Kinston Fire Department History

Random research notes on the history of the Kinston Fire Department. 


  • 1878 – Lenoir County Court House destroyed by fire.
  • 1880 – Temporary courthouse burns.
  • 1885 – Population 3,000. No fire apparatus. Source: Sanborn.
  • 1891 – Population 2,000. No fire apparatus. Source: Sanborn.

1895 to 1899

  • 1895 – Great fire, destroys two blocks of buildings, which comprised nearly the entire business district. 
  • 1895 – Steam engine added. Third-size Silsby, 500 GPM, delivered March 22, 1895.
  • 1895? – Fire department organized. Hand reel (home made) and steam engine.
  • 1896 – Kinston Mantel Company fire.
  • 1896 – After fire, wagon and horse added. Horse is also used for street cleaning.
  • 1896? – Tower built in rear of city hall, for drying hose, and bell at top as fire alarm.
  • 1896 – KFD snapshot: volunteer, 60 members, one Silsby steamer, one hose wagon, two horses,600-feet new home, five fire wells with steamer attachments. Source: Sanborn.
  • 1897 – Atlantic Coast Line depot fire.
  • 1897 – After fire, more hose added, and six sets of hats, boots, and coats.
  • 1897 – First water main added. This supplemented the Neuse River and several deep wells.
  • 1898 – Hook and ladder wagon added, hand-pulled, used by colored fire company. Carried five ladders.

Continue reading ‘Kinston Fire Department History’ »

Facebook Comments

Remembering a Fallen Brother

On Sunday, June 14, 1987, Greensboro Fire Department Captain Raymond J. Cockman, 49, suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty at Station 6, which was then located on Westover Terrace.

He was Captain on Engine 6, and they had just returned from a call. It was 7:20 p.m. and they were getting ready to play basketball.

The other firefighters at the station promptly started CPR. Guilford County EMS arrived and began advanced patient care.

Raymond’s brother Larry was a Captain on nearby Engine 9. His Battalion Chief, also housed at that station, took Larry to Station 6. They responded with lights and siren.

Larry remembers holding his brother’s hand as he passed away.

Raymond had been a member of the department 29 years. He was loved by many, and the reason that Larry entered the department.

Two days later, the funeral service was held at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The arrangements were handled by Forbis and Dick funeral service. The burial was at Lakewood Cemetery in Greensboro.

The night before, Larry and the family received friends for four hours at the visitation. The next day, hundreds of firefighters attended the funeral. The procession included several Greensboro fire units.

At the burial, Larry remembers, it was a bright sunny day. “And all of a sudden, a big rain cloud just came over and dumped rain” on everyone at the grave site. We all said it was his last prank on us, everyone “standing out in the rain in full dress uniform.” Larry remembers his brother as a “fun-loving jokester.”

On the day of Raymond’s passing, the two brothers had attended a funeral that morning, for the brother of Greensboro firefighter Eddie Coleman. Larry notes that Eddie as always a good friend to both of them. Now retired, Eddie’s on the list for a future interview. Since 2019, Larry has been interviewing retired GFD members as part of a department-wide history project.

Larry still vividly remembers the day of his brother’s passing, the support of his fellow firefighters, and many who came to the visitation.

“My brother was a college athlete who played quarterback at Lees McCrae and ASU. At the visitation, his high school coach was there and he whispered in my ear that Raymond the best quarterback he had ever coached.”

Larry recalls that when his older brother graduated from Rankin High School, he was selected as their Mascot and got to dress up in a cap and gown and march with them. “At eight years old I thought I had really done something.”

Now a retired Battalion Chief himself, he looks back on June 14 and says “that was the toughest day in the fire department I ever had.” And adds, the second toughest day was when I went back to the station, to get his clothes and clean out his locker.


Raymond Cockman was the second Greensboro firefighter to die in the line of duty. Firefighter Jesse Grey died on Christmas Eve, 1969, after falling from and being run over an engine that was backing up. And April 10, 2002, Captain W. “Jackie” Beard died of a heart attack, while leading a live burn for recruits at a house on Church Street.

Old Station 6 on Westover Terrace opened in 1949 and closed in 1989 and was subsequently demolished. The present Station 6, formerly numbered Station 17, is located at 4504 Lake Brandt Road. [It is now numbered Station 41.]

The Greensboro Fire Department history project has made 40+ video interviews of retired members available for public viewing at Here’s a news story about the project,

Facebook Comments

Relocating Fire Station 22 – June Updates

This is an ongoing blog posting about the relocating of Fire Station 22. 

