Cary Fire Department


Last updated: April 11, 2017

Change Log:

  • April 2017
    Updates on Rescue 2 history.
  • March 2017
    Still more updates, formatting, link to fleet history.
  • February 2017
    Adding two-alarm and other major fires, of recent decades.
    Adding more detailed information about apparatus deliveries, companies in service, and truck/company changes.
  • January 2017
    Continuing general updates started late last year.

See also Western Wake County fire departments family tree - JPG | PDF


Cary Lumber Company burns. (1902)no26feb08

Cary's largest building burns. A grist mill and office building owned by F. R. Gray and Brother contains the Gray Brothers grist mill, two flour mills and one corn mill, a cotton gin, private offices, the post office, two store rooms, a coffin establishment, three lodge halls, and the Episcopal chapel. The Raleigh Fire Department is summoned and Chief Frank Simpson responds by carrying the steamer and hose on a special train. (February 25, 1908)no26feb08


Demographics. Town has 645 people and 1.00 (?) square mile.

Western Wake Highway completed, linking Cary and Raleigh. (August 20, 1920)


Town makes arrangements with Raleigh for "a fire truck and crew of firemen to answer any alarms for fire within the Town of Cary." (June 8, 1921)cb


First fire inspector appointed, Lloyd Matthews, for Town to comply with State laws. (March 14, 1922)cb

First fire company organized after Town Alderman appoint L. A. Cathey to organize same, so the town no longer has to rely soly on neighboring fire departments for help. Town Board also passes resolution to purchase fire engine. (June 6, 1922)cb

First fire engine purchase. Bid accepted for purchase of first fire truck from American LaFrance Fire Engine Company.cb (October 23, 1922)


Fire fire engine delivered. American LaFrance chemical engine on Ford Model-T one-ton chassis, equipped with two 35-gallon chemical tanks. Registration #F-849, ship order #75740. (February 7, 1923)cb, peckham-database

First Fire Chief appointed, H. H. Waddell, with D. C. Page serving as Assistant Chief. (May 1, 1923)cb

First firehouse, metal garage for housing fire engine, purchased from C. D. Pruden Corporation of Baltimore, Maryland. (Spring 1923)cb


First water lines and fire hydrants placed in service.cfdr


Second fire engine purchased for $1,100 from Nash Motor Company. New chassis for American LaFrance chemical apparatus? (September 10, 1926) cb

Fire department has 12 volunteers with Raleigh firefighter R. Lee Matthews acting as part-time training officer.


West Side Inn in Cary burns.

The Raleigh Fire Department is contacted and Engine Company 4 responds, unleashing a "speed burst" with a 12-minute run. Firefighters arrive in time to save the lower half of the two-story wooden structure. The town's firefighting equipment is already in use. Select furniture is saved and the kitchen is not damaged. The entire upper story is destroyed, however, with only the frame work remaining. Cary is located 10.17 miles from old Station 4 at 505 Jefferson Street in Raleigh. The fire department's 12-minute run averages 60 mph. (May 5, 1927)no06may27, rt05may27

Six men named town firefighters:

  • W. L. Jones
  • L. E. Sturdivant
  • T. F. Wilkerson Jr.
  • Royce Ellington
  • Marvin Breeze
  • Robert Atkins.

The firefighters are not paid, but excused from paying pole tax. (July 21, 1927)cb

Six additional men appointed to Fire Department:

  • Arthur Womble
  • S. T. Smith
  • Jack Murdock
  • H. R. Adams
  • E. J. Byrum
  • Pat Gray, Jr. (November 17, 1927)cb

Demographics. Town has 909 people and 1.00 (?) square miles.


1931 Chevrolet pumper purchased from Peter Pirsch & Sons, 300 GPM with 200 gallon booster tank. Note: Pump and water specs may refer to 1953 rehab. January 11, 1932)cb

Town Council instructs L. R. Hunter to sell chemical tanks from old pumper and purchase siren to alert firefighters. (January 11, 1932)cb


Fire department accredited by North Carolina Fireman's Association.


Fire station moved. Structure ordered moved to new location, to behind the Masonic Lodge at corner Chatham and Academy streets. Lodge building later becomes Ashworth's Drugstore in 1977. (August 24, 1935)cb

Town Board authorizes Mr. Phillips to organize a fire department. For their services, the volunteer firemen are to be exempt from paying pole tax. (August 24, 1935)cb


Town Council calls special meeting to comply with August 24, 1935 resolution, with following individuals forming new fire department: 

  • M. R. Conner, Chief
  • L. E. Midgette Assistant Chief
  • C. R. Craddock
  • Clyde B. Hawkins
  • W. R. Matthews
  • Norwood Northcutt
  • Clarence Oakley
  • Walter Pendegraph
  • C. R. Penny
  • Alf. Pleasants
  • Ivan Ruth
  • Alvin Slcan. (February 18, 1936)cb

Town Board grants permission for Chief Conner to attend North Carolina Fire School in Wilmington, April 21-23. He is instructed by the Board to "economize on all expenses." (March 1936)cb

Town Council gives permission for fire department to join North Carolina Fireman's Association, and purchase twenty badges for firefighters. (May 7, 1936)cb

Town agrees to pay for cleaning of firefighter's clothing when soiled in line of duty. (May 7, 1936)cb

Town Board waives Captain Lee Matthew's dog tax in exchange for services coaching fire department. Matthews is a career fireman in Raleigh. (May 7, 1936) cb

Town Board authorizes Assistant Chief Midgette to purchase fire hose. (December 8, 1936)cb


Law passed fining $25 anyone found guilty of turning in a false alarm. (January 15, 1937)cb

Town Board authorizes expenses for one man to attend fire school in Durham. (April 12, 1917)cb


Demographics. Town has 1,141 people and 1.00 square miles.


Demographics. Town has 1,496 people and between 1.00 and 2.60 square miles.


Fire station on Academy Street demolished after lot sold to J. G. Hobby, to raise funds for new fire station planned at corner of Cedar and North Academy streets. (Fall 1952)

Fire engine fails at house fire.

Burning structure is reported just beyond Town limits. 1931 Chevrolet pumper "is pulled from the tin-roof shed" and arrives "in no time flat" writes The State Magazine. Firefighters lay a line into the well and switch on the fan belt-driven pump. Water squirts all of ten feet and the firefighters watch helplessly as the dwelling burns down.

Firefighters subsequently meet with the Town Board and leave with a proposition: if the volunteers raise $3,000 for a down payment on a new fire engine, the Town will handle the remaining balance. Intense fundraising follows and soon an order is placed with the Seagrave Fire Engine Company in Columbus, Ohio. ts

Fire Chief is James L. Murdock. H. B. Jordan is Assistant Chief.


New Seagrave pumper delivered. The 1953 Seagrave has a 750 GPM pump and 500 gallon water tank, and a 12-cylinder, 202 HP motor. It cost $15,000 and is delivered by April 4, 1953.

Movie theater in downtown Apex burns. Fire is discovered about noon. Entire inside of theater burns out and quickly destroys a wood partition between the theater balcony and the storeroom over a feed store next door. When the fire appears to threaten the business district, fire departments in Cary and Raleigh are summoned. The Cary fire department sends newly delivered 1953 Seagrave pumper. With Cary and Raleigh's help, the fire is brought under control. (April 4, 1954)

First Annual Fireman's Day held.

Day-long celebration is expected to attract more than 5,000 people. Mile-long parade starts at 3:00 p.m. along Highway 1, beginning at R. O. Heater's home on Harrison Street and concluding at Cary High School. The fire siren signals the start of the parade with a single blast. From 4:30 to 5 p.m., a demonstration of the new fire truck is conducted on the school athletic field.

A barbeque supper is held at the school cafeteria, sponsored by the Junior Order of the United Mechanics, Wake County 125" and a square dance is held from 8:30 to midnight "on the parking apron of the Piggly Wiggly and Ken Ben stores" reports a newspaper article. A "$10 cash prize" is given by the fire department for the "best picture taken at the parade."

Nearly $500 of prizes are donated by local merchants "to those holding lucky tickets" and are displayed "in the Adams Building between the Cary Bank and Post Office." Each store features a "special item for sale" and everyone is eligible for a prize, "even though he has not bought anything in a particular store."

The new Seagrave pumper is featured during the day's activities. Tom Stewart, representing the Seagrave Company of South Carolina, presents the truck to Mayor Waldo H. Rood.

For next 23 (?) years, first Saturday in May is celebrated as Fireman's Day. (May 2, 1953)no

Fire department has 21 volunteers as of May 5, 1953.

Fire Chief is James L. Murdock. Paul Matthews is Assistant Chief. (May 5, 1953)

Fire station at 100 W. Chatham street completed. Brick veneer and cinder block building measures 30 by 20 feet, has one apparatus bay, and is adjacent to Town Hall. Building costs about $4,000. (Summer 1953) 


Second Annual Fireman's Day held. (May 1954)

Refurbished pumper displayed at Fireman's day. Work by firefighters started in Spring 1953. The 1931 Chevrolet/Pirsch pumper receives a new engine, brakes, tires, paint job, 350 GPM front-mounted pump, and 250 gallon booster tank. (May 1954)

New tanker displayed at Fireman's day. Built by firefighters using an ex-military tractor and a converted gasoline tanker trailer, it carries 4,500 gallons and has a 350 GPM portable pump. It's assembled from donated parts and after more than 4,000 man-hours of firefighter labor during the past four months.

The idea for the tractor-drawn apparatus came from the Wake County Board of Commissioners, which set up funds to purchase tank trailers for rural fire departments that obtain tractors to pull them. Legal problems prevented the funds from being used, but the Cary Fire Department went ahead anyway.

The tractor was purchased at Camp Lejeune as military surplus, a 180-horsepower International truck tractor with 10 forward speeds and two reverse speeds. The 4,000 tank is donated by Bryan-Cooper Oil Company of Raleigh and mounted on a wheeled chassis by firefighters, who also install new tires, brakes, and lights.

Mounted at the back of the tank is a 350 GPM portable pump that can be used to power water streams or fill the tank. The inside of the tank is given a special coating, so drinking water can be transported.

The tractor has a 1,500-watt AC generator mounted, ten new tires and tubes, and a brilliant red paint job. The engine, brakes, and other parts are overhauled. The bell from Cary's first fire truck, a Model-T in 1924, is re-plated and placed on the truck.

The entire project is completed by the twenty fire department members without funds from the Town treasury. Instead, they're assisted by a host of individuals donating equipment and other things. (May 28, 1954)

Second 2 constructed on 100 block of Cedar Street.

