Mapping The First Six Forks Fire Stations

Morning map play. Using USDA aerial images from 1959 and 1971 to pinpoint the exact location of the original Six Forks FD locations. Plus a 2021 aerial image noting their approximate locations today. Maps via UNC Library.

From my notes:

  • 1956, first fire station is converted barn on south side of Howells Store at 4129 Six Forks Road, which was located just south of the second/southern section of Lassiter’s Mill Road and Six Forks Road. Later location of Firestone Tires at North Hills Mall. The barn had room for one fire engine, and a canvas tarp covering the opening. There was a 7.5 HP siren on a pole beside the barn. The barn was being used as a fire station by September 1956.
  • 1959, circa, second fire station is a tin structure with a gravel floor in the 4400 block of Six Forks Road, on the east side of Six Forks, about mid-block. The building had room for two trucks, and a pair of pivoting doors. It was erected by March 1959. The fire department vacated its original location behind Howell’s Store. [Wish we had a surviving photo of this building.]
  • 1962/63, third fire station location is 5305 Six Forks Rd. Three-bay building constructed. Present location of EMS station #3. The 7.5 HP siren is moved farther north on Six Forks Road, to a spot near Northclift, near Sandy Forks Road. The alarm on the building itself is a 12-volt, battery-powered vehicle siren. From the Wake County BOC meeting on November 5, 1962, the department is reported as in process of building a new fire house, and will “assume its fire protection responsibilities January 1, 1963.”

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Emergency Phones

From the archives. Random find. Utility poles in downtown Raleigh that once had emergency phones mounted. September 2010. Plus one historical picture.

In 1971, city officials authorized installation of a telephone system to replace the familiar fire alarm boxes and for reasons including the frequency of false calls. By that year, false calls accounted for 80 percent of the alarms transmitted by the “street boxes.”

Planned were 320 telephone boxes, with all calls recorded on tape. The Emergency Phone Response (ERP) boxes served for decades, until overtaken by the widespread use of cell phones. The last telephone boxes were removed from service in 2007.

The last box alarm was sent from Box 433 on May 14, 1973, for an incinerator that set off sprinklers at a building. The alarm system, with some 270+ boxes, was subsequently dismantled.

On March 18, 1974, the surplus equipment was sold, including 250 alarm boxes, thirteen gongs, four registers, and one repeater. Purchasers included the towns of Henderson, Lexington, and Thomasville.

Vintage photo from a 35mm slide scan via Raleigh Fire Museum, from a collection found at the Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center years ago. See those pics in this Flickr album.

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Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 Crash in Charlotte

This is an expanded version of a Facebook posting on November 24, 2022, and a blogs archive posting (PDF) from April 8, 2010.

The state’s second-deadliest plane crash occurred in Charlotte near Douglas Municipal Airport on the morning of September 11, 1974. The Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-9-31 was carrying 78 passengers and 4 crew members. It crashed just short of the runway on instrument approach in dense fog. The fatalities totaled 71, including four who died later. 

The CFD and NCANG response included:

  • Blaze 1, 2, 5, 8, from the airport fire station.
  • Car 2, 3, 5, Engine 1, 2, 5, 10, 13, 21, Ladder 10, Platform 1, Tanker 19, 20 dispatched to the scene.
  • NC ANG ambulance manned by CFD personnel.

Other fire and rescue agencies included:

  • Charlotte Life Saving Crew
  • Charlotte Ambulance Service
  • Steele Creek FD
  • And other county fire departments?

Courtesy of the Don Sturkey Photographic Materials (P0070), North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill Library, from Fatal Distraction by Philip Gerard in Our State magazine.

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Black Fire Companies of Fayetteville

This is a blog version of a Facebook posting from November 15, 2022.

What’s the history of the city’s colored fire companies, as they were called, back in the day? Shown is a clipping from the Statesman on February 7, 1874, via North Carolina Newspapers.

Great research topic for someone and made easier by the ever-expanding collection of digital newspapers on that site. Here’s a video by Legeros with research tips, for the site. 

Here are a few notes, from found articles this week. Memo to self, add these to my pages on Fayetteville FD history and Black Firefighter History of NC

