Guliford College Fire Department History

This blog post is based on a Facebook posting from May 2020, the content of which was moved here. 

Early years

  • 1941, July – Guilford College community members hold meeting about getting fire protection. They plan to petition the county for funds to buy a fire truck.
  • 1945, Aug – County commissioners approve a fire protection plan for Guilford College community.
  • 1946 – Fire department organized as Guilford College Community Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Inc.. They create a private corporation, with organization efforts starting circa April 1946.
  • First pumper is a 1941 Ford/Howe, purchased as war surplus, previously served Spartanburg, SC, military base. They also acquire a military surplus [?] 1750-gallon tanker.
  • Members purchased their own equipment and what passed for uniforms, often from the Sears catalog, the stories go. Department serves about 900 people [homes?].
  • 1946 – Station site acquired, 302 College Road at Savoy Lane. Purchased for $900.
  • 1947 – Station opened. Completed by November 1947. Members raised over $4,000 for the project, over several weeks ending in December 1946.
  • 1949 – GCCVFA incorporated.

Fifties and Sixties

  • 1958, May – Special election held to establish a fire protection district for GCFD, and with a fire tax with a rate of ten cents on every $100.
  • 1959, circa – Satellite station opened at 6017 Inman Road. Later numbered Guilford County Station 19. From tax records, property card records GCCVFA as owner starting 1959.
  • 1962, Apr – GCFD is responsible for fire protection at the airport, says the airport authority. This statement is made during a period of evaluating the airport’s firefighting capabilities. Eventually, the county takes responsibility and creates an airport FD that’s activated in 1965.
  • 1965 – Original pumper retired. Restored circa 1970 and used for fire prevention activities.
  • 1965 – Guilford College annexed by city, along with areas east to Muirs Chapel, and north along Westridge.
  • [ Sometime around this time, GCFD adds capacity for foam operations at the tank farm that’s in their district. More goes here. ]
  • 1969, circa – First [?] rescue truck added, 1969 Ford C600/Reading rescue.

Main Station Moved

  • 1970 – New station site acquired at 201 College Road. Ownership recorded as transferred to GCCVFA in 1970.
  • 1970, fall? – Station moved to 201 College Road. Numbered Guilford County Station 17. [When did the county numbering start?] Dedication reported in Nov-Dec 1970 issue of Hose & Nozzle. Between 400 and 500 people attend ceremony. Open house sponsored by GCFD Ladies Auxiliary. Costs $200,000.
  • 1971 – Old Station 17 site ownership recorded as transferred to private owner.
  • 1973 – Aerial apparatus added, first for any county FD. 1973 Ford C/Pierce Telesqurt, 1000/500/200/50-foot
  • 1982 – Dry-chemical unit added, 1982 International/Marion/Ansul Mangum 480, 200/1350#.
  • 1980s (early?) – GCFD plans for Station 39 on Market Street near the airport and tank farm, including designating the chemical truck as Chemical 39. The plans are abandoned after the city annexes that area.
  • 1980s – City annexations substantial areas of GCFD district, including south of the airport/Market/I-40, east of the airport to College Road, and north along College Road.

Another Move

  • 1987 – Station 17 on College Road and Station 19 on Inman Road both closed. GCFD moves to single location, new Station 19 at 6001 Old Oak Ridge Road on Sep 15, 1987. Costs $729,000.
  • 1988 – Station 17 site at 302 College Road site ownership recorded as transferred to City of Greensboro.
  • 1988 – Station 19 site at 6017 Inman Road site ownership recorded as transferred to airport authority. [ However, the tax records property card records owners as GCCVFA – 1959, then airport authority – 1985, then GCCVFA – 1985, then airport authority – 1988. ]
  • 1994, June – Department protects a “rapidly developing” 16 square-mile district. News Record, 6/4/94.
  • 1997/1998, annexation(s)
  • Nearly 10 square-miles north of airport, adding about 9,300 residents protected by GCFD. News Record, Feb 9, 1997.