The 20 by 65 foot tin shed is erected on a Town-owned lot, behind the present location of Rogers Motel. Firefighters furnish the labor and obtain the materials for building. Timber for framing is cut from another Town-owned lot. By August 1954, as shown in News & Observer story, the building has been erected and occupied. Firemen plan to add flooring and doors. (Summer 1954)cfr, no__aug54

Cary Rural Fire Department, Inc. incorporated. (November 1, 1954)sos

Home on East Chatham Street burns. Residence of N. G. Gullie is damaged but not destroyed.rt

Firefighters help Morrisville organize a fire department.rt

Fire department answers 27 calls during year, including six in Wake County and two for mutual aid to Morrisville and Apex. They reach Morrisville eight minutes after the call is received.rt


Third Annual Fireman's day held.

Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. New "emergency service truck for Civilian Defense" is presented at 5:00 p.m. in front of the "American Legion hut," with the presentation made by Fire Chief J. C. Griffis to Cary Mayor W. H. Rood "accepting the equipment on behalf of the town" reports the The Raleigh Times. Activities at 9:00 p.m. include "and card and coin game in one quarter of the town" and, in honor of Mother's Day, all mothers are "taken for rides on the fire truck." Children get their turns from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (May 1955)rt

Civil Defense rescue truck displayed at Fireman's Day.

Built from ex-military, GMC mobile machine shop, carries $8,000 worth of equipment including 5,000-watt portable generator, 2,500-watt generator, two-way radio, $600 resuscitator, block and tackle, ropes, a portable oxygen acetylene cutting torch, in all "196 different pieces of equipment, all new." Same is also the only Civil Defense rescue truck operated by a volunteer fire department in North Carolina. (May 1955)

1949 Buick Roadmaster purchased for Fire Chief. Vehicle is purchased used.

Station 2 expanded. Addition built to house rescue truck.rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis


Fire Chief is Bob Elder and the Assistant Chief is Bob Heater. (April 21, 1956)

Fourth Annual Fireman's Day is held.

Event attracts 5,000 people. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. Fire engines parade from Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh, and Cary. "Musical airs" are furnished by the "Drum and Bugle Corps from State College" and senior and junior bands from Cary High School. Parade also features "Girl Scouts, Wake County fire chiefs' cars, lots of floats and cars carrying pretty girls" reports the May 7 edition of The Raleigh Times. Activities also include "Quizno" from 6 until 11 p.m., a "legal cousin of outlawed Bingo." Fireman's Day concludes with a street dance and the music of "the Mills Brothers Hillbilly Band." (May 7, 1956)07may56

New tanker displayed at Fireman's day. The ex-military International Harvester, 2,500 gallon tanker is equipped with a 100 GPM pump. Rebuilding was supervised by Jackie Hunter. (May 7, 1956)

Plans announced to build $75,000 fire station on 100 x 120 foot site on southeast corner of Cedar and N. Academy St. Fund-raising begins on Fireman's Day. Cornerstone bricks are auctioned off for a total of $2,035.00. (May 7, 1956)

Fire department has 25 members and two fire stations of September 22, 1956. Fire Chief is Bob Heater.

Boyd Wilson Morris becomes first paid firefighter. (October 1, 1956)


Fifth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Celebration starts at 2:30 p.m. with a parade including "the Air Force ROTC marching airmen, the army ROTC drum and bugle corps and the Army ROTC Pershing Rifles crack drill team, all from State College" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh Times. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., "the fire department and the Civil Defense rescue team" display equipment and "provide entertainment for children and adults on the high school football field." Starting at 5:30 p.m. is a fish-fry and at 6:30 p.m., a "gasoline-powered kiddie automobile will be given away." Games and dancing are also featured, with activities ending at 11:30 p.m. (May 1957)rt

Fire department has one full-time and 24 volunteer firefighters as of December 9, 1957. Fire Chief is W. E. Henderson. Assistant Chief is J. P. Matthews.cfdr

As of December 9, 1957, fire department equipment consists of:wcfa

1 1954 /1931 Chevrolet Pursch, 300 GPM, 200 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose, four Indian tanks.
2 1953 Seagrave, 750 GPM, 500 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose.
3 1954/19__ International/Cary FD tandem tractor tanker - 350 GPM portable pump, 4,700 gallon tank, 500 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 250 feet of 1 1/2" hose, one Indian tank.
4 1955/19__ rescue truck - 2500 watt generator, 5 kilowatt generator, complete set Civil Defense tools and equipment.
5 1956/19__ International/Cary FD tanker, 100 GPM power take-off pump, 2,500 gallon tanker, 200 feet of 2 1/2" hose, two Indian tanks.
Chief Car 1949 Buick, two Indian pumps

Two-way radio system installed. Base station installed in Station 1 with "stand-by receivers" at Fire Chief's house, Town Clerk's office, and ready room at Station 2. Radio equipment also installed in all fire apparatus, the rescue truck, and the Chief's car. The frequency assigned by the FCC is 46.06 with a maximum output of 500 watts.


Sixth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Firefighters continuing fundraising for new fire station, auctioning ten "green bricks" with the highest bidder to have their name engraved in one of the first stones in the new building, planned since 1956 and expected to be completed in 1961. (May 3, 1958)rt

Fire department increases to 28 members.

Fire Chief is J. Paul Matthews.wcfa


Seventh Annual Fireman's day held.

Celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. with a parade. Other events include a fish fry, door prizes, and a square dance "in the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Chatham Street" reports the April 29 edition of The Raleigh Times. (May 3, 1959)rt29apr59

Fire Chief is Paul Mathews. Assistant Chief is Earl Williams. (May 1959)

Construction started on Station 1. Plans have been drawn for $75,000 building with basement and two stories. Funds have been solicited during five years of fundraising. Firefighters perform most of the work after hours. Completion is due in


Demographics. Town has 3,356 people and 2.60 square miles.

Eighth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Schedule includes "a parade at 3:30 p.m., supper at the high school cafeteria from 5 until 8 p.m., games from 6:30 until 8 p.m., and a street dance from 8 until midnight." Fried fish is served in the cafeteria, prepared by firefighters, their wives, and members of the Fire Auxiliary Association. Drawings are held for "various prize merchandise" and an open house is held "at the emergency shelter" set up at the Cary Methodist Church from noon until 4:30 p.m. (May 7, 1960)na, rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis. R. B. Heater is Assistant Chief. (May 7, 1960)cfdr

Firefighter Vernon Lee Thompson, 28, is killed and Firefighter Willis Edward (Billy) Henderson, 32, is injured when their tractor-drawn tanker overturns near Meredith College.

The accident occurs about 10:00 a.m., while they are turning from Highway 1 onto a service road that runs between college property and the State College animal husbandry farm. Both are thrown from the open-cab apparatus.

Thompson is pinned under the cab and dies after gasoline leaking from the fuel tank under the seat is apparently ignited by an electrical short. Henderson is transported and admitted to Rex Hospital for cuts, bruises, and shock. Raleigh firefighters and other rescue workers spend nearly two hours recovering Thompson's body. The first wrecker sent to the scene is unable to raise the truck. A larger, second wrecker is called and lifts the cab enough for Thompson's body to be removed.

Both Thompson and Henderson were state employees working at nearby Camp Polk prison farm and were en route to extinguish the rekindling of a trash fire near the prison dump from the night before. Henderson was driving about 15 miles an hour when the accident occurred. Pavement markings stretched about 120 feet, created by the pressure of the heavy, slowing truck. The cab of the tanker was destroyed; the apparatus was not returned to service.

Funeral services are held on June 18 at Cary Baptist Church, with burial at Cary Cemetery the same day. Thompson was a volunteer member of the Cary Fire Department. (June 16, 1960)

Mayor Waldo Rood suggests town establish its own fire department, "a volunteer group to work under the direction of a paid chief who would also be the new police chief" reports The Raleigh Times and which "would be separate from the present Cary volunteer department which serves not only the town but the surrounding rural area." Firefighters "could choose whether to come with the town or remain where they are." The Town Board subsequently adopts a resolution in support of the Mayor. Townspeople and firefighters disagree with the proposal and "a committee is appointed to work out the differences." (June 1960)

Town Board approves purchase of "accidental death and disability income insurance" for fire department members, reports The Raleigh Times. Question of insurance arose at town meeting one week ago, with eleven firefighters threatening to resign unless the issue was discussed immediately. After the volunteers "carried out their threat," the Town Board immediately "sent a negotiator to the fire station and a compromise was worked out whereby the resignations were withdrawn on condition the board purchase the insurance at a special meeting to be held soon after." (July 13, 1960)rt

Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis. Assistant Chief is Willie Crumpler. (July 22, 1960)rt

Fire department split into two entities, newly created Cary Fire Department serving town, and Cary Rural Fire Department serving unincorporated areas.

J. L. (Pete) Murdoch is appointed Fire Chief of both departments. Paul Matthews is appointed Assistant Chief of the town department and Willie Crumpler is appointed Assistant Chief of the rural department.

The 24 members of the fire department are split equally between Town and Rural departments, with more men needed "to build up both departments" reports the September 10 edition of The Raleigh Times. Applications are available at the Town Hall and applicants must be between 19 and 40 years of age, in good health, and willing to follow all fire department rules and regulations. Two "paid firemen" are to be hired, so "at least one well-trained fireman is on duty in town at all times."

Yet worked out is the "division of property" as "some of the equipment that has been used by the previous department is owned jointly by the town and rural departments." Both departments are expected to "fall short of the necessary equipment when the property is divided." (September 15, 1960)rt10sep60

Construction on Station 1 abandoned during dispute among volunteer firefighters and town officials. Basement has been dug and foundations have been laid. Approximately $15,000 has been spent on the uncompleted 


Ownership of Station 1 site at 100 N. Academy Street transferred to town. (January 1, 1961.)wcrer

Ninth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Event includes a parade, "bands, pretty girls, and lots of fire units" reports a newspaper article. Three school bands from Cary appear, along with others from "Knightdale, Millbrook, Erwin" and "Corinth-Holders." Fire units come from "New Hope, Apex, Garner, Swift Creek, Fairgrounds Rural and the Raleigh departments. And, of course, Cary's town and rural departments." "Perched atop a convertible," Molly Jo Waters, Miss Cary, is "resplendent in a white dress" and "other pretty girls rode the FHA float." (May, 1961)

Yrac Volunteer Fire Department organized by former Cary Fire Department volunteers. See separate history. (December 1, 1961)


Tenth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Yrac Fire Department is "wholly responsible for putting on Fireman's Day this year" reports The Raleigh Times, though "municipal fire department members" participate individually and the town enters "its units in the parade." Proceeds, however, "go to the new department." Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. Street dance is held from 8 to 12 p.m. "at the Winn-Dixie parking lot." Prizes given away include "a Hereford steer, boys and girls bicycles and other items donated by local merchants." A grandstand "for special guests" is set up "in front of the Baptist Church" and Buck Sloan serves as announcer. (May 1962)rt


Eleventh Annual Fireman's Day held.

