New Hanover Fire History - Notes on Departments

Notes on Departments

Last updated: September 6, 2018

Disclaimer: This document consists of research notes, with incomplete historical information collected from varied sources. This narrative is not necessarily comprehensive, and likely omits valuable additional and contextual information, due to its unavailability.

See related documents: rosters, deeds, minutes, etc.


  • 1953, January - New Hanover County Fire Protection Program starts [correct?], with Ogden, Castle Hayne, Myrtle Grove, Seagate, Wrightsboro, Winter Park, and Maffitt Village [South Wilmington?]. [JSR]
  • 1997, Dec 8 - BoC approves purchase of AEDs for all county fire stations. [JKR]

Castle Hayne

  • 1952, organized. First station rear of 4844 Castle Hayne Road. [OH]
  • 1953, Dec 1 - County officials told that trucks have been completed and are in service. [BoC]
  • 1955, Jun 13 - BoC receives budget estimates. Department listed as having one truck. [BoC]
  • 1967, Apr 1 - Land bought by CHVFD at 4844 Castle Hayne Road. [NHC RE]
  • 1958, chartered. [NCSOS]
  • 1959, Feb 16 - BoC approves re-aligning fire district, to comply with a 1952 bulletin issued by the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating bureau. [BoC]
  • 1978, Jul 17 - County approves extension of fire district from three- to four miles.
  • 1982, relocated to 5311 Castle Hayne Road. [OH]
  • 1982, Apr 1 - Land bought by CHFVD at 5311 Castle Hayne Road. [NHC RE]
  • 1983, Jan - The Castle Hayne Volunteer Fire Department has completed a new building located on highway 117 near the intersection of 133-117 and 132. The new home for the 30 year old department held its open house on October 10, 1982 according to charter member Bobby Meyer. [CHVFD web site via Wayback Machine. ]
  • 1984 - Station expanded. [OH]
  • 1985, land sold by CHVFD at 4844 Castle Hayne Road. [NHC RE]
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 2002, Oct 17 - BoC recognizes CHVFD for over 50 years of service. [JKR]
  • 2003, Dec 1 - Awarded federal Fire Act Grant for $101K for SCBA. [JKR]
  • 2010, ended. NHCFD took over.

Fleet circa 2010 [CHVFD/IA]:

  • Rescue 41 - 2002 Pierce medium-duty rescue.
  • Engine 41 - 1998 Sutphen, 1250/1000, first-out engine.
  • Engine 42 - 1989 Pierce, 1250/1000, second-out engine for alarms and structure fires.
  • Squad 41 -  2006 GMC 5500 4WD/Seagrave, 300/300. First-out for medical calls and brush trucks. Also equipped with a combi tool and ram for light rescue and extrication operations.
  • Tanker 41 - 1996 Autocar/Pierce pumper/tanker, 1250/2500.
  • Tanker 42 - 1986 Ford/4 Guys tanker, 450/2000, equipped with pump and roll capability.
  • Marine 41 - 1997 Voyager aluminum boat with a 30 HP Mercury outboard motor, for operations on the Northeast Cape Fear River.

Federal Point

  • 1974, chartered. [NCSOS]
  • 1974?, organized.
  • 1975?, operational. [NHC BoC]
  • 1975, Feb 17 - County BoC approves roster, boundaries, and district data, and department will start receiving  monthly money per contract. [JKR]
  • 1975, Jun 1 - Land bought by FPVFD at 9 S. Dow Road. [NHC RE]
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 1999, Aug 2 - BoC approves recommendation from NHCFS to pursue building a new station and relocation FPVFD. [JKR]
  • 1999, Dec 6 - County signs promissory note with FPVFD, to allow ownership of planned new station. [JKR]
  • 2000, Mar 23 - Land sold by FPVFD at 9 S. Dow Road. [NHC RE]
  • 2001, May 7 - BoC approves special permit for new station.
  • 2001 - May 16 - Land bought by NHC at 9815 River Road. [NHC RE]
  • 2001, Sep 17 - BoC approves plans for new station. [JKR]
  • 2001, Dec 3 - BoC awards construction bid for new station. [JKR]
  • 2002, Jul 8 - BoC approves county applying for debt services for new station. [JKR]
  • 2002 - Relocated to 9815 River Road.
  • 2010 - Ended. NHCFD took over.

