First Rated Rural Water Supply – Nahunta FD, 1979

Note: See this Facebook posting for comments and discussion about this blog posting.

On August 1, 1979, the Nahunta Fire Department in Wayne County became the first rural fire department in North Carolina–and in the United States–to receive a Class 8 fire protection rating for its rural water supply system, that used tankers and portable dump tanks to provide a sustained and consistent flow of water for firefighting.

This news was announced at that year’s annual conference of the state firemen’s association and state fire chief’s association, held in Asheville from July 30 to August 2. Remarks made at the event, as recounted in the printed proceedings, noted that through the department didn’t have a hydrant within about seven or eight miles of their district, but still received a “Municipal Class 8” rating by the Insurance Services Office.

The rating was based on the “Fast Dump System,” as they called it. And it was something that had been in the works for about eleven years. (At Nahunta? In Wayne County? In other places in the state?) The Fire Chief was Jay Howell, who took a nod during the announcement. Wayne County Fire Marshal Carl Ray Coley’s efforts were also cited.

To share the knowledge, an evening meeting was held at the conference, for any department members to attend and ask questions about how ISO determined rating, and how other departments might qualify in the future.

The state fire commissioner’s office (as one speaker called it) also assisted, and noted that Nahunta was also the first rural fire district in the nation to receive such a rating, for the “fast dump system.” The state fire and rescue office “recommended and trained with” the department until the water supply system was approved. And they noted they’re working with other departments in the state, for use in their areas.

One colorful description of the process was “its just like having a big wash tub near the fire scene where the water supply from that fire district can be tanked in and dumped [in].”

Who were the next departments in the state to receive such a rating? Good question!

How quickly did departments in other states get rated by ISO, using the same system? To be determined!

When was the “fast dump system” first started in North Carolina, or in the other states? Have long heard it came from Midwestern farmers in the late 1960s, and a resulting presentation at FDIC on year. Need more information.

Historical Perspective

The Nahunta Fire Department was organized after a meeting on February 12, 1958, by Nahunta Farmers Club members who wanted fire protection for their area. They became one of the earliest rural fire departments in Wayne County, and organized with two stations: No. 1 at Nahunta and No. 2 on Gurley Dairy Road.

They elected officers and a board of directors. The department collected monies from the communities, beginning with a minimum of $5 per tobacco barn. They also solicited donations.

Station 1 was located just behind Nahunta School on a donated site, shown on left below. Construction started in 1959 on a cement block building measuring 30 by 40 feet. The first apparatus was a Army surplus International truck bought in 1958 for $150 and converted into a pumper. A similar truck was purchased for Station 2.

In 1960, a “state dump truck” was purchased for $250 and the bumper body was designed and built by firemen. In 1961, Station 2 bought a Chevy truck for $150 for a tanker.

The Wayne County tax department provide a donation of around $200 in 1959. Other funds came from fundraisers ranging from turkey shoots to fish stews. Car identification tags were sold and a go-cart was raffled.

In November 1962, three sets of protective personal equipment were ordered for each of the two stations. Later, each fireman paid one-half of the cost of their gear, and the department paid the other.

On Thanksgiving of 1961, construction started on Station 2. The cement block building coast $1800 and was erected by local firemen, which the exception of the cement laying. The 0.3 acre lot was donated.

Until 1964, bi-monthly meetings alternated between both buildings. They then recognized the need for having faster response times, and covering areas beyond the four-mile limit. Thus the two stations were divided, and began operating under separate charters. Equipment was divided between the two stations.

Station 1 became the Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department. Station 2 became the Little River Volunteer Fire Department.

Nahunta’s 1965 Chevrolet C60/Darley pumper, 500/500. Later modified with a 1000 gallon tank with “jet dump” in the late 1970s. Lee Wilson photo. 

Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated with the state in 1959, their paperwork filed on May 26, 1959. Little River Fire Department, Inc., was incorporated with the state in 1964, their paperwork filed on April 27, 1964.

Both departments are still operating.



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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting Audio

FYI, audio recordings from each Wake County Fire Commission meeting are now posted online, and just a couple days after each meeting[1]. They’re super-easy to find. Go to the official web page. Drill down under Minutes. And you’re there.