Celebration begins at 3:00 p.m. with a parade which includes "fire equipment from a half-dozen or so Wake County departments and an antique fire truck from the Chapel Hill fire organization" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh Times. Miss Cary rides in the parade, as does Miss Yrac, whose identify is "kept secret until she appears." Door prizes include "a fat steer and a boy's or girl's bicycle." A "country music band" provides music for the street dance. Proceeds benefit the Yrac Rural Fire Department, though members of the Cary fire department assist with activities. (May 4, 1963)rt03may63

Calvin Beck appointed as the first full-time Fire Chief.

Salary is $4,587. He joined the department in 1960, hired as a Captain and a Training Officer, after serving in Durham and Chapel Hill. Beck, 36, is a graduate of arson schools at UNC and Cornell University, and has attended the state fire inspection school in Greensboro. He's also an instructor with the N.C. Industrial Education Center Firemanship School. (By August 1, 1963)cfdr, no01aug63

Apparatus delivery: 1957 Chevrolet service ladder truck.no22nov64

Ladder truck stored at Public Utilities building behind fire station. Hole is knocked out of wall, for temporary housing of the Chevrolet service truck. Fire engine is longer than the concrete-block building, so plastic cloth protects front of the apparatus which protrudes from the shelter.no22nov64


Twelfth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Activities begin with a 3:00 p.m. parade which includes "marching bands from Apex, Wake Forest, Clayton, Knightdale and Cary Schools, the first official appearance of Miss Cary, a Miss Yrac and other fire department queens, fire apparatus from all Wake County departments, a Model T fire truck, political candidates, town officials, floats from various businesses in the area, scouts, clowns, and a U.S. Marine display" reports the April 29 edition of The Raleigh Times. Parade marches "from Urban Drive down Chatham Street and onto Academy Street." A fish-fry is held at the junior high school cafeteria and street dancing in the Winn-Dixie parking lot. Music is provided by "Red Rose and the Dixie Mountain Boys." And a 1964 "Ford automobile" is given away as a door prize. (Saturday after April 29, 1964)rt29apr64

Fire department has three full-time and 15 part-time firefighters as of November 22,

Town council authorizes construction of the Academy Street fire station. Cited in December 18, 1964, Raleigh Times story.


Donald "Don" Tripp hired as Fire Chief.

He's a Chapel Hill firefighter, age 25. He's a graduate of the Charlotte Fire College, Maryland State Fire School, the Fire Administration School at N.C. State, and the Wilson IEC school. His salary is 4,632 annually. Department has two other paid employees: Sherwood Thorton and D. R. Baker. (January 1, 1965)rt18dec65

Apparatus delivery: 1965 American LaFrance pumper, 1000/750, open cab. (March 13, 1965)cfd

Thirteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Event is sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a parade at 3:00 p.m., followed by games, a fish-fry, a street dance, and the "giving away of a color television set" reports the April 30 edition of The Raleigh Times. During the parade, fire and police officials direct traffic "from US 64 to NC 54." (May 1, 1965)rt30apr65

Station 1 completed on 100 N. Academy Street.


Seaboard Railroad boxcar on N. West Street, behind Suttons Service Station catches fire. Alarm is reported at 10:30 a.m. by telephone. Engine 1 responds with six firefighters, who extinguish the fire with a booster line. "Grease on brakes" is cited as the cause of ignition. No damage is reported. (January 8, 1966) fr

Fourteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.

Event is sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a "square dance festival" at 2:00 p.m. reports the May 7 edition of The News and Observer. From 4 to 6 p.m., children are given "free fire truck rides." From 4 to 8 pm., a "fish fry" is held in the cafeteria of the junior high school. Games, door prizes, and a "dance in the school gym" are also held. (May 7, 1966)nt

John W. Ward hired as Fire Chief, after Chief Tripp retires that month for personal reasons. (October 15, 1966)

Garage apartment at corner of Ward and Cedar streets burns.  Alarm is reported at 3:45 p.m. by both telephone and person coming to station. Engine 1, Engine 2, and Ladder 1 respond. Fourteen firefighters battle blaze, one suffering first- and second-degree burns on "hands, forearms, face, and small part of back." Fire is confined to apartment, with $6500 loss. Cause is cited as "faulty oil heater." 1,400 feet of 2 1/2" hose and 800 feet of 1 1/2" hose utilized. (December 11, 1966) 


Fifteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.

More than 5,000 people attend. Proceeds benefit Yrac Rural Fire Department. Events include "free rides on the department's big red fire trucks," a "gospel singing contest," and "a dance in the junior high gym" reports the May 8 edition of The Raleigh Times. Profits will go to the rural fire department's "building and equipment fund." (May 8, 1967)rt08may67  

R. Lee Mathews hired as acting Fire Chief.

He's hired after Chief Ward resigns that month. Matthews is a retired Asst. Chief of the Raleigh Fire Department with 37 years of service. A Cary resident for many years, Matthews “took the job reluctantly be cause he really was enjoying retirement…but came to help us out of a jam and is doing a fine job of running things for us. He’s helping us get reorganized,” said Town Manager L. L. Lane. (January 21, 1967)mjl-blog

C. Frank Ayscue hired as Fire Chief.

The twenty-four year-old had served five years with the Henderson Fire Department. He served until July 15, 1968, when he was hired as a firefighter for the City of Raleigh. He retired from Raleigh as a Senior Firefighter in 1989. (May 1, 1967)mjl-blog


John L. Dew hired as Fire Chief, after resignation of Chief Ayscue. (July 30, 1968)


Billy Henderson hired as Fire Chief. (February 7, 1969)

Fire department has three full-time and 17 volunteer firefighters.cfdr


Demographics. Town has 7,640 people and 6.01 square miles.

Historic Page House destroyed by fire as Town is preparing for Centennial celebration. Fire starts at 2:30 a.m. in electrical wiring on the first floor and has spread to the second floor by the time the first firefighter arrives. The nearest fire hydrant on Academy Street proves dry and before another hydrant can be located, the fire truck's 500 gallon water tank is emptied. Firefighters race to the next hydrant, near the Yrac fire station, laying 2000 feet of supply line. By the time more water is flowed, flames are almost through the roof. By dawn, only a handful of charred timbers of the main house and a lone smokestack are standing. (September 22, 1970)aac

Fire department has six full-time and 19 volunteer firefighters.cfdr


Terry L. Edmondson hired as Fire Chief. (January 4, 1971)

Donald McLamb is Assistant Chief. (May 1971)coy

Town Safety Committee makes recommendations for improvements to fire department. Report cites "growing pains" and the results of a four-week inquiry into "all phases of the Fire Department." Recommendations include:

  • becoming a "fully paid department when funds are available"
  • the immediate installation of a new radio system
  • building an addition to the "present Central Fire Station"
  • drill scheduling
  • creating a "Code of Conduct" that should emphasize "drinking habits, driving habits, and any other personal habits which would reflect on the individual, the Fire Department or the uniform." (September 23, 1971) 

Fire department has nine full-time and 18 volunteer firefighters as of September 23, 1971.

Cary Area Rescue Squad starts service.

First call is answered at 4:15 p.m. on August 11, 1972. Fire Department discontinues rescue service. Rescue squad is formed by firefighters from Yrac, plus one Cary firefighter. First rescue squad Chief is Jerry Adams. (August 1972)aaac

Apparatus notes:

  • 1971 American LaFrance pumper delivered, 1000/500.
  • Another older, pumper is refurbished.cfdr

Two-way radio equipment replacement program started. Radio system also tied into County-wide radio system.


Contract signed to expand Station 1. The $78,000, two-story, 5,200 square-foot addition will add additional apparatus room, larger sleeping quarters, a large training room, and more storage area to Station 1. (February 1972)

Fire department begins dispatching Cary Area Rescue Squad. (Mid-August, 1972)

Fire department has 12 full-time and 10 volunteer firefighters.cfdr

Vehicle deliveries:

  • 1970 Ford 1/2 ton pick-up truck purchased. Later equipped with "dry chemicals for fighting fuel or gasoline fires."
  • Chief's car purchased. cfdr

New radio base station and new mobile radios installed.cfdr


Fire department has 14 full-time and 14 volunteer firefighters, three pumpers, one equipment truck, one pick-up truck, and one car.cfdr

Fire department hires full-time fire prevention officer.cfdr

New programs involving fire department including servicing and maintaining all fire hydrants and reviewing all site plans for future town development.cfdr


Fire department has 15 full-time and 11 volunteer firefighters as of January 3, 1974.

House fire at 604 Queens Ferry Road kills woman. Fire is reported at 3:46 a.m. Firefighters find Marilyn Powell, 41, "lying 'between the stove and the back door in the kitchen, just 36 inches from the back door" reports the January 18 edition of The News and Observer. Mrs. Powell's twin teenage sons escape. Police officer arrives and attempts rescue, shooting through lock of outside door to bedroom, but cannot enter because smoke is too thick. (January 17, 1974)no18jan74

Twenty-second Annual Fireman's Day held.