Figure Eight Island

  • 1983, Jan 24 - Incorporation filing. [NCSOS]
  • Short-lived FD, had a pumper and monthly training programs, but couldn't get enough volunteer members.
  • 1988, Feb 10 - Disillusion filing. [NCSOS]

Fort Fisher [VFD]

  • 1954 - Organized. [BoC]
  • 1954, Jun 14 - County officials told department has formed. [BoC]
  • 1954, Dec 20 - County officials told that department has disbanded. Military will be taking over fire protection. [BoC]

Fort Fisher Air Station

See this page.

Maffitt Village

See separate page.

Myrtle Grove

  • Approximately 12 men started the department "from scratch with no funds." The chief of Winter Park helped the men "set up the framework of their organization." Someone donated a tank, and they took the money they had and bought a pump, hose, and equipment. From there, they built the first fire truck. Money was raised with donations, fund drives, and fish frys. The member's "spare afternoons, weekends, and willingness to jump out of bed at any time during the night" supplied the physical demands of the VFD. [Undated news story]
  • 1953 - Organized.
  • 1953, Jun 29 - County officials told that MGVFD has met the requirements to function. [BoC]
  • 1953, Dec 1 - County officials told that trucks have been completed and are in service. [BoC]
  • 1955, Jun 13 - BoC receives budget estimates. Department listed as having one truck. [BoC]
  • 1957 - Chartered. [NCSOS]
  • 1957, Oct 1 - Land bought by MGVFD. [NHC RE]
  • 1958 - Relocated to 5526 Carolina Beach Road.
  • On a Saturday afternoon in 1958, they "turned the lights on" in their first fire station, which members "had worked over the years to build." The Sunday morning following, a hurricane flattened the four walls and blew the roof "into the woods." By degrees, they began rebuilding the station. Last year, they acquired a new truck, 500 GPM, 1000 gallons. They recently completed a new addition to their station. "Bricklayer, Masons, and Plasterers Union Local No. 11" donated nearly 1000 man hours to help complete it. And R. M. Harris of S & G Concrete "gave his free supervision to pouring the floor." In 1959, the department was recognized by the State Insurance Commission and the community began to see insurance savings. Fires were reported by telephone, ringing at three locations. This activated the siren at the station, and started additional calls using a "prearranged calling system." Only a few FFs respond to the station, most go directly to the fire. During the weekend, two men are on duty at the firehouse. During the week, "the office is held down by the Ladies Auxiliary", which "has a list of where all members are working at what times." [Undated news story]
  • 1992? - Relocated to 5636 Carolina Beach Road.
  • 1993, Aug 3 - Land sold by MGVFD. [NHC RE]
  • 1997, Oct 20 - New ladder truck dedicated at open house. [JKR]
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 2000, Apr 17 - BoC awards contract to Anchor-Richey for mini-pumper. [JKR]
  • 2003, May 5 - BoC member reported that he attended 50th anniversary event. [JKR]
  • 2010 - Ended. NHCFD took over.

Fleet circa 2010 [MGVFD/IA]:

Engine 31 - First Due Engine
2006 E-One Cyclone
1,000 Gallon Booster Tank / Jet-Dump, 30 Gallon Class-A Foam Tank
1500 GPM Single Stage Hale Pump with Integrated Compressed Air Foam (CAF)
BLS Medical Equipment Riding Capacity (8)

Engine 32 - Second Due Engine
1992 KME
1,000 Gallon Booster Tank / Jet Dump
1,500 GPM Single Stage Hale Pump, BLS Medical Equipment, Riding Capacity (6)

Tower 31 - First Due Ladder Company
1997 Sutphen Mini-Tower (70' plus)
300 Gallon Booster Tank
1500 GPM Single Stage Hale Pump, BLS Medical Equipment, Riding Capacity (6)

Engine 33 - Third Due Engine
1987 Pierce Ford Cab-over
1,000 Gallon Booster Tank / Jet-Dump
1,250 GPM Two-Stage Waterous Pump, BLS Medical Equipment, Riding Capacity (4)

Rescue 31 - Rescue/Service Truck
1992 Freightliner Chassis by Road Rescue Medium Rescue
Class Mobile Air Cascade System, Amkus Extrication Tools, Pumps
Light Tower, Rehab Supplies, BLS Medical Equipment, Riding Capacity (2)

Squad 31 - Quick Response Vehicle
2000 Ford 550 Diesel
300 Gallon Booster Tank, 10 Gallon Class-A Foam Tank
250 GPM Pump with Lambardini Engine Compressed Air Foam (CAF) Sidewinder Motorized Elevated Nozzle
BLS Medical Equipment, Riding Capacity (2)

Battalion 31 - Command Vehicle
2007 Hummer H2
MDT Mobile Data Terminal, BLS Medical Equipment, Staffed 24/7 with On Duty Volunteer Officer, Riding Capacity (4)

New Hanover County

See this page and this page.

