 was located just behind Nahunta School on a donated site, shown on left below. Construction started in 1959 on a cement block building measuring 30 by 40 feet. The first apparatus was a Army surplus International truck bought in 1958 for $150 and converted into a pumper. A similar truck was purchased for Station 2.

In 1960, a “state dump truck” was purchased for $250 and the bumper body was designed and built by firemen. In 1961, Station 2 bought a Chevy truck for $150 for a tanker.

The Wayne County tax department provide a donation of around $200 in 1959. Other funds came from fundraisers ranging from turkey shoots to fish stews. Car identification tags were sold and a go-cart was raffled.

In November 1962, three sets of protective personal equipment were ordered for each of the two stations. Later, each fireman paid one-half of the cost of their gear, and the department paid the other.

On Thanksgiving of 1961, construction started on Station 2. The cement block building coast $1800 and was erected by local firemen, which the exception of the cement laying. The 0.3 acre lot was donated.

Until 1964, bi-monthly meetings alternated between both buildings. They then recognized the need for having faster response times, and covering areas beyond the four-mile limit. Thus the two stations were divided, and began operating under separate charters. Equipment was divided between the two stations.

Station 1 became the Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department. Station 2 became the Little River Volunteer Fire Department.

Nahunta’s 1965 Chevrolet C60/Darley pumper, 500/500. Later modified with a 1000 gallon tank with “jet dump” in the late 1970s. Lee Wilson photo. 

Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated with the state in 1959, their paperwork filed on May 26, 1959. Little River Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated with the state in 1964, their paperwork filed on April 27, 1964.

Both departments are still operating.



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