Hundreds attend the celebration that begins at 4:00 p.m. with "a special firefighting and rescue demonstration given by members of the Fire Department and the Cary Area Rescue Squad." Also included is a "fish-fry dinner" and a "basketball match between the Cary Fire Department and the Cary Police Department" reports the May 8 edition of The Raleigh Times. Admission to the ball game is a $1 donation to the fire department. Police officers defeat firefighters 39-34. Door prizes "given away at halftime" are "an RCA color television, a Honda motorcycle, a 10-speed bicycle, and a Singer sewing machine." Earlier, firefighters sold tickets for chances to win the prizes. Coincidentally, none of the four prizes are awarded to Cary residents. (May 8, 1974)rt108may74

House fire at 1016 Wilshire Drive kills three girls. Fire is reported at 3:45 a.m. and is caused by careless smoking. Other occupants escape. Fire begins in "downstairs area" and sends "heavy smoke into the upstairs area" where the girls are sleeping, reports the June 10 edition of The News and Observer. Killed are Susan Hagwood, 6, and her half sisters Shirley Hathaway, 15, and Elizabeth Hathaway, 16. All three girls die of smoke inhalation, Wake County Coroner Truman Rhodes later reports. (June 9, 1974)no10jun74

Town Public Information Officer issues press release requesting citizens make "no non-emergency calls" to the fire department "for at least ten minutes after the siren has been silenced," after automobile fire on December 17 results in multiple calls from news reporters and other people, tying up telephone lines needed by the dispatcher. (December 26, 1974)pr 


Land for new Station 2 purchased. Town agrees to buy "slightly over half an acre" at the Cary Village Shopping Center, reports the May 30 edition of The Raleigh Times. Station expected to be operating by March, 1976. The Fire Insurance Bureau told the town in 1970 that it would need a second fire station by the time its population reached 13,000, the Fire Chief tells the newspaper. (July 15, 1975)wcrer, rt30may75

Fire Chief Terry L. Edmondson resigns "amid allegations that he made false alarm telephones to his own department" reports the August 2 edition of The News and Observer.

Two calls on July 28 report fires at the South Hills Motor Inn and Helmold Fire. Voice similarities are noted and a Southern Bell operator tells fire officials that the second caller's number was traced, and was made from Edmondson's home. Edmondson was initially suspended for two weeks without pay. The fire chief cited the charges and previous frustrations as his reasons for resigning. Town officials declined to conduct an investigation. Captains Dewey W. Poole and Macon W. House are appointed acting chiefs. Edmundson is subsequently hired as Fire Chief of the Raleigh-Durham Airport fire department. (August 7, 1975)cn13aug75, no02aug75

Fire department has 17 full-time and 13 volunteer firefighters as of August 1, 1975.

Ned Perry hired as Fire Chief, serves until 1993.

Perry is 17-year veteran of the Raleigh Fire Department, with the rank of Captain. He's also president of the Raleigh Firefighter's Association. The salary for the position is $15,828. (October 6, 1975)

Bicentennial colored fire hydrants, painted red, white, and blue, and located on portions of Chatham and Academy street, are approved by Town Council. Fire Chief Ned Perry protests, showing the Town Council "pictures of unattractively decorated" hydrants and noting "problems firemen could have" if the hydrants are not painted carefully. (Thursday before October 15, 1975)cn15oct75


Fire department begins monitoring CB channel 9, the emergency frequency, after receiving base station donated by Cary citizen Larry H. Royster. (January 1976)cn

McDonald's restaurant at Cary Village and next to Station 2 site burns. Two engine companies and one ladder company respond from downtown. The early morning fire, reported at 12:45 a.m., apparently starts "from a wire behind the basement electrical panel box" reports the February 4 edition of The Cary News. Heavy smoke on second floor alerts "a passing motorist who turned in the alarm." Extensive damage is done and firefighters remain on the scene until 2:00 a.m. (January 28, 1976)cn04feb76

Brush fire burns 40 to 50 acres of land between Highway 54 and Hillsborough Road "from the WPTF towers to Wayside Furniture" reports the March 3 edition of The Cary News. Nine fire departments assist the Cary Rural Fire Department, while Cary town and Apex respond to another woods fire in the 900 block of West Chatham Street. Cary Rural Fire Department Fire Chief David Weaver believes first fire was actually "five different fires which were ignited by sparks from the brakes of a passing train." (March 3, 1976)cn03mar76

Last Fireman's Day held.

Twenty-fourth annual event is sponsored by both Cary and Yrac fire departments. Celebration starts with "games at the Cary Office Center on Walnut Street" reports the April 28 edition of The Raleigh Times. Same consist of an "inter-department water fight" and a "bucket brigade race." Next is a "famous flounder fish fry" from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cary Elementary School. "Quizzo" starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Academy Street fire station with hot dogs "available for refreshments." Live music starts at 8 p.m. "in the parking lot of the Fidelity Bank across the street from the Academy Street fire station." Morning Dew performs. Door prize drawings are held at 10:00 p.m. with "dollar chances" sold for "prizes consisting of a Teaberry C.B. radio, microwave oven, outdoor gas grill," a ten-speed bicycle, and a skateboard. (May 1, 1976)rt 

Station 2 opens on 875 NE Maynard Road.

  • The one-story, 4,103 square-foot (current size) facility is located on 0.41 acres.wcrer
  • The facility costs just over $200,000, including land and landscaping. Station is activated in August 1976. Ceremony and open house held on December 5, 1976.

Fire department has 26 full-time employees and 11 auxiliary firefighters, four pumpers, and one ladder truck as of December 5, 1976.

Apparatus delivery: 1976 Ford/American LaFrance pumper, 1250/500.


Cook Out restaurant at 500 Chatham Street burns. Fire is reported at 3:28 a.m. and firefighters arrive one minute later to find wooden A-frame structure fully engulfed in flames. Fire is under control within ten minutes, but thirty-four firefighters remain on the scene for three hours. More than a dozen cans of pain stored on the second level of the one-story structure may have helped the fire spread. Both the building, valued at $35,000 and $18,000 worth of cooking equipment, are a total loss. Fire is believed started by ignition of several quarts of floor cleaner, perhaps by severe winds causing an electrical shortage. (March 23, 1977)rt23mar77

Land for Station 3 purchased on Kildaire Farm Road. Located near the intersection with the proposed location of Cary Parkway. The property costs $3,180. Eighteen months later, town officials discussed moving the station site, due to rising estimated expenses in the planned station construct. Architect William Keener tells officials that the current lot will require more filling, grading, and shaping than originally anticipated. The parcel is subsequently rejected for the project, and a new site is purchased in October 1984, at 1807 Kildaire Farm Road. (March 1977)cn16aug78

Raleigh Times reports on organizational updates since the hiring of Fire Chief Ned Perry:

  • Firefighters organized into three platoons, instead of two.
  • Work week shortened from 72 to 60 hours.
  • Plans to assign a paid firefighter staff the ladder truck.
  • Plans to house the ladder truck, to protect from wind and weather. Currently, the truck is parked in the lot across the street from the firehouse.
  • New program started, where department members visit schools, churches, and businesses, to help firefighters have faster access to buildings during emergencies.
  • Firefighters organized into two companies, with each company responsible for responding to one-half of the town. (May 30, 1977)

Siren removed from Station 1. (July-August, 1977)yfd

Apparatus delivery: 1977 GMC/Alexander service truck.

  • Fleet #922. Cost $27,000.
  • Body designed by Fire Chief Ned Perry and built by Alexander Welding of Raleigh. Enclosed body style keeps ladders dry, freeing firefighters from having to clean equipment after runs during rain. Compartment doors are also lighted and the compartments are custom-fit for the equipment.
  • Note: Model year previously cited as 1975. (November 8, 1977)cfd

First female joins as volunteer firefighter.


Freight train derails near Old US.1 just west of Cary. Four empty coal cars on a Seaboard Coast Line train derail in afternoon accident. No injures are reported. (February 2, 1978)no03feb78

Distraught man kills self and wife with bomb at Cary Village Shopping Center.

Blast occurs about noon in conference room of law office, after Jerry Ronald Sowers, 32, threatens to "blow up himself and everyone in the building" unless allowed to talk to his wife alone at a 9 a.m. meeting to discuss a separation agreement. Opening his vest and revealing a six-inch device covered with gray tap, Sowers first demands to take his wife out of the building.

Later, holding a battery in one hand and a bare wire in the other, he demands to spend an hour with his wife alone. About 10 a.m., his lawyer persuades Sowers to have the talk in the conference room. The building is evacuated about 10:30 a.m. Police grant Sowers his requested hour at 11:50 a.m.

Minutes later, both Sowers and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Sowers, 36, are killed instantly. Fire Chief Ned Perry estimates the force of the explosion equal to "several sticks of dynamite." Investigators later say they may never be able to determine if the bomb was accidentally or intentionally triggered. (May 11, 1978)no12may78, no13may78

Joyce Finnerty hired as first fire educator. The thirty-one year old Cary resident is only one of three fire educators in the state. Her first priority is expanding the fire department's school education program. She's also planned to receive training and serve as an active firefighter. (October 1978)cn11oct78

Apparatus note: 1953 Seagrave pumper assigned to brush fire duties.


Apparatus note: 1979/1963 Dodge brush truck placed in service.

Former Air Force ambulance is purchased as military surplus for $700 in 1978. The low-mileage vehicle (11,000 miles) is obtained from an Army Surplus Depot and rebuilt by firefighters, with consultation of town mechanics. The conversion into a brush truck costs $1,500. Work is done at both fire stations and at the Town Shop. (May 10, 1979)

Fire department accepts applications for four positions.

First step in application process is passing an aptitude test administered by the Employment Security Commission. Once past that hurdle, applications face a series of fire department tests including carrying a specific amount of weight for a certain distance and carrying a hose up a ladder. Once hired, incoming firefighters learn to maneuver with equipment and are expected to begin a physical exercise program. During a four-week orientation phase, rookies must learn every piece of equipment on a fire truck. There's also a written exam and dexterity tests. At the end of four weeks, the firefighter is assigned to an officer and company and can officially be called a Firefighter I. The starting pay range is from $10,005 to $13,250. (June 1979)cn06jun79

Town gets 911 emergency telephone service, becoming first Wake County community to adopt the shorter number. (October 8, 1979)no05oct79

Town revamps pay schedules for all employees, bringing salary levels in line with comparable municipalities. (Winter 1979)cn

Fire hydrants changed to national standard threads.

Threads changed on 900 fire hydrants in town during a seven-day period. The project costs about $41,000. To expedite the program each hydrant is assigned a number. The town is then divided into quarters, and then into routes. Firefighters are divided into teams to install the threads on the hydrants, hoses, and trucks. The existing threads originally matched Raleigh's, and for the assumed purpose of mutual aid, if Raleigh responded to Cary. The threads later evolved into a different "Cary thread," and both types were in use. By changing to national standard, there were several benefits: developers could purchase fire hydrants without special ordering. Such hydrants would be delivered faster. And the fire department could order new hose couplings faster, without customization. The new equipment was provided by Zimmerman and Evans Fire and Safety in Greensboro. (December 1980)cn02jan80


Demographics. Town has 21,763 people and 9.86 square miles.

Apparatus updates. Fire department adopts SLEP, Service Life Extension Program after program receives endorsement from town Safety Committee. Program is designed to extend the life of current equipment and is planned to begin by modernizing two pumpers.