New Hanover County Airport

  • 1950 - County creates one-man fire department, housed at airport.
  • 1951 - County FD relocates from airport to Maffitt Village.
  • 1965, May 17 - BoC approves donating pump assembly from "junked" Oren fire truck owned by [and previously served?] airport to Wrightsboro FD. [BoC]
  • 1968 - Burn pit constructed. Used by DoD, city FD, airport FD, and CFCC until 1979. [BoC]
  • 1972, Dec 4 - County board discusses possibility of future Air Force base closing, and impact to airport fire protection. [BoC]
  • 1974, Jul 1 - County awards bid for quick response airport truck. [BoC]
  • 1974, Dec 2 - County commissioners request that airport repurpose some of the old USAF property to build a fire station. [JKR]
  • 1975, Jan 20 - County approves three firemen to be hired, and awards bid to Oshkosh for crash truck. [JKR]
  • 1975, Feb 17 - County accepts FAA grant for CFR truck. [BoC]
  • 1975, Mar 3 - County board approves creation of airport FD. [BoC]
  • 1979 - Burn pit closed. [BoC]
  • 1985 - County begins evaluating burn pit for environmental contamination. [BoC]

North Wilmington

See separate page.


  • Death of a five year-old girl in the community prompted development of the VFD. Houses were also springing up in the community, with more than 100 built in the Middle Sound area about three miles away. Herman H. Hall was one of three people appointed to organize a VFD. First step was a truck. A car dealership gave them an old Studebaker to rebuild and the volunteers met after work to rebuild it. Hall was the first fire chief, a position held for eight years. Then he stayed on as a volunteer FF for 12 more ears. He remained involved with the VFD for decades and resigned 1992, and was treasurer of the Firemen's Relief Fund. [WMS, 11/15/93]
  • 1953 - Organized. First station is 6102 Market Street, today addressed 7102 Market Street.
  • First fire station was built behind Herman Hall's country store. [WMS, 11/15/93]
  • 1955, Jun 13 - BoC receives budget estimates. Department listed as having one truck and one additional unit. [BoC]
  • 1956 - Chartered. [NCSOS]
  • 1956, Jan 17 - Fire district defined. [JKR]
  • 1970 - Relocated to 7375 Market Street.
  • 1993, May 3 - County BoC approves special use permit to build substation. [JKR]
  • 1996, May 20 - County and OVFD reach agreement on co-ownership of substation. Project moves foward. [JKR]
  • 1998 - Substation opened at 8310 Shiraz Way.
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 2000 - Receives remaining district of Winter Park, small residential section, after city annexation.
  • 2000, Jul 10 - BoC awards contract to Pierce for new pumper. [JKR]
  • 2009 - Ended. NHCFD took over.


  • First fire truck was a 1931 automobile "cut down" and with "three drums" mounted on the back and a pump "which ran off the fan belt." Wilbur Jackson was the first fire chief, with the VFD comprised of O. M. Brown, Paul Sammon, Frank Hewlett, Linwood Rogers, Woodrow Rogers, and W. E. Brown. They had "no charter, no laws, no by-laws" in 1940. During the war, the VFD all but disappeared "as its manpower went overseas and it became impossible to by either gas or tires to keep the company running." [Unnamed news story, 7/12/64]
  • 1940 - Organized. First station at 6010 Oleander Drive [correct?], front of old Seagate School.
  • 1951, Jun 11 - First mention in county minutes of SFD. [BoC]
  • 1951, Sep 4 - County approves request to move siren from R. V. Rogers' store on Seagate Loop Road to the fire station, for both fire and civil defense use.
  • 1953 - Relocated to 6120 Oleander Drive.
  • Moved into a white concrete cinderblock building "on the right of Oleander Drive, just before the Bradley Creek stoplight approaching Wrightsville Beach." The station has one problem, the risk of "darting out directly from the station into or across a busy four-lane highway." They have requested permission from the state to add a red light on the highway, that they can activate from the station. But they've been unsuccessful so far. Long Leaf Acres joined the district a few years ago and enabled the VFD to extend its range from the usual three miles, by raising money and buying additional equipment required to recognized by the state, as a VFD covering four miles. The VFD has 22 members. Equipment includes a trailer mounted generator for "lighting night calls" and powering the station during a power failure. The VFD is planning for an expansion involving a wooded area beside the station that the VFD is making into a park. [Unnamed news story, 7/12/64]
  • 1955, Jun 13 - BoC receives budget estimates. Department listed as having one truck and one additional unit. [BoC]
  • 1956 - Chartered.
  • 1956, Jan 17 - Fire district defined. [JKR]
  • In 1964, the VFD had two fire engines and two brush trucks. [Unnamed news story, 7/12/64]
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 2005 - Annexation takes all of district.
  • 2005 - Disbanded. County takes over assets.