[1] These may have been available for a while now, on the web. Since Mr. Blogger’s usually there in person, he hasn’t needed the recorded version.

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Code Word for Mutual Aid, Brock – 1953

Back in the day, code words were used when requesting mutual aid from neighboring towns and cities. This was done to verify the authenticity of the requestor. The concept was first proposed at the 1950 conference of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association. And enacted that year (I believe, need to check).

By the time of the 1953 conference, the code word was in-effect and members were asked by Statistician Albert Brinson (yes, related) to suggest a new word for next year. “Brock” was chosen, in memory of the great Sherwood Brockwell, the state’s first fire marshal (among many roles), and who passed away that year.

Recorded in the proceedings for the 1953 convention, President “Moon” Wyrick declared: “Whenever your Chief or whomever you designate, the Mayor, Board of Commissioners or Board of Aldermen, […] need mutual aid one among another, [they] will use the signal ‘BROCK’.”

Sources: Proceedings of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association, 1950, 1953.

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North Carolina State Firemen’s Conference Proceedings, 1896

The North Carolina fire service is quite old, and goes all the way back the late 1700s. Artifacts from earlier eras are harder to come by, and anything pre-1900 is a bonafide find. Thus it’s a hysterical historical pleasure to share some early conference proceedings from the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association, from August 1896.

The 120-page document (see web directory, click 1896, beware large file size)  is brimming with goodies, including stats on the member fire departments, tournament scores, vintage advertisements, and even a picture of Greensboro’s Eagle Hose Company’s “daughter”.

Scanned from the physical document, which is cataloged at Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. They have proceedings from various years between 1896 and 1957.

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Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – January 17, 2019

The Wake County Fire Commission met last night on Thursday, January 17, 2019. The meeting was held at the Wake County Emergency Services Education Center, 221 S. Rogers Lane, Raleigh. 

Read the agenda packet, which includes correspondence to the Fire Services Director concerning the Fairview Station 2 closure concept, discussed in prior meetings. It was requested that those letters be included in the public record of meeting minutes. 


Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Keith McGee

  • Invocation
  • Pledge of allegiance
  • Roll of Members Present

Items of Business

  • Adoption of Minutes for November 15, 2018 Regular Meeting
  • Annual Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman – Nick Campasano
  • Approval of Agenda

Public Comments:

  • Comments from the public will be taken at this time. Members of the public are invited to make
    comment to the Commission, with a maximum of 3 minutes per person. A signup sheet for those
    who wish to speak during the public comments section of the meeting is located at the entrance of
    the meeting room.

Regular Agenda

  • Northern Wake Position Conversion
  • South Region Appointments

Information Agend

  • Fire Tax Financial Report
  • Standing Committee Updates
    • Administrative
    • Apparatus
    • Budget
    • Communications
    • Equipment
    • Facility
    • Staffing and Compensation
    • Steering
    • Training
    • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
  • Chair Report
  • Fire Services Director Report

Other Business

Adjournment – Next Meeting March 21, 2019

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Relocating Fire Station 12 – Dedication on January 16

January 18, 2019
Photos posted of the dedication ceremony:

January 13, 2019
The City of Raleigh is dedicating new Fire Station 12 on Wednesday, January 16, at 1:00 p.m. It’s located at 4306 Poole Road, about a mile east of old Station 12. It’s also the largest of the city’s twenty-nine fire stations, with over 18,000 square feet. This dedication was original scheduled in September, but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence, and preparations for its impacts in Raleigh. 

Here’s a brief press release.

See also Legeros photos of the new station, its construction, and the old station and its history. 

Lee Wilson photo

Continue reading ‘Relocating Fire Station 12 – Dedication on January 16’ »

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Tarboro Fireman Dies From Illness After Fire – 1899

Note: This is a version of a posting from Legeros Fire Line on Facebook. See that posting for reader comments and discussion.

Found a reference to a Tarboro Fire Department firefighter fatality, and apparently duty-related. From the Proceedings of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Convention in 1899, page 26, from the Secretary’s Report:

“Death has again invaded our ranks. This time one of our former treasurers has been taken. Died February 16th, 1899, Chas. G. Bradley, of Tarboro Hook and Ladder Company. Death was caused by severe illness, contracted by being wet and overheated attending a fire a week or more before death.”

