Fire Trucks Built by Alexander Welding of Raleigh

Alexander Welding and Manufacturing Company of Raleigh (1931-1980) built commercial truck bodies and notably tank trucks, including tractor-drawn tank trailers. They also built a number of fire apparatus.

They also have a family connection to Atlas Steel Products (later Atlas Fire Apparatus) and Emergency Equipment Inc. (EEI), the latter operated by the son and grandson, respectively, of Alexander Welding’s found and President Ed Alexander. (And whose wife Nancy operated the firm after his death in 1951.) Read about that history

Here’s a running list of Alexander apparatus found so far, both custom bodies and commercial tankers operated by fire departments. More to be added, as they’re found.

Most of this information is pulled from postings on the EEI/Atlas Fire Apparatus Facebook group, and from information from fire photographers Jon Umbdenstock and Dave Organ.

Note: Listed apparatus were built with a custom fire apparatus body unless otherwise noted. 

Known Apparatus

  • 1956? Chevy/Alexander tanker – Roxboro/Person County, NC
  • 1956 GMC/Alexander tanker, 500/1250 – Stony Hill, NC (Wake County)
  • 1960 GMC 4000/Alexander tanker, X/1000 – Raleigh, NC (2)
    Commercial elliptical tanker.
  • 1962 Chevy C-60/Alexander tanker, 150 (PTO)/1500 – Kenansville
    Elliptical tanker, with wrap-around compartments. 
  • 1963 Ford/Alexander tanker, ?/? – Louisburg, NC
  • 1971 Chevy C-50/Alexander tanker, 300 (PTO)/1000 – Pittsboro, NC
  • 1975 – GMC L-7500/Alexander service truck – Cary, NC
    With a rare (for Wake County) fully-enclosed body.
  • 1976 Chevy HD/Alexander tanker, X/1600 – Durham Highway, NC (Wake County)
    Elliptical tanker, don’t now if it had a pump.


  • 1957 Chevy service truck – Cary, NC
    Built circa 1963. Possibly/likely Alexander body.
  • 1963 Ford/American LaFrance service truck – Raleigh, NC
    Body from 1922 ALF service truck, and possibly Alexander as the builder
  • 1964 GMC service truck – Raleigh, NC
    Possibly/likely Alexander body.
  • 1966 International tanker – Durham/Durham County, NC
    Likely built by Alexander.

Roxboro, NC – 1956? Chevy/Alexander tanker – Courtesy Ruth Jones

Raleigh, NC – 1960 GMC/Alexander tanker – Raleigh Public Affairs photo

Raleigh, NC – 1962 Chevy/Alexander tanker – Kenansville FD photo

Pittsboro, NC – 1971 Chevy/Alexander tanker – Jon Umbdenstock photo

Cary, NC – 1975 GMC/Alexander service truck – Lee Wilson photo

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Two Alarms on St. Regis Circle

This posting compiles information posted earlier in several Facebook postings on Legeros Fire Line.

See photos by Legeros | Listen to radio traffic

Two alarms were struck at 6200 St. Regis Circle on Friday afternoon, April 4, 2019. Dispatched 2:42 p.m. Three-story, wood-frame, garden-style apartment building with 19,140 square-feet and 24 units, according to tax records. Built 1986.

Working fire assignment dispatched while units were en route, due to multiple callers. Engine 8 arriving with heavy fire showing in the front of the structure, from the first floor and extending through the roof. Heavy fire was also found on the back side of the structure.

Cary Engine 2 second-arriving, as automatic aid, and brought the (first) water supply.

Elizabeth Thorpe video still, from Facebook

Rescue Mode

With reports of occupants still inside, first-arriving fire companies were in “rescue mode”, conducting searches and evacuations as needed, and checking balconies for people needing rescue. Battalion 5 took command on arrival, and reported 60 percent fire involvement. Car 20 then took command, followed by Car 1 at 3:14 p.m. 

Early into incident, Cary Battalion 1 also arrived, and offered additional nearby units. Affirmative. Cary Rescue 2 and Engine 9 were sent to the scene. The dispatcher asked command (Battalion 5) if they wanted a second alarm, about 2:56 p.m. Affirmative. Second alarm dispatched 2:57 p.m. Staging set on Farm Gate Road.

