The History of Wrightsville Beach Fire Stations

The first fire department building in Wrightsville Beach was located in the 400 block of Waynick Boulevard, along with the police department, town hall, and coast guard station. 

  • Building erected in [goes here]
  • Fire chief had residence upstairs
  • Town hall and police station was next door. The original building was a small, wood frame cottage with shingles that was replaced circa the late 1930s. 
  • Coast Guard also had a headquarters on the site, under the water tower. 
  • Over the years, it housed a 1926 pumper, a 1939 Mack, a 1964 Ford/Seagrave, and a 1973 Ford/Howe over the years
  • In 1972, upon completion of Station 2, the police department expanded into one of the two former engine bays, adding offices and moving the jail from outside to inside.
  • In 1984, the fire station was relocated to the municipal complex.
  • 1n 1986, the building was demolished. WBFD salvaged bathroom fixtures and a water cooler for the new station on Seawater Lane, a converted warehouse. 

1961 photo
US Coast Guard Archives, Washington D.C.

WBFD photo

Wilmington Sanborn Map, 1955

Low Profile Engines

Richard Adelman Collection photo.

This 1964 Ford/Seagrave, 500 GPM, was designed with no warning lights on the roof, due to the low height of the engine bay. It was followed with a 1973 Ford/Howe, 750 GPM. 

Second Station Opened

WBFD photo.

A second fire station was opened in 1972. 

  • Live Oak Drive at Causeway Boulevard.
  • Needed due to construction of the current Banks Channel bridge, which left Harbor Island unprotected.
  • Unmanned. A number of volunteers lived on Harbor Island and could respond from this station.
  • First housed the 1939 Mack and was soon replaced by the 1964 Ford/Seagrave, upon delivery of the 1973 Ford/Howe.
  • Also included a hose tower that was built by department members.
  • Planned as a temporary facility, until the expansion of the police station was needed. 
  • Became the center of volunteer activity in 1976, shifting from Station 1. Though still unmanned, it served as training and VFD headquarters. 
  • Operated until 1996, with Engine 2 housed there. 
  • Later served as Parks and Recreation activity, later as service center for parking meter operations, later as headquarters for parking meter operations. 
  • Building still standing.

Fire Department Relocates

Two buildings housed the fire department, beginning with this warehouse in 1983. 

  • Location of old saline of water plant.
  • Two and later three engines were housed in the building, until the larger, adjacent warehouse was converted into a fire station.
  • The building was unheated and uninsulated, which was a big problem in the winter of 1983-84. During the coldest months, a large jet heater was fueled twice a day, to keep the building warm.
  • The conversion of the larger building was done with a limited budget and a lot of volunteer work.
  • Work on the new station started in the summer of 1984.

Google photo

The fire department relocated in 1986 to the larger warehouse on Seawater Lane. The building was used until the public safety center was erected in 2010.

Google photo

Sherman Gillespie photo

The current fire station, part of a larger public safety center, opened on the grounds of the municipal complex in 2010.

Stewert-Cooper-Newell Architects photo


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