Charlotte Fire Department Rescue History

Photo credits, left to right, top to bottom: Shane Nantz, Andrew Messer Collection, Andrew Messer, Mike Legeros, Wikipedia Commons, SVI Trucks.

Introduction

Research notes on the history Charlotte FD rescue services (and squad companies), based on a Facebook posting from December 2020.

1949 to 1979

  • 1949 – Charlotte Life Saving Crew organized. [ More history goes here. Did they have technical rescue services from the get-go? If not, what year were those added? And when did they cease providing those services inside the city? ]
  • 1952 – City Council rejects Fire Chief’s request for appropriation for a “trained, equipped, life-saving squad.” Source: Charlotte Observer, Apr 18, 1958.   
  • 1958 – CFD chief’s cars are equipped with resuscitators, but are not authorized to operate outside the city. Source: Charlotte Observer, Apr 18, 1958.
  • 1959 – City Council awards bid on Jun 29, 1959, for fully-equipped Civil Defense rescue truck for CFD. Named Rescue 1, housed at Sta 1. 
  • 1974, circa – Civil Defense rescue truck moved from Sta 1 to Sta 9.
  • 1974 – Engine 20 disbanded and reorganized as Squad 1 at Sta 1. Was a manpower unit (flying squad) with three FFs and an Officer. Later increased to five members per day. First apparatus is GMC passenger van, ex-Training, that was originally red and painted yellow. Later was a Ford Econoline passenger van which started yellow, and was later painted red and white.
  • Squad 1 answered all working fires, multi-alarm fires, pin jobs, and rescue calls, plus all fire alarms in the downtown “high value” district. For pin jobs and rescue calls, the response was Squad 1 + Truck 7, below.
  • Original plan was to test one squad company, and if it work, have one in each District/Battalion. That never happened as the loss of Engine 61 and Engine 63 led to four-person staffing on ladders, instead. Source: CFD web history, OH.
  • 1974, circa – 1974 Ford/____ rescue truck, medium-duty/utility body delivered. Named Truck 7 at Station 1, and assigned a dedicated Engineer. Carried rescue tools and a cascade system. Later renamed Rescue 1. Source: OH.
  • 1974, circa – Rescue 1 at Sta 1 displaced by Truck 7, and moved to Sta 9. Source: OH.
  • 1976 – “Squad truck” described as a “special firefighter squad to fight fires anywhere in the city.” Source: Charlotte Observer, [need date].
  • 1977 – Civil Defense rescue truck still at Station 9. Source: OH.

1980 to 1999

  • 1983 – Squad 1 manpower expands from four to five, when the Battalion Chiefs each lost their drivers that year. Source: OH.
  • 1987/88 – Squad 2 activated at Sta 12, with five personnel, also with a van, and also serving as a manpower unit. The Squad 1 response area was split with Squad 2, which covered south Charlotte. Source: OH.
  • 1989 – Two 1988 Pierce Lance rescues delivered, Squad 1 (Sta 1) and Squad 2 (Sta 12). At Station 1, the new rescue replaced both the old Squad 1 (van) and Truck 7/Rescue 1 (rescue truck). Staffing was increased from five to six. At Station 12, the new rescue replaced the van, and staffing was also increased from five to six. Source: OH.
  • 1989/90 – Squad 2 relocated from Sta 12 to Sta 10, after Ladder 10 was moved to Sta 13, after Sta 25 opened. This put both squads effectively downtown, with no south Charlotte coverage. Squad 1 was thus moved to Sta 14, and later to Sta 3. Source: OH.
  • 1993 – Squad 2 (at Sta 10) renamed Squad 10. Source: OH.
  • 1993-1994 – Squad 1 (at Sta 14) renamed Squad 14. Source: OH.
  • Mid/Late 1990s – Squad 14 moved to Sta 3 and renamed Squad 3.
  • 1998 – Two 1999 Spartan/Salisbury rescues delivered, Rescue 3, Rescue 10. Source: CFDT.
  • 1998 – Squad 3, Squad 10 renamed Rescue 3, Rescue 10, upon delivery of the new trucks. Source: CFDT.

2000 – present

  • 200_ – USAR apparatus added. [ Need year for USAR team activation, NC Task Force activation, etc. ]
  • 2010 – Two 2009 Spartan rescues delivered, Rescue 3, Rescue 10. Source: CFDT.
  • 2019 – Two 2018 Spartan/SVI rescues delivered, Rescue 3, Rescue 10. Source: CFDT.
  • 2020, Oct 10 – Rescue 3 deactivated, Rescue 11 activated. Source: CFDT.

More Information

Sources

  • CFDT – charlottefdtrucks.com
  • OH – oral histories
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