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


  • 6/12/21 – June Update
  • 5/29/21 – Walls Going Up
  • 5/7/21 – Building construction started
  • 2/22/21 – Site clearing started
  • 12/23/20 – Construction bid awarded  
  • 9/16/20 – Construction bids started 
  • 6/25/19 – June Update
  • 4/23/19 – Revised Design Drawings / Demolition Fone
  • 3/23/19 – Demolition Starting
  • 2/15/19 – Temporary Quarters Occupied 
  • 10/22/18 – Temporary Quarters Being Installed
  • 12/1/17 – Design Services Selected
  • 8/14/17 – City Council to Approve Project

June Update

June 12, 2021

Project sign has been added at the site. Tim Blaisdell photo from June 5:

Updated drawing from Kane Davis Architects:

Walls Going Up

May 29, 2021 Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 22 – June Updates’ »

Facebook Comments

Wilmington Fire Department Historical Timeline

Wilmington Fire Department milestones. Research notes, based on this Facebook posting.

1745 – First tax for fire equipment.
1754 – First fire engine purchased.
1759 – First designated fireman.
1791 – First fire company incorporated.

1806 – Fire wardens appointed.
1810 – First major fire.
1841 – Fire department reorganized, with Fire Chief and Assistant Chief added.

Continue reading ‘Wilmington Fire Department Historical Timeline’ »

Facebook Comments

Raleigh Unit Renumbering Recap

This is a blog version of prior-posted Facebook content.

Earlier this year, the Raleigh Fire Department renumbered it’s ladder companies, along with Rescue 1, the haz-mat units, the mini-pumpers, and selected other units. 

Round One

Old New Date Loc Apparatus  Notes
Ladder 1 Ladder 4 01/25/21 Sta 4 2014 Pierce platform  
Ladder 2 Ladder 11 01/20/21 Sta 11 2015 Pierce tiller  
Ladder 3 Ladder 14 12/09/20 Sta 17 2007 Pierce ladder Future  Sta 14
Ladder 4 Ladder 1 01/25/21 Sta 1 2018 Pierce tiller  
Ladder 5 Ladder 25 01/18/21 Sta 25 2009 Pierce platform  
Ladder 6 Ladder 23 12/14/20 Sta 24 2005 Pierce ladder Future Sta 23
Ladder 7 Ladder 20 01/04/21 Sta 20 2009 Pierce platform  
Ladder 8 Ladder 12 01/11/21 Sta 12 2017 Pierce tiller  
Ladder 9 Ladder 6 12/21/20 Sta 23 2010 Pierce tiller Future Sta 6

Round Two

Effective on February 22, 2021, these units were renumbered:

Rescue 1 > Rescue 16

The unit number Rescue 1 was used from 1953 to 1976, and from 2009 to 2021. From then to now, the progression is R1 > R3 > R12 > R7 > R21 > R19 > R1 > R16.

Haz-Mat 1 > Haz-Mat 2 (staffed by E2)
Haz-Mat 2 > Haz-Mat 29 (main regional response unit, staffed by E29)
Haz-Mat 3 > Haz-Mat 8 (recon unit, staffed by E8)
Haz-Mat 4 > Haz-Mat 25 (decon unit, staffed by L25)
Haz-Mat 5 > Haz-Mat 27 (spill control unit, staffed by E27)

The first haz-mat unit was activated around June 29, 1984. It was a 1977 Chevrolet panel van, cross-staffed (as again today) by Engine 2.

Mini 1 > Mini 7 (staffed by Sq7)
Mini 2 > Mini 28 (staffed by E28)
Mini 3 > Mini 14 (staffed by Sq14)

The mini-pumpers also serve as towing units for boat trailers (Sq7, Sq14) and towing ATV trailer (Sq14).

ATV 1 > ATV 14
ATV 2 > ATV 25

Car 20 > Division Chief 1 (Operations shift commander at Sta 12)
Raleigh FD has five Division Chief positions, three in Operations (above, rotating), one in Logistics, and one in Professional Development.

Car 402 > Investigator 1 (Shift fire investigator, staffed by E1)
For most of the time since their inception in 1983, the Raleigh FD has primarily utilized part-time investigators, cross-staffed from an engine company. From 2007 to 2017, one full-time investigator was on duty each day at Station 1.

Photo credits Mike Legeros and Lee Wilson (top right)

Facebook Comments

Relocating Fire Station 3 – Design Contract Awarded

This is an ongoing blog posting about the project to relocate Raleigh Fire Station 3.


