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.

1856? – First black fire company.
1869 – First steam engine.
1879 – First fire alarm system.
1884c – First fire horses.
1886 – Waterfront major fire.
1887 – First fire boat, Marie.
1891 – First NCVFA convention in town.
1893 – First NCSFA convention in town.
1897 – Career department created, integrated. 
1898 – Wilmington Insurrection, all black firemen fired.

1907 – New Station 1, South 4th St.
1907 – New Station 3, North 4th St.
1907 – Atlantic I, new fire boat.

1912 – First motor apparatus.
1914 – Atlantic II, new fire boat.
1915 – New Station 2, South 5th Ave.
1917 – First motor aerial ladder.

1927 – First drill tower.
1928 – First time hosting NC Fire College and Drill School

1931 – Station 5 opened, Wrightsville Ave.
1938 – New tractor for aerial ladder.
1938 – Service ladder truck (quad) added.

194_ – Auxiliary truck added.
1943 – Station 6 opened, Willard St.
1947 – IAFF chapter formed.
1949? – Atlantic III, new fire boat.
1949 – Orton Hotel fire. 

1952c – Station 3 closed, Engine 3 to Station 1.
1953 – Waterfront major fire
1954 – Station 4 opened, at old Station 3.
1954 – Temporary Station 1, 2nd and Market
1956 – New Station 1, 4th and Dock
1956 – Station 2 closed, Engine 2 to Station 1.

1963 – Atlantic IV, new fire boat.
1963 – First modern aerial ladder, first modern tiller.
1965 – New Station 3, Park Ave.
1965 – Station 5 closed, Engine 5 to Station 1.
1966 – New Station 2, Park Ave.
1966 – Second aerial ladder added
1968 – Five days of civil unrest. 

1970c – First rescue truck.
1971 – Eight days of civil unrest. 
1972 – Station 4 closed.
1972 – New Station 3, Princess Place Dr.
1973? – First fire educator
1974 – New Station 5, Wellington Ave.
1974 – First ambulance.
1974 – EMT added.
1974 – FF workweek shortened, 66 to 56 hours.
1975 – Midi-pumper placed in service.
1978 – ISO Class 2 awarded.
1979 – Second ambulance added.

1980 – WFD dispatching transferred to consolidated city dispatch center.
1983 – First female firefighter.
1983 – Soloman Towers fire. 
1984 – Hurricane Diana
1985 – New Station 4, Wallace Ave.
1985 – New Station 6, Carolina Beach Rd.
1986 – Atlantic V, new fire boat.
1986? – Ambulances retired when county takes over EMS.
1988c – First haz-mat unit.
1988? – First aerial platform. 

1995 – Regional haz-mat team created.
1999 – Station 7 opened, South College Rd.
1999? – Atlantic V #2, new fire boat.

2000 – WFD takes over Winter Park FD service area.
2000 – New Station 1, Market St.
2001 – Station 8 opened, Eastwood Road.
2001 – Station 9 opened, Military Cutoff Road.
2005 – WFD takes over Seagate FD service area, also acquires facility and equipment of SFD.
2006 – Station 15 opened, Masonboro Loop Rd.
2007 – Atlantic VI, new fire boat.
2008 – Station 10 opened, Oleander Dr.

2010 – Station 3 closed, due to environmental hazard (mold).
2012 – New Station 2 opened, Park Ave.
2012 – New Fallen Firefighters Memorial, at new Station 2.
2015 – Station 3 (closed) and Station 4 consolidated into single station, new Station 4, Cinema Dr.
2019 – Station 5 and Station 6 consolidated into single station, new Station 5, Shipyard Blvd.

Line of Duty Deaths

1868 – Richard Merrick
1868 – Robert Bellamy
1880 – William A. Ellerbrock
1893 – Joseph B. Willard
1932 – Willie P. Monroe
1933 – Charles Schnibben
1935 – Raymond D. Core
1941 – Emmett A. Williamson
1956 – Oscar D. Willis
1972 – Burleigh A. Scotton
1987 – Harold L. Sandlin
2014 – Eric D. Lacewell

Fire Chiefs

Charles Schnibben – 1897 to 1933
J. F. Zellers – 1933 to 1937
J. L. Croom – 1937 to 1954/57
James A. West – 1954/57
David E. Millinor – 1961
Robert D. Shipp – 1973
Lloyd H. Wolfe – 1982
+ later

Sources

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