  • 1873, Apr 19 –Statesman editorial opines that a colored fire company would benefit the town.
  • 1873, Jun 6 – Statesmen story that the colored men of the town “resurrected the old castaway fire engine” formerly used by the McLean Fire Company, and “made a trial of its capacities.” It threw a “volume of water upon the ball above the clock on the town market building.” The newspaper added “let the new company organize and elect officers; and let its members be exempted from the payment of a poll-tax to the town.”
  • 1873, Jul 12-Statesman story mentions that a colored fire company celebrated the fourth of July with a parade. Also cites an engine house of theirs.
  • 1873, Oct 16 – North Carolina Gazette reports “last Friday afternoon the colored fire company were out on practice and parade. A short time after its going back to quarters, the alarm of fire was given for the 7th ward, which brought out the whole fire department of the town. It proved, however, to be a false alarm.”
  • 1874, Feb 7 – The Stateman notice, shown, names the colored fire company as the Frizzel Fire Company.
  • 1874, Sep 3 – North Carolina Gazette reports on a fire and mentions the colored fire company that “worked splendidly, as it always does; and, notwithstanding the fact that the alarm was given when the majority of the members were at home at dinner, they would have saved the building if there had been a sufficient supply of water.”
  • 1875, Apr 8 – North Carolina Gazette reports on recent state legislature act authoring a (re)organization of the fire department, which was followed by a town ordnance. The new FFD consisted of a Chief Fire Warden and seven assistants, the white Engine Co. No. 1, the black Engine Co. No. 2, the black Hook and Ladder Co., and the white Bucket Co. Each company would have a captain, four assistants, a secretary, and treasurer.
  • 1875, May 13 – North Carolina Gazette reports that the Frizell (sic) Fire Company took their engine and equipment to the Market House and “surrendered them to the municipal authorities.” They apparently disbanded and in protest to a matter involving the Registrar refusing to allow the votes of certain men who claimed to be fire company members.
  • 1875, Aug 28 –Educator notice, signed by “many citizens,” condemning the “many false reports and misrepresentations” being circulated about the town’s black population, with regard to the colored fire company, their disbanded in May, and what reads like politics that were in play.
  • 1877, Sep 20 – North Carolina Gazette reports that a parade will be held that day with the town’s two colored fire companies along with a company from Raleigh.

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Death of New Bern Assistant Fire Chief Johnnie Gaskill, 1904

How exactly did New Bern Assistant Fire Chief John “Johnnie” J. Gaskill die in the line of duty on November 6, 1904? His death been long-attributed to injuries resulting from a fire horse kicking him in the head. In recent years, NBFD historian Daniel Bartholf dug deep into surviving records and newspaper clippings and wasn’t able to find a consistently cited cause.

In his 2019 book History of Firefighting in New Bern, North Carolina – Colonial Days to the 21st Century, Bartholf writes “On November 6, 1904, Assistant Chief Johnnie J. Gaskill died at 29 because of complications from a “brief but very distressing illness”. He had been sick for two weeks. His exact cause of death is unclear. (Nov. 8, 1904 The Daily Journal)”

Looking at some surviving newspaper clippings, see below, this information is presented:

  • Charlotte Daily Observer – Nov 8, 1904 – “…died last night after a week’s illness of blood-poisoning.”
  • Daily Journal – Nov 8, 1904 – “He had been sick for two weeks and from the first his case was regard as desperate.”
  • North Carolinian – Nov 10, 1904 – “The cause was a complication of diseases.”

Gaskill was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery on November 8. The hearse was drawn by the state’s oldest fire horse, “Old Jim.” Recounted a special report to the Charlotte Observer, “Both fire companies attended in a body, and the fire bell was tolled as the services were being conducted.”

Alas, no death certificate has been found to date by Legeros.

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Master List of North Carolina Tillers

Last updated October 19, 2022

Here’s a master list of all tractor-drawn aerial ladders (tillers) (plus one tiller rescue) past ‘n’ present ‘n’ future in North Carolina. Will update going forward, with newer deliveries. May expand with models and other details:

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Historical Perspective on Mass Shootings in Raleigh

Five people were killed and two were injured in an active shooter incident in east Raleigh on October 13, 2022. The gunman was also injured. See news reports and prior posting. What’s the historical perspective of mass shootings and similar incidents in Raleigh and Wake County? Notable incidents include:

1965, May 17 – Downtown Shooting, Raleigh

Five people shot and injured in the 400 block of S. Bloodworth Street, gunman shot into group on a sidewalk in front of a tavern. None were critically wounded. Source: News & Observer, May 18, 1965, page 24. “Five People Shot At Tavern Here.”

1972, May 29 – North Hills Sniper, Raleigh

Sniper at North Hills Mall. Four fatalities including gunman, self-inflicted as police arrived, and eight wounded. Shots fired from parking lot at front entrance, from between parked cars, at people entering and exiting the mall. The shooting lasted between four and six minutes. Web retrospective,

1982, October 8-11 – Amtrak Hostage Situation, Raleigh

Hostage situation on Amtrak train at Seaboard Station. Two fatalities. Gunman apprehended. Standoff starts about 7:30 a.m. on a Friday, after gunshots are heard in passenger car. Male subject surrenders at 5:45 a.m. on following Monday. Body of woman and nine-month old infant discovered in cabin. Four year-old infant survived. Facebook retrospective,

2010, May 30 – Active Shooter at Target, Apex

Active shooter at Target at Beaver Creek Commons in Apex. Two fatalities, including gunman, self-inflicted. Dispatched about 11:09 a.m. Police found a cashier, fatally shot, in the front of the store. About 150 people were inside at the time of the incident. Blog post about fire/EMS response:

2016, August 13 – Reported Shooting at Crabtree Valley Mall

Reported shooting (none found) at Crabtree Valley Mall. Multiple medical emergencies during and after. Nine transported and 11 additional patient contacts. Dozens (couple hundred?) of people evacuated to secure locations, including across Glenwood Avenue to grassy area/road in front of Marriot Hotel. The heat index was over 100 degrees during the multi-hour incident. Blog post about incident,

Other Notable Multi-Patient Incidents

  • 1974, Aug 12 – Amtrak train derailed near Wake Forest. With 28 of 270 injured.
  • 1977, Jun 30 – Food poisoning at Royal Villa Hotel in Raleigh. As many as 200 patients.
  • 1988, Feb 19 – American Eagle Flight 3378 crashed at RDU. Twelve killed.
  • 1994, Dec 13 – American Eagle Flight 3378 crashed in Morrisville. Fifteen killed, five hospitalized.
  • 2005, Aug 2 – Amtrak train derailed after striking dump truck on Rush Street. Two killed in truck. Of the 196 passengers on the train, at least 15 were transported with minor injuries.
  • 2010, Feb 13 – Illness at Sheraton Hotel in Raleigh. Nearly 140 patients triaged, 40 required treatment. 

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Run Card for Hedingham Shootings

Posting last updated November 8, 2022, at 7:05 a.m.

See more Legeros photos | Read Raleigh Police five-day report (PDF)  | Read historical perspective on mass shootings in Raleigh

Here are notes about the fire and EMS response to the active shooter incident in Raleigh on October 13, 2022. Five people were shot and killed, including an off-duty Raleigh police officer. Two others were injured, including a second Raleigh police officer. The gunman was also injured. 

The incident was initiated at approximately 5:09 p.m., with a call for service reporting multiple shots fired in the vicinity of the golf course in the Hedingham neighborhood in east Raleigh. At or about 5:12 p.m., the first calls were received reporting the discovery of two shooting victims in the 5300 block of Sahalee Way. They were subsequently identified as Marcille Gardner and Nicole Conners. Shortly after those calls, another shooting victim was discovered in the 6000 block of Osprey Cove Drive. He was subsequently identified as off-duty Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres. Subsequent 911 callers reported finding victims on Sahalee Way near Castle Pines Drive, and along the Neuse River Greenway Trail just east of the residential area. They were later identified as Mary Marshall and Susan Karnatz. 

First-arriving units were initially directed to stage at Raleigh Fire Station 21, which became the dedicated staging area and fire/EMS command post. Some units were later deployed as EMS task forces, to other staging locations, including the intersection of Old Milburnie Road and New Bern Avenue. Law enforcement command was located outside the Aldi grocery store at the northeast corner of New Bern Avenue and North Rogers Lane, and officers also staged at locations including near Beaverdam Elementary School near Old Milburnie Road.

Responding fire and EMS agencies included Raleigh FD, Knightdale FD, Wake New Hope FD, Wake County EMS. Responding law enforcement agencies included Raleigh PD, Wake County SO, State Highway Patrol. Other agencies on scene include Wake County EM.

The incident spanned many square miles of residential and rural areas, including the Neuse Greenway Trail. Numerous road closures were enacted, including a section of Interstate 540. 

In addition to the aforementioned victims, a 16 year-old male victim was discovered deceased inside a residence in the 2200 block of Castle Pines Drive, a couple hours into the incident. Also, Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark suffered a gunshot wound, while officers were attempting to search two outbuildings near McConnell Oliver Drive.

Will be updated in the future, as additional information is released. 

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Two Alarms on Shanda Drive

Mike Legeros photo

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Two alarms were struck at 6101 Shanda Drive on Sunday, October 9. Dispatched at 5:01 a.m. as an automatic fire alarm for Engine 15 and Ladder 15. Upgraded to structure fire response, while units were en route. Engine 15 was first-arriving with heavy fire from the rear of three-story, garden-style apartment building with 5,062 square-feet. Built 1982. Fire also showing through the roof.

Second alarm struck within minutes. First hand lines to rear of the structure, as crews began attacking the fire, and evacuating and rescuing residents. Exterior attack on both sides of the structure, plus interior work. Crews breached walls to help contain the fire. 

Three aerials were deployed (Ladder 15 on reserve, Ladder 4, Ladder 23) and three hydrants were caught on Shanda Drive. Engine 19 boosted pressure from the hydrant farthest from the scene. Plus brief aerial operations by Ladder 15, in the rear of the building. Battalion 5 in command.

Controlled 6:17 a.m. Fifteen people were displaced. Three residents were injured, one was transported. Extended overhaul, with relief companies to scene at shift change. 

Medical branch with District 4 and  Medic 93. Staging officer Medic 94. Two Medical Intervention Teams deployed, one in front, one in rear of structure. 

Run Card

Fire alarm: E15, L15
Upgrade to structure fire: E4, E9, E16, L4, R16, B5, B4, ISO14
Working fire: DC1, INV1, A28, B1
Special call: L22, Sq14
Second alarm: E19, E18, E22, L6, L23
Medical: EMS 12, EMS 41, EMS 31, M92, M93, D4.

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