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This is a blog by Mike Legeros. To start your own discussions, try The Watch Desk. New to blogs? Read these Rules of the Road

Last Comments

Legeros (Morning Major Fir…): You were there from get-go too, Joe? I would asc…
Joe Shmo (Morning Major Fir…): Light smoke showing means major worker?
Legeros (Mystery Construct…): Looks like this one’s going to be a… taxi company…
$$$ (All-Terrain Vehic…): Nope Just Department’s that have a lot of Money
Legeros (Temporary Holly S…): Temporary fire stations, you ask? Started workin…
Yep (Two Helicopters): Over 75 request per month.
shevais (Red Car, Green Ca…): @Old Timer… nobody ever said that anybody respond…
Legeros (Mystery Bridge, R…): We have a winner! That’s indeed just about acros…
Chuck (Two Helicopters): I took an unfortunate ride on a mobile unit from …
someanswers (Cary's Climate Sh…): As of the last design I saw: There will be 2 po…
Silver (Cary's Climate Sh…): Any CFD guys know if a County/Cary medic unit wil…
Legeros (Cary's Climate Sh…): Here’s a project page from the town about the fac…
BC (Cary's Climate Sh…): There will probably be some kind of administrativ…
SkipK (Red Car, Green Ca…): For all those with legal concerns – try to find t…
Old Timer (Red Car, Green Ca…): Insurance ratings only apply to Structural Respon…
Sparky (Cary's Climate Sh…): Two stories…so that means there will be a fire po…
Silver (Cary's Climate Sh…): Beautiful design regardless, love the traditional…
Legeros (Red Car, Green Ca…): Wait a minute, Old Timer. In the case described …
Legeros (Cary's Climate Sh…): First green firehouse in United States? That can’…
Old Timer (Red Car, Green Ca…): The problem is that Fire Departments can’t get ov…
Falling In (Mystery Bridge): Looks similar to the Falls of Neuse Road bridge!
Mike (Camp Celebrate Fi…): Apex, Fairview, Holly Springs, Southern Pines, Du…
JoCo911 (Red Car, Green Ca…): To the comment regarding a “fire emd” – well it i…
Concerned Brother… (Red Car, Green Ca…): Joey you are a Mutt.
DJ (Red Car, Green Ca…): @Shev- I know that you guys seldom get any update…
shevais (Red Car, Green Ca…): One more thing… I’m all for coding or categorizin…
RFD HAZMAT (Vintage Haz-Mat A…): “ the little truck always follows the big truck “…
shevais (Red Car, Green Ca…): Joey, I invite you to call the fire chief of Wes…
TTaylor (Red Car, Green Ca…): “Personally, Iím not pissed when I have to pull o…
911 (Red Car, Green Ca…): The way I look at it is, if they were the Chief o…
Joey (Red Car, Green Ca…): It really is darn near impossible to have a ratio…
pearce (Mystery Bridge): Carolina Pines at Granite Street?
TTaylor (Red Car, Green Ca…): Very well put Shev and Jason. Sounds like the 2 …
Legeros (Raleigh Street Ma…): If you look at the 1948 map, Downtown Boulevard d…
rfburns (Raleigh Street Ma…): Also, it looks like Wake Forest Road had already …
Legeros (Mystery Bridge): This is NOT the bridge on Fayetteville Road at Wi…
Legeros (Raleigh Street Ma…): There are other Raleigh maps on the site, such as…
rfburns (Raleigh Street Ma…): An absolutely awesome find! Is there a story beh…
your kid (Red Car, Green Ca…): I can’t believe some of you are arguing about thi…
911 (Buy Holly Springs…): Now that’s a unit. Learned to pump off of that ol…
Legeros (Raleigh Street Ma…): A nice accompaniment to the maps on that site are…
J.Boggs (Red Car, Green Ca…): Since I was on the call maybe I can provide some …
DJ (Raleigh Street Ma…): Absolutely cool. I have been looking for an old R…
Joey (Red Car, Green Ca…): Hot responses may cause erratic responses from ot…
Eric (Red Car, Green Ca…): I think that there can certainly be a fair debate…
Another D. Advoca… (Red Car, Green Ca…): If that is the case then do you run all calls hot…
Eric (Red Car, Green Ca…): @Another Advocate, as long as the apparatus drive…
Another D. Advoca… (Red Car, Green Ca…): But does a tree on power line qualify as a “true …
shevais (Red Car, Green Ca…): @ D.Advocate… some of your answers have been alre…
D. Advocate (Red Car, Green Ca…): After looking at the pictures I have a few questi…
shevais (Red Car, Green Ca…): Original dispatch was WWE191, RFE17, DHR5. It’s…
Mike (Red Car, Green Ca…): 3 engines for a tree on some power lines. Really?…
Pamela Hay (Wake County EMS S…): My husband is one of those that will be there ton…
Jake T. (Abandoned Mobile …): I lived in Riverwalk for quite a few years. Never…
RescueRanger (Out of Chaos Come…): Bob is exactly correct and this video just reaffi…
Monster Energy (Out of Chaos Come…): Marcus hit on the head. Why the F-Bomb? That neve…
Bob P.'s Editor (Out of Chaos Come…): I need to edit my post… “There” should be “Their”…
Bob P. (Out of Chaos Come…): In my opinion, there is a little too much confusi…
rfburns (Out of Chaos Come…): No, cursing is definitely not taught in law enfor…
Legeros (Out of Chaos Come…): The language question then makes me think about l…
+ 0 - 1 | § The Origins of Raleigh's Air Raid Sirens

