New Hanover County Fire History – Research Notes

Wrapped another squirrel chase! This one started as a question: what’s the origin story of New Hanover’s county fire department? How did a system of community (or “rural”) volunteer fire departments (Castle Hayne, Myrtle Grove, North Wilmington, etc.) evolve into a career, county-run department?

It’s story told in two parts. First, in 1950, with the creation of a one-man county fire department, that operated for two years, first from the airport, and then in a garage used by the Maffitt Village VFD, south of the city.

Fast-forward to 1993 and the closure of the North Wilmington VFD. That left a district along Highway 421, north of Wilmington, without a nearby fire station. The long response times compelled the county fire commission to recommend to county commissioners that a new department be organized. Thus begat the first county-operated fire station. And the beginnings of the current New Hanover County FD

Those stories and many others are told in Mike’s newest collection of research notes. They also include explorations of South/North Wilmington VFD, and Winter Park VFD. Plus a ton of other notes, maps, graphics, and more. Visit the site at


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