  • 5/26/21 – Design Contract Awarded
  • 11/5/17 – Property Purchased

May 26, 2021 – Design Contract Awarded

Included in the Consent Agenda for the May 18, 2021, meeting of City Council was authorization of a contract with Huffman Architects, PA, for the design of a new Fire Station 3 at  1000 Rock Quarry Road, for an amount not exceeding $799,988. They were selected from eight firms that responded to a request for qualifications that was issued on November 19, 2020, and were received on December 8. 

The project is for design and construction of a new station, necessitated by the age of the 1951 facility on South East Street, along with inadequate dormitory and parking space. The current station also causes an overlap of service areas that doesn’t allow for maximum response coverage, and reduces the city’s ability to meet the NFPA 1710 deployment standard.

The new facility will be approximately 12,000 square feet, with two apparatus bays to house Engine 3 and a reserve engine or ladder, as needed. 

View agenda item as well as PDF attachment

November 5, 2017 – Property Purchase Authorized

Included in the Consent Agenda for the November 8, 2017, meeting of City Council is authorization to purchase a portion of a parcel addressed as 1034 Bragg Street as a site for replacing Fire station 3. 

The fire station site faces Rock Quarry Road just north of Raleigh Boulevard. View agenda item as well as PDF attachment.

Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 3 – Design Contract Awarded’ »

Facebook Comments

Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – May 20, 2021

The Wake County Fire Commission will hold a special-called, virtual meeting on Thursday, May 20, 2021. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. 

The agenda and meeting documents are below. Information on submitting public comments and access for viewing/listening are posted on the Wake County Public Meetings Calendar

View Meeting Documents


  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Keith McGee
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members Present
  • Items of Business
    • Adoption of Minutes for January 21, 2021 Meeting
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Appointments to Health & Wellness Committee
    • Presentation on Re-Structure of the Fire Commission Membership
    • Discuss Meeting Options ( Virtual or In Person )
  • Public Comments:
    • Comments emailed in from the public, as directed on the public advertisement on the County
      Meeting Calendar prior to noon on May 20, 2021. Any comments received will be emailed to the
      Fire Commission prior to the meeting. Depending on the number of comments received, the
      comments may be read by Director Alford at this time.
  • Regular Agenda
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report – Michael Gammon
    • Standing Committee Updates
      • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Health & Wellness
      • Training
      • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting – July 15, 2021
Facebook Comments

Then and Now – Old Station 1, Durham

Friday night history. Then and now photo of old Durham Station 1. Top is Legeros photo from today, bottom is circa 1928. The two-story engine house at 212 N. Mangum Street opened in 1925, and included two front and one side apparatus bay. It was erected on the site of an earlier 1891 fire station, which was smaller and had a bell tower in the rear.

The engine house was occupied until the summer of 1964, when a new Station 1 was completed around the corner at 139 E. Morgan Street. The historic structure was converted for use by Durham Police, and later served as an office building before its current incarnation as a restaurant.

Read more about Durham former fire stations.

Facebook Comments

Raleigh Railroad Turntables

Random Raleigh history. Locations of the four railroad turntables of yore, from a July 31, 2020, posting of mine on Facebook. They’re also mapped on Google Maps

1 – Norfolk-Southern
USDA aerial photo, 1959

2 – Boylan Heights
USDA aerial photo, 1959

3 – West Johnson Street #1 – Seaboard Airline – Still operating
USDA aerial photo, 1959

4 – West Johnson Street #2 – Seaboard Airline – Presuming that a turntable was housed in that building.
Sanborn Map, 1914


USDA aerials

Sanborn Maps
That’s trickier. Hit the North Carolina Maps site, for public domain Sanborn Maps. But for the 1950 map, check the Library of Congress site. And if they don’t have that particular map digitized, use which will require access via your local library card/account.

Facebook Comments

Fallen Firefighters Golf Tournament in Raleigh – June 21, 2021

Event alert. The Raleigh Fire Department is hosting the Fifteenth Annual Golf Tournament in support of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). The event is Monday, June 21, 2021, at Bentwinds Golf & Country Club.

Entry fee for each golfer is $120.00. Team names and player fees must be submitted by June 5, 2021. The event is a Superball Golf Tournament with four-player teams. The date is June 21 at Bentwinds Country Club. Tee time is 10:00 a.m. Please arrive no later than 8:30 a.m., for complementary breakfast, hitting range balls, and playing in the putting contest.

See this PDF flyer for more information.

Facebook Comments