Farmer911 video still, from Twitter

Four Hydrants, Two Aerials

Two aerial streams operated after all interior searches and evacuations were completed, with Ladder 3 (on Farm Gate) and Ladder 7 (on St. Regis). Evacuation tones were sounded at 3:17 p.m., when Ladder 3 first started flowing. Also operating was a deck gun from Engine 8 in the front, and at least one portable monitor in the rear courtyard.

Four hydrants were utilized:

  • Farm Gate – Laid by Cary Engine 2 to Engine 8 on St. Regis
  • Farm Gate – Engine 10 boosting to Ladder 3 on Farm Gate
  • Farm Gate – Squad 14 boosting to Ladder 7 on St. Regis
  • St. Regis – Engine 6

Water pressure issues presented and some (all?) hand lines were shut down during aerial operations, to allow greater reach for Ladder 3 and Ladder 7.

Mike Legeros photos

Extended Overhaul

Controlled at 3:55 p.m. All residents accounted for at 5:12 p.m. Staging ended at 5:37 p.m., with Ladder 2 released. Relief units were sent into the evening, to continue overhaul and extinguish hot spots. Units continued to be rotated for periods of fire watch until 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. 

Cause has not been released. No residents nor responders were injured. Twelve units were destroyed, and dozens of residents were displaced. 

Hots Spots

Crews returned to the scene the following morning, to extinguish hot spots. Engine 8, Squad 14, Ladder 4, Ladder 7, and Battalion 4 remained on scene after a bystander reported seeing flames. Companies returned two more times, to further extinguish hot spots. 

Mike Legeros photo

Run Card

  • 1A: E8, E20, E2, Sq14, L3, L7, R1, B5, B4
  • WF: C20, C402, A2
  • Plus: C1 C3, Safety Officer
  • 2A: E16, E9, E10, E6, L8, L2,
  • Cary: E2, E9, R2, B1, C1
  • Wake County: WC1
  • Plus numerous EMS resources including Truck 1
  • Plus numerous move-ups

See more photos by Legeros.

See videos and pictures at Farmer911 on Facebook.

Listen to a recording of radio traffic

News coverage includes:


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Raleigh Retires Snorkel

End of an era. This week, the City of Raleigh Fire Department’s beloved Snorkel was retired. Effective April 1, 2020. The 1988 Pierce Arrow, with an 85-foot boom and no pump, had served as a reserve apparatus for over a decade. It was currently designated Ladder 210.

Most recently and famous, it operated at one of the largest fires in the city’s history, at the Metropolitan fire in March 2017. Mike Legeros photo, on the cover of Firehouse. It also operated a decade earlier at another historic conflagration, the six-alarm blaze at Pine Knoll Townes that destroyed dozens of townhomes. As Ladder 22 on reserve that day. Lee Wilson photo.

And as Truck 1, its original assignment, it saw action at many a working fire and major fire in and around downtown Raleigh. There’s Truck 1 operating at the IGA Grocery fire in December 1992. Three alarms. News & Observer photo.

So many memories for so many members. It was also photographed by Jeff Harkey in 1992, posed on Dix Hill with the city skyline behind it.

The snorkel was delivered on/around August 31, 1988. Cost $396,325, job number E-4266, shop number 011005. Placed in service as Truck 1 on September 21. Moved to Truck 15 in 1999, then Truck 22 in 2001, then Truck 26 in 2005, then reserve in 2006, then Ladder 24 in 2009, then renumbered Ladder 6 in 2009, then back to reserve in [need year].

It was Raleigh’s second aerial platform, and it’s only snorkel. And only the second snorkel in the Raleigh-Durham area, after Durham’s 1971 Ward LaFrance/Hi-Ranger. Statewide, over three-dozen snorkels–both Snorkel brand and others–have served and are still serving. Here’s a blog post about them:

What’s planned for this truck, post-retirement? Watch this space. The Raleigh Fire Museum is on the case.

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When Iron Lungs Were Added

Long before COVID crashed out shores, our fire departments and rescue squads assisted with another national health crisis. During the polio outbreaks of the 1940s and 1950s, they added iron lungs to their emergency equipment. Here’s the Durham Fire Department receiving one, as photographed by Charles Cooper for the Durham Morning Herald and/or Sun on March 30, 1948. Citation below.