  • Engine 2 will be rebuilt, with diesel, pump ratios, transmission, air brake systems, and gauges all replaced and extending the life of the apparatus by better than 20 years. The refurbishing is estimated at $45,000, compared to the replacement cost for an equal engine in excess of $90,000.
  • Engine 4 is already being revamped, with work continuing on an in-house basis, and which should be completed in three to six months. (February 1980)cn20feb80

Fire department assumes Public Works duties of creating and maintaining street signs for town.

Facilities are set up at Station 2, complete with lamination machine built by firefighters. Members of "B" shift are "primarily involved in setting up the systematic program" reports the May 14 edition of The Cary News, and "for at least part of every workday, the men of B shift move to a different locale in the town with a work list that has been dictated by observed needs of the police department." Firefighters "have their work cut out for them" as town "is in the process of replacing all concrete street name posts" with upright, single-blade signs with reflecting lettering. (Spring 1980)cn

Apparatus note: 1953 Seagrave pumper removed from service.

Fire department consists of 26 full-time and 14 volunteer firefighters. Full-time firefighters work eight-hour rotating shifts and are also on-call for major fires. Out of 26 fire departments in Wake County, Cary and Raleigh are the only ones with paid staffs. (June 18, 1980)


Apparatus note: 1965 American LaFrance pumper refurbished. Includes installation of 6171T Detroit diesel engine, an MT644 Allison automatic transmission, power steering, complete rewiring, air brakes, cab top, sand blasting, and repainting. Refurbishment costs $70,022.16.cfdr


Fire Prevention Officer Captain Wayne House assists Syracuse Plastics Inc. on Old Apex Road with education of newly formed fire brigade. (February 1982) cn

Apparatus delivery: 1982 Ford C/Pierce pumper, 1000/500. Fleet #905. (March 16, 1982)cfdr

Residence at 200 Wendy Court burns. Afternoon fire is stared by shorting wires in homemade bird repellant. Damage is estimated at $30,000. Firefighters are called to the scene at 2 p.m. (May 16, 1982)

Volunteer are firefighters phased out, and fire department becomes a career organization.


Brush fires along Seaboard Coastline railroad trucks are fought by around 50 firefighters from Cary, Yrac, Morrisville, Fairgrounds, and Swift Creek fire departments. First fire is reported at 3:45 p.m., along the tracks near the town hall. Other fires are fought near Lowes, near Aeroglide Corporation and Bashford Road. Fires are believed started by sparks or oil from train heading west out of Raleigh, though, when stopped in Apex, nothing is found wrong.(March 4, 1983)na

Chemical spill at 113 W. Maynard Road causes evacuation of businesses, schools, and residents.

Four firefighters are injured when splattered by percholoroethylene, a dry-cleaning substance, while trying to plug the leak on a truck transporting same. The fluid seeps under their gloves and runs down their chests. They're treated on the scene, with water and subsequent lotion. One of the four, Captain William Reynolds, is hospitalized after inhaling the substance, 175 gallons of which are eventually released onto the ground. Police close Maynard Road from Kildare Farm Road to Pond Street, close three businesses and evacuate Briarcliff Elementary School at about 1:30 p.m..

More than 60 firefighters from nine departments are called to the scene. Cary firefighters stay on the scene until 2 a.m. the next morning. Getting enough breathing air proves the greatest challenge, as firefighters attempting to stop the leak keep running out of bottled air. Firefighters subsequently spend three hours in Raleigh that night, refilling SCBA tanks. Local restaurants provide food to the exhausted firefighters, both delivering to the scene and feeding more than 30 firefighters for free at a restaurant.

Maynard Road residents are allowed back into their homes after midnight, instructed to leave their windows open for 45 minutes, to ensue any chemical vapors escape. (March 7, 1983)cn, no08mar83


Apparatus delivery: 1984 Chevy K20 brush truck, 200/225. (March 1, 1984)cfdr

Land for Station 3 purchased at 1807 Kildaire Farm Road. (October 26, 1984)wcrer

1984, Wolfe's Appliance and Service Company at 140 East Chatham Street burns. Fire is reported about 3:05 p.m. About 25 firefighters bring blaze under control shortly after arrival, but smolder insulation creates thick brown smoke that pours from building for more than an hour. Firefighters remain on scene until 9:30 p.m., ensuring flames are out. Rich's Style Shop suffers minor smoke damage. Police reroute traffic around area for about two hours. (November 25, 1984)no26nov84


Land for future fire station (Station 4) purchased at 1401 Old Apex Road. (June 27, 1985)wcrer


Apparatus delivery: 1986 Dodge step van, used by newly created hazardous materials team.

Station 3 completed at 1807 Kildare Farm Road.

  • The one-story, 8,750 square-foot station (current size) is located on a 1.24 acre parcel.wcrer
  • Site is located one mile farther south than first site purchased near Kildare Farm Road and Cary Parkway, but abandoned at recommendation of Fire Chief, who believes same is too close to Station 1.
  • Station is dedicated on August 2, 1987.aaac

Fire department has 44 firefighters, two employees in Fire Prevention, two Assistant Fire Chiefs, and one Fire Chief, three engine companies and one ladder company, with three firefighters assigned to each, as of August 2, 1987.

Current support vehicles:

Car 1 1987 Chevrolet, four-door sedan, driven by Fire Chief
Car 2 1986 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 3 1986 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 4 1987 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton carry-all, driven by Assistant Chief
Car 47 1987 Mercury Zephyr, driven by Fire Inspector
Car 48 1980 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by Fire Inspector
Unit 18 1970 Ford, 1/2 ton pick-up truck
Unit B9 1986 Dodge, 1 ton van, driven by Bulk Water Sales Technician. Former haz-mat truck.

Source CFD.


Apparatus deliveries: two 1987 Pierce Arrow pumpers 1250/500. Fleet #906, #906. New Engine 1, Engine 4. (February 20, 1988)cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 1988 Pierce Arrow rear-mounted aerial platform, 1500/300/105'. Fleet #921. Alternately cited as 1987 model year. (April 15, 1998)cfdr, oh

First aerial ladder company placed in service. Truck 4 at Station 4. (April-May 1988)

Rushing rainwater sweeps 13 year-old boy into drainage culvert while crossing creek in woods near Nottingham Circle and Harlon Drive. Accident occurs about 4:20 p.m. Water carries boy about 75 yards into four-foot diameter culvert which gradually descends underground and eventually runs under Interstate 40. Firefighters, altered by boy's friend who runs for help, remove cover off of catch basin and retrieve boy, who grabs crack in cement wall near the catch basin. (July 10, 1988)rt11jul88

Page Mill apartments burn. One firefighter is injured. (August 5?, 1988)noi

Cary TV and appliance burn. Business is destroyed, set afire by burglar's torch. (September 20?, 1988)noi

Land for future fire station (Station 5) purchased at 2101 High House Road. (December 21, 1988)wcrer

Station 4 completed at 1401 Old Apex Road. The one-story, 9,093 square-foot (current size) building is located on a three-acre lot.wcrer

Fire department responds to 1513 emergencies for year, averaging over four per day.cfdr


Building at 306 Middleton Avenue burns. (January 13, 1989)noi

Fire department has 73 employees including one full-time bulk water sales person, has two specialized, 18-person teams (hazardous materials and fire investigation). Also, every firefighter a certified Emergency Medical Technician as of September 9, 1989. Apparatus includes four engines, one ladder, one ladder / salvage truck, and two engines in reserve. cfdr

Carolina Computer Store at 700 Western Boulevard Extension burns. Fire starts in rear storeroom and guts business. Nearby York Sports Club and Economy Dry Cleaners receive smoke damage. Fire alarm is received at 1:45 a.m. About 30 firefighters respond. Damage to computer store's inventory is estimated at $100,000. Businesses are located in Cary Village Square. (September 15, 1989)no19sep89

Ace Hardware & Home Center at Mayfair Plaza at Kildaire Farm and E. Maynard Roads damaged by explosion and fire. Suspicious blaze starts about 9:15 p.m. in enclosed area behind store. Explosion, from 40-pound liquid propane tank used as forklift fuel supply, spreads fire to rear of store. Fire is latest of several suspicious fires around shopping center. (November 12, 1989)rt13nov89

Fire department begins providing EMT service.

Land for new Station 1 purchased at 1501 N. Harrison Avenue. (December 15, 1989)wcrer

Department snapshot:

  • Four fire stations
  • Land for fifth fire station purchased
  • Four engine companies
  • One aerial ladder truck
  • One salvage/ladder truck [possibly unstaffed]
  • Two engines in reserve
  • Eighteen-member haz-mat team
  • Eighteen-member fire investigation team
  • Every firefighter is a certified EMT
  • Seventy-three employees, including one full-time bulk water sales person.
  • "Highly computerized," with computers in every station, and computers used by 90% of employees. All fire reports, training records, personnel records, fire flow data, hydrant maintenance records, lock box records, payroll, street index, hose records, manning levels, business identification numbers, business inspections, clothing records, communications equipment inventory, and Fire Chief's Monthly Operating Report kept on computer.
  • Operates an "extended 911 telephone service."
  • Installing a computer-aided dispatch system, planned to be operational December 1, 1989.
  • Installing an 800mhz trunked radio system this fiscal year.
  • Answered 1513 emergency calls last year.
  • Fire lost of $0.6 million last year.
  • Operating budget of $2.5 million.cfdr

New radio system installed, 800mhz "trunked" system. (1989-1990).cfdr


Demographics. Town has 43,858 people and 30.25 square miles.

Town fire protection rating improved. The Class 6 rating is changed to Class 3 by ISO Commercial Risk Services of Atlanta. The improve is estimated to save commercial and rental property owners $500,000 in fire insurance premiums. The improved rating represented more than ten years of planning and spending to building new fire stations, purchase better equipment, raise training standards, and improve response time. The Class 3 rating matches Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The rating is effective March 1, 1990.no09feb90

Haz-mat team ceases operation. Stops operation circa 1990.oh

Medlin-Davis Cleaners at MacGregor Village burns.  Fire is reported about 2:00 p.m. and destroys three-fourths of the building's equipment. Kerr Drugs and Hot Shots Billiards & Pub also suffer damage. (December 2, 1991)


Station 1 completed at 1501 North Harrison Ave.