South Wilmington

See separate page.

Winter Park

See separate page.


  • 1950 - Organized. [OH] Located at 3515 N. Kerr Avenue, previously named Wrightsboro Road.
  • 1950 - Chartered. [OH]
  • 1950, Jul 17 - Reference to WVFD in county minutes. [BoC]
  • 1951 - State loses paperwork. [OH]
  • 1952 - Chartered again. [NC SOS]
  • 1953, Aug 24 - Fire district boundaries defined. [BoC]
  • 1955, Jun 13 - BoC receives budget estimates. Department listed as having one truck and one additional unit. [BoC]
  • 1970 , May 4 - NHC approves fire district expansion from three- to four-mile limit. [BoC]
  • 1998, Apr 20 - BoC approves new boundary description. [BoC]
  • 2010 - Ended. NHCFD took over.

Fleet circa 2010 [WVFD/IA]

  • 142 - 1986 Military 2 1/2 Ton Truck, 1000 gallons, brush truck
  • 157 - 1967 Dodge military truck, 150/250, brush truck
  • 161 - 1980 Ford F-250 service truck
  • 163 - 1998 Dodge Ram 350 water point pump truck, 1000 GPM
  • 195 - 1993 Freightliner/E-One pumper/tanker, 1500/1000 
  • 196 - 1995 Freightliner/EEI pumper/tanker, 1500/1000
  • 197 - 1986 Ford 8000/Quality pumper/tanker, 1250/1000/16 foam 
  • 198 - 1986 Ford 8000/Quality pumper/tanker, 12500/1000/30 foam 
Notes from their old web site, via Internet Archive:

Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department: A Condensed History
In 1950, a group of concerned citizens came together to solve a need for fire protection in the Wrightsboro, NC area. Shortly after coming together, they formed the Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department. 
With no funding, beyond their own means, the group purchased a utility trailer and mounted a 150-gallon tank on it. An oxygen cylinder was used to pressurize the tank and charge the hose. The first piece of equipment came a year later when an old bread truck was donated to the department and was converted into a firefighting vehicle. With a carrying capacity of 200 gallons of water and the ability to pull the utility trailer it proved to be a very valuable.
During this time many hours of volunteer labor and many donated supplies were put towards building a fire station. It was completed in 1952. It took shape into a 2 story, 2 bay station which included on assembly room, bedroom, bathroom, and a storage room.
From 1952 until 1961 the Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department added several different fire apparatus to its' fleet including a 1944 International Fire truck as well as a 1946 Federal Tractor with a 2000 gallon tank trailer. In 1961, after nearly 10 years of providing fire protection in New Hanover County the department was finally able to purchase protective clothing for its' members. Forty-one helmets were purchased, one for each member. In 1963, the Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department provided its' members with their own turnout coats and while the department itself could not afford to purchase turnout pants and boots, the members decided to purchase their own.
Now after 51 years of service, we have progressed into a fully equipped and staffed station. We are currently housed in a 6 bay station, 2 of which are utilized as property office and a storage space. With an upstairs kitchen, a meeting area, offices and a bathroom. With 8 apparatus, some of the newest firefighting technologies, such as a Cairns Thermal Imager and over 35 personnel with firefighting, EMT, HAZMAT, and ERT training. We provide response to fire and EMS calls in our own district as well as providing mutual aid to other New Hanover County, Brunswick, and Pender County departments. Our district includes Wilmington International Airport, to which we provide mutual aid response, as well as three schools and a mixture of commercial and residential areas. Carrying on our over 50-year tradition of commitment to the community. Wrightsboro stands as a proud reminder of New Hanover County's fire service beginnings and a forerunner into the future.


See site home page. Plus:

  • Castle Hayne VFD web site, via Internet Archive, site [CHVFD/IA]
  • Myrtle Grove VFD web site, via Internet Archive, site [MGVFD/IA]
  • Wrightsboro VFD web site, via Internet Archive, site [WVFD/IA]



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