Charlotte’s rescue squad had three iron lungs and a trailer in 1953. The Charlotte FD their 1953 annual report listed an “iron lung trailer” along with two adult and one baby models on the equipment roster of the “rescue and first aid squad.” They performed 45 local iron lung transports that year, and 25 out-of-town transports. (They also had 18 operating room stand-by calls [!] during tracheotomies of polio patients.)

The Greensboro Fire Department rescue squad had one by 1945, donated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Noted one newspaper account, it was “light enough to be taken to the scene.” Below is a newspaper article from 1950, noting that both GFD and the Greensboro Life Saving and First Aid Crew had one.

Greenville’s Rescue Squad had a portable iron lung by 1959, as the below Rocky Mount Telegram story notes. And the only one in eastern North Carolina.

Believe the Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad also had an iron during its early years of operation in the early 1950s. Can’t put my hands on the citation at the moment, however.

Photo citation: P0105-01-01-07-085 in the Durham Herald Company Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Visual History of the (Early) New Bern Fire Department

Forgot to blog about this last year. Another Legeros history chart, this time about the New Bern Fire Department. Created in July 2019, following the release of Daniel Bartholf’s book, History of Firefighting in New Bern, North Carolina – Colonial Days to the 21st Century. See earlier posting

One disclaimer, it’s a draft version. Will revisit at a later date and create a final version. Also, it’s primarily about the evolution of the volunteer fire companies, from 1845 to 1917. See what you think.

See the chart in JPG format (4.8M) or PDF format (4.8M).

See more history charts at


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The Grandstand Burned… But The Race Continued, 1959

This content was original posted on the Legeros Fire Line Facebook page. Go there for more content and much more frequent postings.

March 26, 2020
Photo error!. The previously included photos of a burning grandstand were not from this incident, but an earlier speedway fire in Greensboro. The grandstand at their fairgrounds burned on May 1, 1955. We will re-post the pictures in a new blog posting, with information about that incident. 

March 21, 2010
Sunday, March 29, 1959, at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, in Wilson, NC. The annual Easter NASCAR ran was about to begin. But then a fire was discovered smoldering beneath the stands.

Twenty minutes passed before the Wilson Fire Department received the alarm at 1:45 p.m. And by then it was too late. The 200-foot long, 39-year old wooden building was consumed by flames, though without any injuries.

Some 3,000 spectators were safely evacuated, with calm directions over the loudspeakers. Fire Chief T. R. Bissette had praise for the officials, but also condemned the fans for “monkeying with the fire for 20 minutes before reporting it.”

The blaze was only a temporary disruption. Noted the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram on March 30, “the race began as soon as the fire was brought under control.”

These dramatic photos–two views plus closer-cropped sections–are from the Hose & Nozzle archives, courtesy of Troy FD. Original photographer(s) TBD.

See also this racing site posting for information about the fire:

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CANCELLED – Wake County Fire Commission Meeting – March 19, 2020

March 17
The special-called meeting on April 9 has also been cancelled. 

March 12, 2020
Due to the very fluid and evolving COVID 19 situation, Wake County Fire Services has cancelled the scheduled March 19, 2020, meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission and all scheduled subcommittee meetings for the remainder of March. They will move the agenda items that were on the March 19, 2020, meeting on to the agenda of the scheduled special-called fire commission meeting on April 9, 2020 [which has now also been cancelled]. 

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Relocating Cary Station 9 – Ready to Open

See photos of project.

March 12, 2020
Ready to Open

Long-overdue update. Cary Station 9 is but days away from going into service. Paid a visit on Tuesday and snapped some pictures inside. Have also been taking pictures over the last eighteen months of construction, both ground and drone pictures. See those photos

Station 9 will house Engine 9 and a relocated Battalion Chief. 

October 25, 2018

The Town of Cary on Tuesday held a groundbreaking ceremony for the relocation of Fire Station 9. The 2.53 acre site is located at 1427 Walnut Street, and will replace a smaller facility built in 1974.

Station 9 currently occupies old Station 2, which relocated in 2015 to a new station on Chatham Street. Engine 9 was activated on December 18, 2015. Read blog post.

The new Station 9 is located 1.4 miles to the south and east, and closer to the interstate and commercial properties on the southwest side of town.

Construction of the $7.9M facility is expected to be completed in winter 2020.