  • Constructed at cost of $1.3 million on 6.5 acres of land donated by SAS Institute Inc., on condition that fire station is designed to "blend architecturally" with nearby homes.aaac
  • The one-story fire station has 11, 536 square-feet (current size).wcrer

Old Station 1 at 100 N. Academy Street converted to Fire Administration Building.

  • The one-story building with a full basement has 5,200 square-feet (current size), and sits on a 0.11 acre lot.wcrer

Apparatus delivery: 1993 Pierce Lance heavy rescue, for use as service truck. Fleet #1904. Walk-around body. No extrication tools, but equipped with mobile air refilling station. (April 22, 1993)cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 1994 Seagrave pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #1221. (April 22, 1993)cfdr

New truck company placed in service, Truck 4 at Station 4, with 1993 Pierce service truck #1094. (April-May 1993)

Wayne House is appointed as Fire Chief. He was named interim fire chief in March. House has been a Cary firefighter for twenty years, and an assistant chief since the late 1980s. Before that, he served as the town Fire Marshal.

Fire department has 68 firefighters, five fire prevention officers, three assistant chiefs, and one Fire Chief.


Construction worker trapped after ten-foot trench collapses. Worker laying pipes for new water tower on Cary Parkway near Kildare Farm Road is buried around 5:20 p.m. and rescued after six hours and subsequently flown to Duke University Medical Center. (June 13, 1994)no


Flowers Baking Company in the 200 block of E. Chatham Street burns. Fire is reported at Capital Vacuum at 209 E. Chatham Street about 6:45 p.m., but find the building next door ablaze. Fire extensively damages the bakery's warehouse and offices, and does smoke damage to adjacent businesses. (January 11, 1995)no12jan95

Apparatus delivery: 1995 Seagrave/Marion heavy rescue, for use as service truck. Fleet #1210. Walk-around body. (January 18, 1995)

Second truck company placed in service as Truck 3 at Station 3, with 1995 Seagrave service truck #1210. (January-February, 1995)

Chatham Creek rest home evacuated after a room burns. One room is destroyed in the overnight blaze, and 69 elderly residents are evacuated. One resident and three staff members are transported for smoke inhalation. Fire, smoke, and water damage force the facility to close. (April 18, 1995)no19apr95

Major gas leak on Walnut Street prompts evacuation of more than 300 homes in Greenwood Acres and Pirates Cove, as well as the Cary Towne Center. The leak occurs at 1:10 p.m. in the middle of the street. The 12-inch main requires several hours to repair, and creates major delays and miles of stopped traffic. (August 11, 1995)no12aug95

Delayed response to vehicle collision on Harrison Avenue prompts changes to city-county responses. The accident on August 27 occurs less than 100 yards from the Cary fire station, but outside of the town limits. The fire department initially doesn't respond, after verbally alerted. The Fire Chief immediately meets with area fire chiefs, and they implement a closest-unit response policy, and no matter if the emergency occurs inside or outside the town limits. (August 1995)no02sep95, no06sep95, no08sep95 

Parade apparatus project started.

In preparation for upcoming fire department anniversary, private money is raised to create a restored replica of the town's 1953 Seagrave pumper. The project costs about $20,000.

Project was conceived as early as December 1991, when Fire Chief Ned Perry was planning to ask the Town Board for a trust account to collect donations. Fundraising was announced in January 1993.

Work starts in/around 1995. A second, matching pumper is purchased in New Hampshire. Body parts from the town's pumper are in the restoration of the second truck's chassis. A new engine is added, and, soon, a replacement transmission.

The work is done at Station 1, and other locations, including Aero Glide, where their sandblasting equipment is used on the weekends to remove the old paint and rust, from the parts they removed. Crews also used their compression to prime the parts, after they were cleaned with the sandblaster.

Project leader is Captain Phil Roberts. Project members include Jesse House. no23jan93, no12dec91, oh


Land for future fire station (Station 7) purchased at 6900 Carpenter Fire Station Road. (February 15, 1996)wcrer

Rescue company placed in service. Rescue 2 at Station 2, with unit #922. Fire department assumes role of rescue provider within town limits from the rescue squad, which ceases providing the service. (June 30, 1996)oh, cfd

Apparatus delivery: 1983 International/Swab medium-duty rescue. Fleet #1293. Donated by Cary Area Rescue Squad, complete with rescue and extrication equipment. (July 1, 1996)oh, cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 1996 Pierce Lance pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #1289. (July 15, 1996)

Woodcreek apartments on Woodcreek Dr. burn. Four units destroyed in evening fire, which starts about 9:40 a.m. Eight people are displaced. (October 30, 1996)no01nov96

Apparatus note: 1983 International/Swab rescue placed in service as Rescue 2. Fleet #1293. (August 26, 1996)cfdr

Apparatus notes:

  • Moved: 1993 Pierce Lance service truck, Truck 4 moved from Station 1 to Station 4.
  • Moved: Engine 5, from Station 4 to Station 5, upon opening of the new station.
  • Source: Oral histories.

Station 5 completed at 2101 High House Road.

  • Engine 5 relocates from Station 4.
  • Facility includes Police Department substation.
  • The one-story, 11,051 square-foot (current size) fire station sites occupies an 1.91 acre lot.wcrer

Confined-space rescue training started, and an equipment trailer created, by August 1996.cfdr


Burning truck containing tanks of bleach solution prompts evacuation of crowded YMCA. The Monday evening incident occurs about 9:00 p.m. at 101 YMCA Drive. There were no injuries, and the building is evacuated as a precaution. The Raleigh Fire Department haz-mat team responds. (January 27, 1997)no28jan97

Rex Wellness Center of Cary suffers propane gas explosion. Two employees at the fitness center are severely burned in the Fridya afternoon incident. Resulting fire is quickly extinguished. (August 1, 1997)no02aug97, no03aug97

Apparatus deliveries: two 1997 Pierce Lance pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #1391, #1392. (August 11, 1997)cfdr

Fire department celebrates 75th anniversary, with five engine companies, two truck companies, one ladder company, and one rescue company employing 120 full-time employees and an annual budget of $5.3 million. The department serves a town of 82,000 people and 40 square miles. (October 11, 1997)

Apparatus relocations:

  • 1993 Pierce Lance service truck, from Station 4 to Station 3. Now Truck 3.
  • 1995 Seagrave/Marion service truck, from Station 3 to Station 4. Now Truck 4.
  • Source: Oral histories.

Apparatus changes:

  • Truck 4 removed from service.
  • Truck 5 placed in service 1995 Seagrave Marion service truck, former Truck 4.
  • Engine 5 receives 1994 Seagrave Marauder pumper, former Engine 4.  (About November 1, 1998)
  • Source: Oral Histories

Apparatus delivery: 1996 Mack/Craft Body Works service truck.

  • Fleet #1446.
  • Purchased as reserve rescue and service truck.
  • Designed as same body style as 1975 GMC/Alexander service truck, which it replaces. Purchased for use as both a reserve ladder and reserve rescue.
  • Alternate model year 1996. (April 1, 1998)cfdr


Land for future fire station (Station 6) purchased at 3609 Ten Ten Road. (January 12, 1999)wcrer

Apparatus delivery: 1999 Pierce Lance Sky Arm rear-mounted aerial platform, 1500/300/100'. Fleet #1542. (September 2, 1999)

Second aerial ladder company placed in service. Ladder 3 at Station 3, with 1999 Pierce. Other changes:

  • Truck 3 removed from service.
  • Truck 4 receives former Truck 3, 1993 Pierce Lance service truck. (September-October 1999)cfdr, oh

Fire department receives international accreditation.


Demographics. Town has 94,536 people and 42.99 square miles.

Amber Woods apartments at 113 Ribbon Lane burn. Ten units destroyed in early morning fire, reported about 3:30 a.m. Twenty people are displaced. Mishandled fireplace ashes are blamed as the cause. (January 19, 2000)no20jan00


Apparatus delivery: 2000 KME Excel pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #1706. New Engine 4. (January 12, 2001)cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 2000 Ford F-550/KME light rescue truck.

  • Fleet #1719.
  • New Rescue 2.
  • Replaces 1995 Mack/Craft service truck, returned to reserve fleet. Alternate model year 2001. (March 1, 2001)cfdr

Apparatus notes: 2001 Ford F-550/KME light rescue truck. Fleet #1770. New Rescue 4 (August 22, 2001)

Second rescue company placed in service. Rescue 4 at Station 4, with 2001 Ford/KME #1770. (August-September 2001)cfdr

Land for future fire station (Station 8) purchased at 408 Mills Park Drive. (May 17, 2001)wcrer

Station 6 opens at 3609 Ten-Ten Road.

  • Engine 3 relocated from Station 3.
  • Truck 6 activated with 1993 Pierce Lance service truck.
  • The one-story, 10-539 square-foot fire station occupies a 6.72 acre lot.wcrer

Apparatus delivery: 2002 Ford F-450/Reading/Anchor-Richey brush truck, 300/300. Fleet #1827. (May 21, 2002)

Garden Supply Company at 1421 Old Apex Road burns. Afternoon fire takes over an hour to control. Seven Cary units answer call, with mutual aid from Western-Wake, Morrisville, Fairview, and Apex. Firefighters Tim Gouge and Todd Dollar are slightly injured when Ladder 3 suffers a collapse, the platform dropping 8 to 10 feet. They're transported to Western Wake Medical Center. temporary replacement truck is delivered within days. (June 4, 2002)no05jun02

Apparatus delivery: 2001 Pierce aerial platform, 2000/300/___. Temporary replacement for Ladder 3. Loaned by Pierce, not titled to the town. (June 2002)

Apparatus delivery: 2002 Pierce Dash pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #1834. Engine 1. (August 1, 2002)

Fire Chief Wayne House retires after 29 years of service. He joined the department in 1973, when the town's population was about 7,000, and the fire department had one station and twelve staff members. He was promoted in 1993. Fire department starts national search for replacement that includes candidates from California, Florida, Texas, and Washington. (December 2002)no11apr03, no03dec02


Deputy Fire Chief R. Allan Cain appointed interim Fire Chief. (January 1, 2003)pr

Apparatus delivery: two 2003 Pierce Dash pumpers, 1250/500

  • Fleet #1958. New Engine 5.
  • Fleet #1959. New Engine 6.
  • Features include 475 hp Detroit Diesel series 60 engines, Waterous pump, 8kw Harrison generators, hydraulic ladder racks, and EMS cabinets in crew cab. (March 27, 2003)pm, cfdr, oh

Allan Cain, 39, appointed Fire Chief. He's been a member of the department since 1994, when hired as Deputy Fire Chief. His previous positions included Fire Chief for the City of Dunn, NC, from September 1989 to April 1994, and Emergency Management (1988-89), Fire Chief (1988-89), and Firefighter (1984-88) positions in Cumberland County. (April 10, 2003)pr, linkedin

Apparatus delivery: 2003 Pierce Dash rear-mount aerial platform, 1500/300/100'. Fleet #1978. New Ladder 1. (May 29, 2003)cfdr

North Carolina Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force 8 placed in service. It is comprised of members and equipment from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary fire departments. See Raleigh FD timeline for detailed history. (September 2003)

Apparatus delivery: 2003 Pierce Dash rear-mount aerial platform, 1500/300/100'. Fleet #1997. New Ladder 3. (October 9, 2003)cfdr


Apparatus delivery: 2004 Pierce Dash platform ladder. Fleet #2052. New Ladder 5. (March 20, 2004.)cfdr, oh

Third ladder company placed in service, Ladder 5 at Station 5.

