Visual History of North Carolina Steam Fire Engines

Time for another chart!

Here’s the visual history of the steam fire engines in North Carolina, beginning with their heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. They were labor savers that transformed the hand-powered fire service, although a few steamers were also hand-pulled during their early years.

See the chart in JPG format or PDF format.

See the originating historical notes at

See more history charts at

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Miss Lillian Brown – Mascot of Greensboro’s Eagle Hose Company

From the Department of Gender Studies, here are a couple stories from the 1890s about the Greensboro Fire Department’s Eagle Hose Company’s “mascot,” Miss Lillian Brown. Plus a photograph that appeared in the 1896 proceedings of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association.

Newspapers copied from, via free access from the NC State Government & Heritage Library. Proceedings excerpt via this library of mine

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Early Charlotte Fire Department History

Also found these last week, very early Charlotte news stories about their first fire engine and fire company. They’re dated between 1834 and 1845.

Plus an 1856 story about a public meeting held for the purpose of organizing, or perhaps re-organizing, the fire department. Good breadcrumb trail for anyone interested in pursuing.

From via free access from the State Library of North Carolina. Originally posted as a pair of postings on Legeros Fire Line on Facebook, one of several about the early histories of the state’s oldest fire departments. Click to enlarge:

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Wilmington Fire Department Organized – 1842

Found these last week. Newspaper article about an early iteration of the Wilmington Fire Department in 1842. Might be the original or first “formal” version of WFD. Plus an editorial from the year before, with detailed suggestions for same. Plus an account of the great 1840 fire, that they reference.

From via free access from the State Library of North Carolina. This is a blog version of a posting from Legeros Fire Line on Facebook, one of several recent postings poking into the earliest histories of the state’s oldest fire departments. Click to enlarge:

Continue reading ‘Wilmington Fire Department Organized – 1842’ »

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Vintage Greenville and Pitt County Rescue Trucks

For your  Monday enjoyment, vintage images of Greenville and Pitt County rescue trucks, as photographed by the Daily Reflector in the 1950s and 1960s, via Joyner Library at East Carolina University, via their Digital Collections.

See individual images on the Facebook side, in this photo album.

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Was Charlotte’s 1866 Hand Engine Named… Crazy Hannah??

Here’s something interesting. Couple stories from 1874-75 suggesting that the Charlotte Fire Department’s famous 1866 Jeffers hand engine–see in recent years at special events statewide–was once named “Crazy Hannah.” The articles are attached below. See what you think.

CFD reacquired the engine on March 28, 2012. It was originally purchased by the city in 1866, and was their first pumping engine. It was built by the William Jeffers Company and served the city from 1866 to 1901.

More views of the engine, as photographed by Legeros in 2012 at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo in this Flickr album.



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Heat Map of State Convention Locations

With the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo starting next week in Raleigh, here’s a visual history of the prior conference locations. In the style of a heat map. 

Needs a little work. Starting with a better base map. Also, Winston (2) and Winston-Salem (9) are merged into one, with Winston-Salem (11). Also, also, tournaments were conducted for the first few decades. Could be fun to add those, in some fashion. 

Another idea, create a second map–or interactive map, with layers–showing the locations and counts of the “colored” firefighters association, which also held annual conventions for decades. 

Source data included below. 


North Carolina State Firefighter’s Association

Counts of conference locations. Note that the event was cancelled three times during World War II.

15 – Raleigh
13 – Greensboro
12 – Asheville
11 – Charlotte
11 – Wilmington
9 – Winston-Salem + 2 – Winston
8 – Carolina Beach
8 – New Bern
7 – Durham
6 – Fayetteville
6 – Morehead City
4 – Salisbury
2 – Boone
2 – Goldsboro
2 – Hendersonville
2 – Hickory
1 – Gastonia
1 – Greenville
1 – Hamlet
1 – High Point
1 – Lumberton
1 – Pinehurst
1 – Statesville
1 – Wrightsville Beach

North Carolina Volunteer Firemen’s Association

Counts for conference locations. From 1890 to 1978, though the source data is incomplete. Need locations for a number of years. Also, this convention was cancelled a number of times during World War II:

9 – Wilson
7 – Warrenton
6 – Tarboro
5 – Greenville
5 – Oxford
3 – Concord
3 – East Spencer
3 – Elizabeth City
3 – Farmville
3 – Wake Forest
3 – Washington
3 – Winston
2 – Charlotte
2 – Durham
2 – Enfield
2 – Greensboro
2 – Monroe
2 – Raleigh
1 – Fayettville
1 – Henderson
1 – Louisburg
1 – New Bern
1 – Rocky Mount
1 – Salisbury
1 – Wilmington

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Relocating Fire Station 14 – August Update

This is an ongoing blog posting about the relocating of Fire Station 14. 

See Legeros updates below. See also ongoing Legeros photos. And here’s the official project site from the city.


  • 8/10/19 – Walls Going Up
  • 6/25/19 – Site Work Nearly Finished
  • 3/23/19 – Site Work Finishing
  • 7/25/18 – Site Work Started
  • 1/17/17 – Construction Bid Awarded
  • 12/28/17 – Site Cleared
  • 11/9/16 – Second Public Meeting
  • 8/15/16 – Drawings and Floor Plan
  • 8/6/16 – Public Meeting

August 10, 2019
Walls are going up!

June 25, 2019
Site work is nearly finished on new Station 14 on Harden Road. Sediment monitoring is nearing completion for the back fill of the retaining wall and footers and under-slab utilities should begin in July 2019.

Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 14 – August Update’ »

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North Carolina Pump School

Question from reader Dave Parker, asking the age of this North Carolina Pump School booklet, that someone at his station received from a retired guy some time ago.

Answers Legeros, it likely dates from between 1953 and 1966. Those were the years that the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association conducted an annual pump school separate from their annual fire college and drill school.

The fire college was first held in 1929, and ended in 2002. Or maybe later. Legeros is still researching.

As for the pump school, these were those dates:

1953 – 1st – Charlotte 
1954 – 2nd – Charlotte 
1955 – 3rd – Charlotte 
1956 – 4th – Charlotte 
1957 – 5th – Charlotte 
1958 – 6th – Charlotte 
1959 – 7th – Charlotte 
1960 – 8th – Charlotte 
1961 – 9th – Charlotte 
1962 – 10th – Charlotte 
1963 – 11th – Charlotte 
1964 – 12th – Charlotte 
1965 – 13th – Greensboro 
1966 – 14th – Raleigh 
1967 – No more separate pump schools

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Two Alarms on Millbrook Road – August 2

Notes for the archives. Two alarms were struck on August 2, 2019, at Crossroads Fellowship Church at 2721 E. Millbrook Road. Dispatched as an automatic fire alarm at 11:03 p.m. for Engine 19 and Ladder 2. Units arrived at a one-story, concrete, warehouse-type building with 220,000+ square-feet.

Nothing showing on arrival on Engine 19. As engine company personnel entered the front of the structure, they encountered moderate smoke conditions. Engine 19 upgraded the incident to a working fire. Ladder 2 circled the building on their arrival, and also observed smoke coming from a roll-up door.

Crews entered with hand lines, and began searching for the seat of the fire. Ladder 2 also deployed, in preparation for aerial operations. As heavier smoke conditions were encountered throughout the building, and due to the size of the structure, a second alarm was requested early into the incident.

Engine 19 established their own water supply in the front of the structure, and second-due Engine 15 established a secondary water supply in the rear, and supplied Ladder 2.

Once the seat of the fire was located, and with additional sections of hose added, the fire was extinguished. The building’s sprinkler system had also activated, and extinguished other areas of fire, with just hot spots remaining.

After the fire was controlled, second alarm companies were brought in, and rotated with first-alarm units. Crews were subsequently rotated to complete ventilation, which required extended operations to clear the large structure of smoke.

Fire Alarm: E19, L2
Structure Fire, Working Fire: E15, E27, E21, L1, R1, B1, B5, A2, C20, C402
Second Alarm: E16, E4, E22, L8, L3

Dispatched: 11:03 p.m.
Arrived: 11:08 p.m.
Controlled: 12:59 p.m.

No injuries were reported. Cause was undetermined.

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