This makes one of the state’s oldest line-of-duty deaths, after three Asheville firemen were killed in 1891, in a train derailment, while returning from the state firemen’s convention in Durham.

Next steps, to learn more about the Tarboro fireman? Suggest these sources for additional information:

  • Genealogy sites to find the death certificate, if it’s available. Such as Ancestry via subscription or your local library. Or Family Search, which has free accounts. 
  • Tarboro newspaper articles, from back in the day. Good source for those are the online resources from the North Carolina Government and Heritage web site. But you’ll need a library card, to use those news sources.
  • Digital North Carolina Newspapers, also as a source for news stories. 
  • Find-a-Grave. 

Physical resources could include town minutes, if any are surviving from that era. Check with the town clerk. Copies of surviving newspapers are another possibility. Check local/area libraries. Maybe also the university. 

Good luck!

Below is a screen grab of conference proceedings, scanned from physical copy at Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Raleigh Run Numbers – 2018

Here are totals for Raleigh Fire Departments unit runs and total calls last year…

Total Calls – 42,157
Total Runs – 62,033

E1 – 1,983
E2 – 1,830
E3 – 2,668
E4 – 1,249
E5 – 1,305
E6 – 882
Sq7 – 2,400
E8 – 2,070
E9 – 1,834
E10 – 1,689
E11 – 2,735
E12 – 2,622
E13 – 1,431
Sq14 – 1,600
E15 – 2,539
E16 – 1,963
E17 – 1,345
E18 – 1,178
E19 – 2,556
E20 – 1,713
E21 – 1,699
E22 – 1,478
E23 – 831
E24 – 927
E25 – 940
E26 – 1,058
E27 – 796
E28 – 794
E29 – 343

Special – Hurricane Matthew
E106 – 8
E110 – 11
E118 – 9
E129 – 3

L1 – 952
L2 – 2,041
L3 – 1,147
L4 – 2,300
L5 – 1,106
L6 – 417
L7 – 1,076
L8 – 1,007
L9 – 272

R1 – 1,281

B1 – 542
B2 – 664
B3 – 544
B4 – 325
B5 – 853

C20 – 141 (Platoon Division Chief)

Car 401 – 15 (Chief Fire Investigator, special called)
Car 402 – 188 (Fire Investigator)

Air 1 – 91
Air 2 – 89

HM1 – 83 (haz-mat)
HM2 – 101
HM3 – 77
HM4 – 41
HM5 – 84

MP1 – 25 (mini-pumpers)
MP2 – 12
MP3 – 10

USAR 801 – 25 (swift water rescue)

Busiest Engines

E11 – 2,735
E3 – 2,668
E12 – 2,622
E19 – 2,556
E15 – 2,539
Sq7 – 2,400
E8 – 2,070
E1 – 1,983
E16 – 1,963
E9 – 1,834

Busiest Ladders

L4 – 2,300
L2 – 2,041
L3 – 1,147

Busiest Battalion Chief

B5 – 853

Busiest Rescue (ha)

R1 – 1,281

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Greensboro’s South Side Hose Company in 1899

Found this this weekend. Vintage photo of Greensboro’s South Side Hose Company in 1899. They were the winners annual state firemen’s tournament Championship Reel Race. The winning times were:

  • 49 sec – Greensboro, South Side Hose Co. No. 4
  • 50 1/4 – New Bern Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 1
  • 51 sec. – Goldsboro, Hose Co. No. 1
  • 51 sec. – Salem, Eagle Hose Co. No. 4
  • 54 sec. – Chicora, Fayetteville

Salisbury Hose Co. competed, was was ruled out. Eagle Hose Co. No. 7 of Greensboro withdrew, in favor of South Side.

The winning team was awarded the championship belt, to hold and display until the next year’s tournament. They also won $125 prize. The second place team won $75.

The contest consisted of members pulling a hand hose reel, running (pulling) and laying hose from a fire hydrant, connecting the hose to the hydrant, removing the other end of the hose from the reel, attaching a nozzle to the hose, and flowing water in the fastest time possible.

Distance they ran? Either 50 or 150 yards, based on the race. Can’t quite tell which one.

Pictured in the proceedings of that year’s North Carolina State Firemen’s Convention annual convention and tournament, bound copies of which are cataloged at Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina.

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