  • Truck 5 removed from service. 
  • Truck 7 placed in service at Station 5, with 1995 Seagrave service truck #1210. (March-April 2004)cfdr, oh

Apparatus disposal: 1988 Pierce aerial platform #921 sold. Old Ladder 1. Purchased by Buis Creek, NC. (April 28, 2004)cfdr

Light plane crashes into small lake near Brampton Moors apartments off W. Chatham Street in Cary. The Mooney M20M was on approach to RDU, having made two aborted attempts to land. Five miles from the airport, it veers off course, and crashes at 3:20 p.m. The plane clips trees and barely misses the apartment buildings before skidding on the grass, striking the lake and breaking apart. Fragments land just twenty feet from buildings. Two occupants are aboard, both killed. At least one neighbor witnesses the crash, and jumps in the water, hoping to find survivors. Responders locate the downed aircraft at 3:45 p.m. Rescuers use diving equipment to locate the victim(s) in approximately eight feet of water. Apex Fire Department dive team assists. Read NTSB reports. (May 3, 2004)ntsb, wral?05may04, no04may04

USAR mission: Task Force 8 deployed to Macon County, to assist with Hurricane Ivan damage. (September 2004)


Major fire at Westover Hills apartments. Twelve of twenty-four units destroyed. One firefighter transported with injuries, as part of the building structure falls on him. (Thursday of/before January 19, 2006)wral19jan0606

Apparatus delivery: 2006 Pierce Dash pumper, 1250/500. Fleet #2223. (January 23, 2006)cfdr

Town starts program to organize a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), to train citizens to help others in their communities for the first three days of disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, winter storms, or man-made calamites. (July 2006)no07juil06

Fire department gives away 1000 smoke alarms with batteries included, as part of annual campaign encouraging people to change their smoke alarm batteries at the end of Daylight Savings Time. The program is part of the national "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" campaign. (October 2006.)no30oct06


Major fire on Preston Grove Avenue. Twenty-three people displaced. Over two hours to contain. See news story. (January 3, 2007)wral

Major fire (?) at New Kent Village Condos. Two units destroyed, twelve damaged. See news story. (March 23, 2007)wral

Station 7 opens at 6900 Carpenter Fire Station Road.

  • Engine 7 relocates from Station 5.
  • Truck 7 relocates from Station 4.
  • The 17,021 square-foot facility occupies a 2.95 acre lot.
  • The $4.5 million facility also houses Morrisville Fire Station 3 and their Engine 3.
  • The one-story building features offices, a training room, living and sleeping quarters, and three drive-through apparatus bays.
  • The construction contract was awarded on July 28, 2005, to Centurion Construction of Raleigh. (April 2007)mjl-blog, toc-pr, wcrer

Apparatus disposal: 1982 Ford/Pierce pumper, fleet #905 sold. (July 17, 2007)cfdr

USAR mission: Task Force 8 deployed to Clayton, for small plane crash into commercial building. (September 2007)

Punctured gas line ignites and burns in the roadway at the intersection of Kildaire Farm and Tryon roads. Fire starts about 11:00 a.m. when construction workers strike an eight-inch gas main. The crew safely evacuated before ignition. The flames were visible from nearby Cary Fire Station 3. Cary, Fairview, Swift Creek, Western Wake, and Raleigh fire departments respond. Medical support is provided by Cary, Apex, and Wake County EMS. The line is capped just after 5:00 p.m. (October 10, 2007)12no2007, mjl

Apparatus delivery: 2007 Ford F-550/Kanphide swift-water rescue unit, USAR 803. Delivered ?


Apparatus delivery: 2008 Pierce Velocity rear-mounted aerial ladder, 1500/300/105-feet.

  • Fleet #2589.
  • New Truck 6.
  • Replaces 1993 Pierce Lance service truck #1094.
  • Alt. delivery date of April 21, 2008. (June 26, 2008)cfdr

Apparatus delivery: 2008 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue.

  • Fleet #2585.
  • New Truck 7.
  • Replaces 1995 Seagrave service truck, fleet #1210. (June 27, 2008)cfdr

Fourth ladder company placed in service. Truck 6 at Station 6 with 2008 Pierce ladder #2589. (June/July 2008)

Fire department begins contracted coverage of Cary Suburban Fire District, unincorporated areas east of the town. The area is the former Yrac Fire District and was protected by Western Wake Fire Department. Their Station 2, the old Yrac fire station, closed on June 30. (July 1, 2008)

Two alarms at 1232 Kilmory Drive. Callers report fire showing in the front of the structure and a second alarm is requested while units are en route. Engine 4 arrives with fire showing through the roof, front, and rear of a split-level frame residence with 1,317 square-feet. Built in 1978. Dispatched about 10:15 a.m., the fire was reported controlled within about 20 minutes. Ladder 3 is subsequently raised during overhaul. Units on scene include E4, E3, E5, E_, L3, L5, T7, R2, R4, B2, B1, Apex E3, two Cary EMS units, Cary EMS District 5, and WC 1. (December 14, 2008)mjl-blog

Apparatus disposal: 1995 Seagrave/Marion service truck, fleet #1210 sold. Purchased by Parkway FD in Avery County. (December 11, 2008)cfdr


Mutual aid to Western Wake FD, major motor-vehicle accident on outbound Wade Avenue at Interstate 40. Five vehicles including overturned tractor-trailer truck carrying garbage, that burns and ignites woods fire. (Monday on/before January 26, 2009)wral26jan09

USAR mission. Task Force 8 deployed to Garner, for explosion and fire at ConAgra Foods. (June 9, 2009)

Two alarms at retirement home at 10820 Penny Road. Dispatched as a commercial fire alarm at 3:01 p.m. for E6, E3, L5, B1. Upgraded to structure fire shortly after dispatch, with Battalion 1 requesting second alarm on arrival. Engine 6 arriving at a three-story, wood-frame retirement home with 99,330 square-feet. Built 2003. Working fire in laundry room on first floor. Controlled without extension. Evacuation of first floor residents performed, with second and third floors sheltered in place. Extended salvage and overhaul, with room-by-room ventilation. Dispatched about 3:06 p.m. Units included E6, E3 (using T6), E2, L5, L1, T7, R4, B1, Fairview E1, Car 1; EMS 42, 41, D2, D5. (September 11, 1990)mjl-blog

Apparatus deliveries: two 2010 Pierce Velocity pumpers, 1500/500/30/30. Fleet #2766, #2767. New Engine 3, Engine 7. (December 21, 2009)cfdr

Engineering evaluation of Station 2 is conducted, and temporary repairs are made to extended the service life of the facility three to five years.


Demographics. Town has 135,264 people and between 42.99 and 56.36 square miles.

Apparatus delivery: 2010 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500/30/30. Fleet #2787. New Engine 1. (March 1, 2010.)cfdr

Two alarms at 8600 Macedonia Lake Drive. Townhome under construction. Engine 3 arriving with heavy fire conditions. Ladder 3 deployed. Partial collapse of structure. First alarm: E3, E2, T6, L3, B1, Swift Creek. Second alarm: E6, L1, B2. Others? Coverage included Western Wake to Cary Station 2. Crews were on scene into the morning. (March 26, 2010)mjl-blog

Two alarms at 102 and 104 Bell Arthur Drive. Arriving chief officer with working fires at two houses. Second alarm requested on arrival. Interior attacks for both. Mutual aid from Apex and Morrisville. Coverage includes Durham Highway P1 to Morrisville Sta 1, Parkwood ladder and Battalion to Cary Sta 4, and Western Wake P196 to Cary Sta 1. Dispatched about 7:20 p.m. Controlled at 7:49 p.m. Temperature about 85 degrees, humidity about 70%. Cause suspected as lightning. Units on scene include Cary E4, E5, E2, E7, L5, L3, T7, R4, B2, B1, Car 3; Apex E3, L3; Morrisville E1; EMS 52, 54, 41, D5, D2, M91, T1; WC1. (June 15, 2010)mjl-blog

Harrison Motel at 607 E. Chatham Street burns. The single-story building contains six units, and is one of three motel buildings on the property. The fire destroys three of the rooms. (September 3, 2010)no04sep10


Apparatus notes:

  • Truck 6 renamed Ladder 6.
  • Truck 7 renamed Rescue 7. (February 29, 2011)

USAR mission. Task Force 8 mobilized to respond after tornado in Raleigh on April 16. USAR personnel are used to search damaged buildings, over the course of twenty-four (or more) hours. (April 16-17, 2011)

Two alarms at retirement home at 6590 Tryon Road.

Fifteen paramedic ambulances are among the many resources that respond to a two-alarm structure fire and subsequent mass causality incident at a Cary nursing home. It's dispatched at 3:27 p.m. with an additional caller reporting fire in a room. Second alarm is dispatched while units are en route. Engine 3 arrives with nothing showing from the exterior of a one-story, brick-and-frame residential medical facility with 48,842 square-feet. Built in 1991.

Engine 3 personnel find fire in a patient's room, contained to that room and quickly controlled. The sprinkler system also activates. Crews also assist with evacuation and outdoor care of the 105 patients evacuated from inside the facility. They are outside the building for about 20 minutes, staged in three or more parking lot and lawn locations. Shuttle buses are requested, for possible relocation. Patients are returned to building, with officials evaluating if later relocation is needed.

Second alarm EMS is dispatched. Additional ambulances are required for treatment and transport of six victims with minor injuries (smoke, heat): three patients and three workers. Additional resources are also required for medical monitoring and rehab of responders, and subsequent rehab of the rehab personnel. Outdoor air temperature is in the mid 90s. Command includes medical branch located in front of structure. Staging in driveway and nearby parking lot. Additional medical staging in office complex at corner of Tryon Road and Kildaire Parkway. Shuttle buses are moved to nearby church parking lot.

