Wilmington’s Auxiliary Apparatus during World War II

Research notes about Wilmington and New Hanover County auxiliary firefighters during World War II. This was a national civilian defense initiative, and auxiliary firefighters were trained and equipped in cities and towns across North Carolina. 

Wilmington Auxiliary Apparatus

Among the equipment acquired and developed for the program by members of the Wilmington Fire Department were five home-built fire trucks:

19__ International, half-ton pick-up – #1 of 2
19__ International, half-ton pick-up – #2 of 2
Bought new, it appears. Carried 165 gallons, 200 feet of ¾-inch booster hose with a “Panama booster bump,” five-gallon Indian fire pumps, 24-foot extension ladder, 12-foot ladder, and axes. The trucks could be used for grass fires, washing gasoline off the street, providing water for units answer calls outside the city, etc.

19__ Dodge truck – #1 of 3
19__ Dodge truck – #2 of 3
19__ Dodge truck – #2 of 3
Army surplus trucks. With 500 GPM centrifugal pump with motor, carried 250 gallons, equipped with two 3/4-inch discharged lines, and 150 feet of hose. Plus portable for drafting from creeks, wells, rivers, etc. Plus 100 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and 200 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose. Plus 24-foot extension ladder, 12-foot roof ladder, axes, nozzles, pike pole, portable extinguishers, buckets, shovels, door-opener, etc. They could answer calls outside of the city, since they carried “a good water supply,” serve as reserve if a frontline rig was out of service, or “in case of a series of simultaneous fires or a major conflagration.”


Top photo is probably/certainly a subsequent and permanent replacement for one of the wartime trucks. Like its counterparts in Raleigh, Durham, et al, it was probably staffed with a two-person crew and used for smaller fires, calls outside the city, et

Bottom photo shows four of the five wartime trucks. 

More Reading

See also Wilmington Fire History by Legeros. 

Top photo from 1985 history book, read digital version (pdf).
Bottom photo from the Wilmington Morning Star, June 10, 1945

News Clippings

Read assorted news clippings via (paid) newspapers.com in this Google Drive. They’re just a sampling, subscribe and search the service for many more. 

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