Airport Expansion

  • 1998, summer – Airport offers department $1.2 million for their fire station. Department makes counter offer of $1.97 million. The authority backs off the discussion and hires an appraiser to estimate the value of the building and the four-acre site. Two prior appraisals placed the value at around $1.2M. The airport also asked a construction company for an estimate on the cost to rebuild the station on another site. The bid was $1.35 million. Winston-Salem Journal, Jan 20, 1999.
  • 1998, October – Study released by city, commissioned one year ago, to explore possibility of merging Guilford College, Colfax, and Pinecroft Sedgefield fire departments into the city. The report says it would save money, improve services, and remove duplication, if CFD and GCFD were merged with GFD. Among the savings: $300,000 per year paid to GCFD and CFD for protection of annexed areas. If the city annexes the GCFD area, a merger would save the city $3.15 million. The merger would also add a volunteer force to the city. However, PSFD is recommended to remain independent, because its large rural district is too expensive to cover. News-Record, 10/3/98.
  • 1999, Mar 23 – Airport authority votes to condemns fire station site, valuing the property at $1.2 million, which they had offered to GCFD, and which was the highest of three real-estate appraisals of the building. The action happens after months of intermittent negotiations, and the department’s belief that the station is worth $1.965 million. The vote sends the issue to Guilford Superior Court for mediation.
  • Buying the station, which has been approved by the FAA, has been on the airport’s FAA-master plan for several years. The airport is seeking to build a new runway as part of a proposed FedEx hub. Opponents of the project are asking the federal government to block the airport’s decision. They have urged GCFD to fight the condemnation proceedings vigorously, saying it’s unfair, because the airport is a public agency, pays no fire district tax, but accounts for 40-percent of GCFD’s runs.
  • Tentative plans for FedEx Hub call for the fire station to be demolished and replaced with a ramp for cargo plane parking. The FedEx project accelerated the airport’s efforts to buy the station, and as part of the initial agreement between FedEx and the airport, FedEx asked the airport to move aggressively on buying the fire station, because of the time it can take to relocate public-safety buildings. FedEx hoped to open its hub within four years.
  • Said Fire Chief David Douglas, they knew when the built the station 12 years that the airport would want to buy the property someday. News Record, Mar 24, 30, 1999.
  • 1999, Mar – GCFD has a mixture of career and volunteer members. They protect 12,000 people, and is the primarily source for structural protection at the airport. They are also seriously considering a merger with the city. News Record, Mar 30, 1999.

Plans with City

  • 2000 – Station 19 moved to 6405 Old Oak Ridge Road. New Facility built as joint venture with GCFD and city. By this time, the GCFD district had shrunk from 40 to 11 square miles, with much of the remaining territory consisting of the tax-exempt airport. And thus, GCFD had lost of its remaining fire tax revenue base.
  • 2000 – Old Station 19 site ownership recorded as transferred to airport authority.
  • 2001 – GCFD merged with City of Greensboro. Station 19 became GFD Station 17.
  • 2004 – Old Station 19 on Inman Road and old Station 19 on Old Oak Ridge Road demolished, for FedEx hub construction. Both sections of road also removed, and Old Oak Ridge Road is rerouted slightly north.

Apparatus

  • 1941 Ford/Howe pumper, 500/? – Restored circa 1970 – Disposed to Greensboro.
  • 1940s tanker, ex-military [?] – 1750 gallons
  • 1950s [?] Kaiser-Jeep brush truck
  • 1959 [?] Ford C/Howe pumper/pumper-tanker – Need details
  • 1960s Ford C/____ pumper/pumper-tanker – Need details
  • 1969 Ford C600/Reading rescue – Squad 19 – Disposed to Guilford County [correct?] as first haz-mat truck [correct?]
  • 1973 Ford C/Pierce Telesqurt, 1000/500/200/50-foot – Snorkel 17, then Snorkel 19, then Engine 192 – Sold to Knighdale Public Safety in Wake County.
  • 1974? Dodge/Pierce, 250/250 mini-pumper – [Unit] 197
  • 1976 – Ford C/Pierce pumper – Engine 171 – Sold to Rowen-Iredell FD
  • 1978 – Ford C/Pierce pumper, 1000/500 – Engine 122 – Disposed to Deep River FD.
  • 1982 International/Marion/Ansul Mangum 480, 200/1350# – Chemical 39 at Station 17 on College Road, then Chemical 19 at Station 19 on Old Oak Ridge Road – Disposed to Greensboro.
  • 1982 Pierce tanker – Need more details
  • 1983? Chevy Bonaventure passenger van – Rescue 19 – Sold to Summerfield FD
  • 1985 Pierce dash pumper, 1000/1250/100 – Tanker 194 – Disposed to Climax FD.
  • 1985 Pierce Dash pumper, 1000/1250/30 – Engine 191
  • 1990 Pierce Dash Pumper
  • 1990 Pierce Lance rescue – Disposed to Greensboro.
  • 1991 Duplex D-450/Grumman AerialCat tower, 1500/300/102-feet – Ladder 19 – Sold to Eden, NC
  • Alt. model year 1992
  • 1992? Ford/____ ambulance – Rescue 19 – Used for medical calls, but not equipped for patient transport – Sold to Stokesdale FD.
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