Units on scene include Cary E3, E6, E4, E2, L3, L6, L1, R2, B1, B2; Swift Creek E3, B27; EMS 51, EMS 42, EMS 41, EMS 8, EMS 52, EMS 4, EMS 32, EMS 38, EMS 35, EMS 17, EMS 9, EMS 5, EMS 35, EMS 55, EMS 31, D5, D2, D1, M94, T1, Evac1, Chief 100. Plus Wake County Fire Services, Wake County EM, and Cary Police. (July 30, 2011)mjl-blog

USAR mission. Task Force 8 deployed ahead of Hurricane Irene. (August 26, 2011)


Apparatus delivery: 2011 Pierce Velocity rear-mounted aerial platform, 1500/300/100'.

  • Fleet #2954.
  • New Ladder 3.
  • Delivered January 18 (CFD) or January 19 (LW), 2012.

Apparatus delivery: two 2011 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescues.

  • Fleet #2952, #2953.
  • New Rescue 2, Rescue 4
  • Replace 2000 and 2001 Ford/KME light rescues.
  • Both delivered January 18 (CFD) or January 19 (LW), 2012.

Land for for future fire station (Station 2) purchased at 601 E. Chatham Street. The site is occupied with a house. (April 13, 2012)wcrer

Apparatus disposal: 1995 Mack/Craft service truck sold. Purchased by Carolina Trace FD in Lee County. (August 17, 2012)cfdr, lw


Engine 8 placed in service. The company is housed at Station 7, and relocates during daytime hours to the territory of Station 8, which is under construction. They operate a 2002 Pierce Dash pumper. (April 8, 2013)mjl-blog

Land for for future fire station (Station 9) purchased at 1427 Walnut Street. The site is occupied by a church. (April 13, 2012)wcrer

Cary Fire Department withdraws from NC USAR Task Force 8. (May 2013)oh

Station 8 opens at 408 Mills Park Drive.

Engine 8 relocated from Station 7. The 14,410 square-foot facility includes a 1,160 square-foot satellite police station, designed for daytime usage. The design includes accommodations for a future ladder company. It's the first two-story fire station for the town, includes two fire poles, and has three drive-through apparatus bays. The facility occupies part of a 34.93 acre parcel.

Other features include a stained glass public art feature in the station's stair tower, and numerous environmentally friend aspects. It's the town's first "green-built" project and includes solar-assisted hot water heating, energy-efficient site lighting and HVAC, recycled content for building elements, photovoltaic panels on the roof to collect and store solar energy, and plumbing tied to the town's reclaimed water system.

The facility is dedicated on June 19, 2013. It was designed by ADW Architects in Charlotte, and the builder is AIM Construction of Cary. (May/June 2013)mjl-blog, cfd

Major fire (?) at Twin Oaks Villas townhomes. Sunday evening fire starts shortly after 10:00 p.m. at 215 Twin Oaks Place. Fire spreads through four units, one of which is empty, and displaces three families. (June 16, 2013)wral16junt13

Major fire (?) on Kristin Court. Friday night part starts in the chimney at 214 Kristin Court, and spreads to two adjoining unis. (October 25, 2013)wral25oct13

Two alarms at 112 South Atley Drive.

The fire was reported about 10:30 p.m. The two-story, wood-frame, three-family dwelling measured 3,232 square-feet. It was built in 1986. Heavy fire through the roof was reported by callers. A second alarm was requested as units were en route. All occupants escaped without injury, and three pets were also saved. The first alarm assignment was E1, E2, L1, L3, R1, B1, and Morrisville as auto-aid. The second-alarm assignment was E4, E3, L5, B2, and Car 3. Special called units were E5 and L6 for relief, and R4 and Brush 9 for fire watch. EMS units were EMS 51, EMS 4, EMS 8, and D5. Coverage during the fire included Western Wake Engine 191 at Station 1. The following morning, L3, Brush 9, and B2 were on scene, assisting the Wake County fire investigators. (November 27, 2013)mjl-blog

Captain Jon F. Schondelmayer dies off-duty, after working a busy shift, and while working with the Swift Creek Fire Department.

Schondelmayer, 44, is found unresponsive at his home. He had begun to feel ill while at the Swift Creek fire station. At about 11:30 a.m., he told his crew that he was going home to get some medicine and return to the station.

His crew became concerned when he left and called him on his cell phone to see how he was doing. At the same time, a Swift Creek firefighter was sent to his residence. While on the telephone, Schondelmayer said that didn't feel well and needed assistance.

When the other firefighter arrived at the residence, he found Schondelmayer unresponsive. The Swift Creek firefighter began rendering medical aid and contacted his company at the fire station for assistance. Emergency responders worked for 50 minutes to try to revive Schondelmayer, but he passed away.

Schondelmayer had just come off of a busy shift in Cary that included several emergency response runs. He was a 19-year veteran of the Cary Fire Department, and had worked with Swift Creek for 18 years. His memorial service was conducted on Monday, December 23, at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. Following the service, his body was carried to Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Raleigh.

During the funeral, six fire departments provided coverage at Cary's fire stations:

  • Station 1 - Garner Engine
  • Station 2 - Raleigh Squad 14
  • Station 3 - Raleigh Engine 4, Cary Truck 6
  • Station 4 - Apex, Cary Rescue 4
  • Station 5 - Durham Engine 12, Cary Ladder 5
  • Station 6 - Fairview
  • Station 7 - Morrisville
  • Station 8 - Durham


Apparatus delivery: 2014 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500.

  • Fleet #77.
  • New Engine 4.
  • Delivered March 18, 2014 (LW). Alt. delivery date March 20. (CFD) cfdr, lw

Apparatus delivery: 2014 Pierce Velocity walk-around heavy rescue.

  • Fleet #81.
  • New Rescue 7. Replaces 2008 Pierce Velocity.
  • Delivered May 14, 2014 (LW). Alt. delivery date May 16. (CFD)cfdr, lw

Insurance Services Office (ISO) improves Cary's fire rating from Class 3 to Class 1. (July 1, 2015)mjl-blog

Apparatus disposal: 1993 Pierce Lance service truck, fleet #1094 sold. Purchased by Stem FD in Granville County. (May 11, 2015)cfdr

Apparatus disposal: 1996 Pierce Lance pumper, fleet #1289 sold. (July 28, 2015)cfdr

Two alarms on Wellington Ridge Loop. The fire is reported about 7:20 p.m. Arriving units find heavy fire in the rear of the building, and call a second alarm. Fire is controlled within about thirty minutes. At least two apartments are heavily damaged. Thirteen people and five pets are evacuated. (August 5, 2015)wtvd05aug15

Apparatus delivery: 2015 Pierce Velocity pumper, 1500/500. Fleet #198. (September 22, 2015)cfdr

Two alarms at On the Border restaurant at 1102 Walnut Street.

Engine 2 arriving with heavy fire showing from the exterior patio of a one-story, brick-and-wood restaurant with 6,869 square feet. Built 1996.

Fire extending to interior dining room and other interior spaces. Attack with two-inch line from Engine 2, plus additional hand lines. Ladder 1 positioned on Walnut Street. Ladder 3 positioned and deployed (but no water flowed) in parking lot, behind structure. Command and medical also located in parking lot. One hydrant caught, also in the parking lot.

Dispatched 12:16 a.m. Contained within 15-20 minutes. Controlled 1:30 p.m. Extended overhaul, with units on scene for a number of hours. Building unoccupied at the time of fire, and had been vacated about thirty minutes prior.

First alarm was E2, E4, E3, L3, R2, B1, and Swift Creek Engine 1. Second alarm was E1, L1, B2, and Car 3.1 Plus WC1 for investigation. Medical with EMS 51, EMS 8, EMS 4, M91, and T1. (November 19, 2015)mjl-blog

Station 2 relocated to 601 E. Chatham Street.

The project is driven by several factors: the condition of the Maynard Road building and its foundation, the limited space for two companies and personnel, and that their location doesn't meet the town's response time goals in northern parts of its service area.

The estimated $8,172,000 facility included funding from a 2012 Community Investment Bonds referendum, with $6,450,000 specifically supporting construction. Costs included $575,000 for site acquisition, $522,000 (estimated) for design, $625,000 for construction administration, and $6,450,000 (estimated) for construction.

The 13,708 square-foot facility occupies a 1.62 acre lot.

A groundbreaking ceremony is held on December 2, 2014. Engine 2 and Rescue 2 are relocated on December 14, 2015. The new station is dedicated on December 18, 2015.

Station 9 opened at old Station 2 at 875 S. E. Maynard Road.

Engine 9 placed in service on the same day as Engine 2 and Rescue 2 are moved to their new quarters. The new/old fire station is temporary facility, with new engine house planned at 1427 Walnut Street, on property owned by town. (December 14, 2015)

Apparatus notes: First quint company placed in service as Engine 6, along with other changes:

  • Engine 6 removed from service.
  • Ladder 6 converted to a quint company and renamed Engine 6.
  • Rescue 4 moved to Station 6. (December 14, 2015)

Major apartment fire. Twenty-three people displaced. See news story. (January 3, 2016)wral

Woodbridge Apartments burn. See news story. About 20 people displaced. (May 25, 2016)wral26may16

Two alarms at Hyde Park Apartments. Overnight fire displays 34 people, and eight apartments are uninhabitable. See news story. (September 7, 2016)no08sep16

Apparatus delivery: 2017 Pierce Enforcer pumper, 1500/500. Fleet #303. New Engine 5.

  • Delivered September 21. Placed in service October 31, 2017.cfdr, lw

Fire Chiefs

See Wake County Fire Chiefs (pdf).


See Cary Fire Department Fleet History (pdf).


Raleigh Fire Museum photo albums.


cb Calvin Beck, History of Cary Fire Department, 1921-1937
cfdr Cary Fireman's Day records
cn Cary News
dr Department Records
fr Fire or Alarm Record
gn Garner News
mjl Mike Legeros
mjl-blog Legeros Fire Blog
na News article
no News and Observer
noi News and Observer Index
pm Pierce Manufacturing
pr Press Release
rt Raleigh Times
sos NC Secretary of State
ts The State Magazine
wcfa Wake County Fireman's Association records
wcrer Wake County real estate records
yfd Yrac Fire Department records

Other Sources:



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