Project History

  • 2013, October 10 – Property purchased by town of Cary. Site had church buildings on the property.
  • 2015, December 18 – Engine 2, Rescue 2 relocate to new quarters.
  • 2015, December 18 – Engine 9 placed in service at old Station 2.
  • 2016, Fall – Planning and design started.
  • 2017, August – Buildings demolished on site.
  • 2017, September 12 – Community meeting at Station 2 about project.
  • 2018, October 23 – Groundbreaking ceremony.

Video of Rendering Continue reading ‘Relocating Cary Station 9 – Ready to Open’ »

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Raleigh Fire and Police Staffing Studies

The City of Raleigh recently received a pair of staffing studies about the fire and police departments. City Council received a summary of the reports at a work session on Monday, February 24, 2020. You can watch that work session at Start at 01:05:00. Below are links to the studies, the presentation slides, and a summary of the fire study recommendations:

Fire Department Study
Police Department Study
Public Safety Staffing Study – Presentation Slides to City Council
View documents at

Fire Study
Report dated February 14, 2020
Matrix Consulting Group
155 pages

Summary of Recommendations:

System Improvements

  • Increase the minimum staffing of seven engine companies [E1, E13, L4, E2, E3, E5, Sq7, E20, L7] from three personnel to four personnel to increase the resources necessary for maximum and high-risk structure fire responses. Begin with adding eight (8) FTE Firefighters to increase staffing of engines 1 and 13 in FY 2021. Monitor call demand and response performance annually to determine the need for additional resources.
  • Completion of the renovations to and rebuilding of Stations 6, 11, and 22 is imperative to ensure adequate resources are available for the fire protection system.
  • Monitor call demand and response performance to determine the need for additional resources.

Office of Fire Marshal

  • Authorize a FTE Division Chief position in the Office of the Fire Marshal [to realign span of control, free time for Fire Marshal for other duties, etc.].
  • Authorize three (3) additional FTE Deputy Fire Marshals in field inspections function to conduct follow-up inspections on violations found in existing occupancies.
  • Continue to monitor growth in the City and add additional Deputy Fire Marshal (Inspectors) for each 750 occupancies requiring a mandatory inspection constructed in the City.
  • Continue to monitor the growth in the City and add an additional plans examination staff when submittals exceed 6,000 annually
  • Authorize one (1) additional FTE field inspector position and assign the position to work with the Special Projects Team.
  • Continue to monitor the growth in the City and add additional Deputy Fire Marshal (Inspectors) for each 1,250 new construction occupancies requiring an inspection.
  • Continue to develop the public safety education programs and increase exposure of fire and life safety programs to identified at risk groups in the City.
  • Authorize three (3) FTE Senior Firefighter positions to conduct life safety education programs in the City and assign one to each of the inspection districts.


  • Authorize seven (7) FTE Instructor positions for the Training Division with a variety of expertise to support all functional areas in the Division and minimize impact on the Operations Division to provide instructors.
  • Authorize a FTE recruitment specialist for the Training Division that reports to the Academy Captain.
  • Convert the part-time Assistant EMS Coordinator to a full-time position.
  • Authorize a FTE position focused on quality assurance and quality improvement of EMS [first responder] services.

Office of Fire Chief

  • Reassign the Technology and Planning Units to report to the Support Services Division [to realign span of control to manageable levels].
  • Authorize an analytical position to assist the Engineer Planning Officer in carrying out complex assignments.
  • Authorize three (3) dedicated Safety Officers, one on each shift to respond to calls for service requiring a Safety Officer and investigate workplace accidents or incidents resulting in damage or injury.


  • Authorize two (2) clerical positions to the Support Services Division, one (1) in FY 2021 and one (1) in FY 2022 to provide clerical support and to assist in the management of inventory items.
  • Authorize two (2) additional mechanics to the Support Services Division to improve the maintenance and repair of apparatus, other motorized equipment and staff vehicles.
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Snorkels in North Carolina

Edit: Master list updated May 12, 2020.

This is a re-posting of a Legeros Blog Archives posting from December 21, 2013, that’s no longer available on the old site, due to technical problems.

Articulating platforms, to be specific. Snorkel is a brand name. Let’s extend the discussion from this thread, as well as the topic itself, which replays on this blog every twelve to eighteen months.

Here are some photos, with credits listed at the bottom of the posting. 

Continue reading ‘Snorkels in North Carolina’ »

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