Blogger Frank Blazich passes along this nifty posting of his about the history of Raleigh's air raid sirens. His blog is about the history of the North Carolina Civil Defense Agency. His research has found that the city approved the purchase of nine 2.5 horsepower sirens in September 1942. They were remote controlled and replaced some type of "home-made" siren atop the Capitol Building. They were installed in October 1942, and intended to use them after the war in the fire alarm system. To the best of my knowledge and research, any use for fire alarms did not happen. Below is a picture that appears in the book North Carolina's Role in World War II, photo credit not indicated. Next question, what happened to those nine original sirens? Which ones were replaced with newer models? How many are still left today?

+ 0 - 1 | § Morning Major Fire

And right around the corner from Blog Central on North Hills Drive. Engine 16 arriving and declaring a major working fire. Details and narrative forthcoming. Here are preliminary pics from Mike Legeros. More later, plus shots from Lee Wilson.

+ 0 - 1 | § Raleigh Asks How Technology Can Aid City

That's a headline from today's News & Observer, and a pretty good summation of the mission of CityCamp Raleigh. Heard about that one? It's a citizen-driven, three-day event in downtown Raleigh in early June. It will consist of meetings and workshops and presentations, for participants to brainstorm on how technology can help the city.

And in particular, how technology can help with (a.) the services the city provides to citizens and (b.) the collaboration and communication with citizens, about those services and how they're managed. I think that's an accurate summation, but welcome corrections. Anyway, read the N&O article. Or visit the official CityCamp Raleigh site.

Will this event turn its participants eyes toward emergency services? I am guessing crime and thus police protection is on the agenda as an issue for discussion. It usually is. Fire protection? Don't know. Emergency medical services? Well, those are county-provided, so they could be outside their scope, if it's truly exclusive to city-provided services.

+ 0 - 1 | § Temporary Holly Springs Station 2

This trailer home has been installed as a temporary Holly Springs Station 2. The original station was demolished after damage from the April 16 tornado. The temporary station is housed on a vacant lot beside the original location at 1140 Avent Ferry Road. The town is also planning construction of a second temporary building to house an engine, brush truck, and ambulance. Read our prior posting about those plans. Or see more photos of the temporary station from Lee Wilson. And since Mr. Blogger is a historian, you know what the next question will be. How many temporary fire stations have come and gone in Raleigh and Wake County? We'll start working on that answer...

Lee Wilson photo

+ 0 - 1 | § All-Terrain Vehicles?

Does every department have an ATV these days? Lee Wilson yesterday photographed the Holly Springs Fire Department's ATV at a Relay For Life event at Womble Park. WakeMed Air Mobile 1 also made an appearance. Send your ATV photos, and we'll compile and post on the blog. (Or send a link, if there's already a photo online of your ATV.) See Lee's photos from Holly Springs.

Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Historical State - History in Red and White

The bridge thread gets me thinking and using Google, notably curious about orphanage history in the Capital City. Found the following, never seen before. Historical State, a gateway to history of North Carolina State University. And more notably, some 16,000 photos from the university's archives! Do a search on, say, "fire" and you'll see shots from Pullen Hall in 1965, Tompkins Hall in 1914, and even a Fairground Fire Department image, albeit with an incorrect date. Check it out:

+ 0 - 1 | § Mystery Bridge, Revealed

Somewhere in Raleigh. Short in height and length. Concrete over wooden beams! How old does that make the thing? To be determined. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Two Helicopters

The WakeMed air ambulance fleet appears to have been expanded. Are they operating two units these days, or is one a reserve? Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Cary's Climate Showcase Fire Station 8

The Cary Citizen recently published an article about the green building principles planned for Fire Station 8 and will result in what the article calls the first green firehouse in the United States. Environmentally friendly features will include low-emitting buidling materials, enhanced ventilation systems, extensive day lighting, and solar cells producing power for resale. The two-story (!) station will be built at 408 Mills Park Drive. Construction is scheduled to start this fall, and with a 14 month time to completion. Read the story.

+ 1 - 0 | § The Little Round Knob

Every digital SLR camera has a little round knob that controls the shooting mode. The settings include Automatic, Program Shift (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), and Manual (M). Mr. Blogger uses Program Shift (P) nearly always. The notable exception is when the little round knob gets bumped. This happens from time to time, and results in some or many pictures taken in Shutter Priority (Tv) mode. (Accidental bumping into Automatic mode is easier to detect indoors, as the flash starts popping up.)

This happened last night, as Yours Truly attended the Cary Fire Department's inaugural promotion and awards ceremony. (See those photos.) Thanks for the invite on that one. But apologies for the grainy photos, which will be posted shortly. Imagine the surprise, shock, and horror upon discovering, some hundreds of pictures into the night, that your DSLR camera has been shooting Tv instead of P. That's when you realize why your pictures had been darker than brighter, and why you bumped the ISO higher and eventually to 1600. Which allows more light, but adds noise/grain to the image.

What's the remedy in such situations? Can't start over. Can add additional post-processing, using something like Noise Ninja. (Never tried heard, but have heard about.) Or you live with the results. In this case, the amount of grain is acceptable and perhaps entirely fine. How to prevent future miscues?

Well, you can check your damn camera before you start shooting. And keep watching the thing, as you jostle it around. (The newest Canon DSLR camers have a locking knob, which is even better!) Perhaps add a little sign to the strap: check your damn settings. (More than photographer has told me their story of attaching notes to their camera, until checking ISO settings became automatic to them.) And maybe, in general, just getting better. It takes time. Always learning. Always improving.

+ 0 - 1 | § Camp Celebrate Fire Truck Parade

The News & Observer has posted pictures from photographer Travis Long of yesterday's fire truck parade, that carried children who have survived burn injuries from Triangle Town Center to Camp Kanata. Their destination is the location of Camp Celebrate, an annual weekend camp for children who have survived burn injuries. From the pictures, participating departments included Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Knightdale, Stony Hill, Bay Leaf, and a place called Cotton. That's near Hope Mills in Cumberland County. Read the N&O story and see the gallery of 65 images.

Travis Long/News & Observer photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Vintage Haz-Mat Action

Albeit staged action and as photographed by Gary Knight, probably in the late 1980s. The first hazardous materials unit of the Raleigh Fire Department was placed in service in 1984. That was a 1977 Chevrolet panel van housed at Station 2. The number of haz-mat companies was expanded in 1990 to three: Engine 2, Engine 13, and Truck 8. Then expanded again in 1992 with the addition of Engine 15 and Truck 15.

The haz-mat unit was moved to Station 20 in 1990 and back to Station 2 in 2004. The haz-mat van was replaced in 1991 with a Simon/Duplex/E-One custom-cab apparatus.The panel van was retained as a support unit. Those trucks were upgraded in 2006 with a tractor-drawn Freightliner/Hackney. In 2003, a second haz-mat unit was placed in service at Station 15, using a 1988 GMC extended panel van.

Let's see, other bits of history: Wake County first contracted with Raleigh for haz-mat response in 1992. And North Carolina Hazardous Materials Regional Response Team 4 moved to Raleigh from Durham County in 2004. Click to enlarge:

Gary Knight photo

+ 1 - 0 | § That Long String of Tones

Exactly how many different dispatch tones do we hear, for a haz-mat call at North Carolina State University? Tonight's is the third (or is it fourth?) in recent days. Let's see if we can count and correctly identify them:

  1. Engine 5 on main campus or Engine 20 on Centennial Campus
  2. Engine 8 (usually responding as SR2, a recon unit)
  3. Ladder 7 
  4. Ladder 5 (usually responding as SR 3, a decon unit)
  5. Rescue 3
  6. Battalion 3
  7. Air 1
  8. Haz-Mat 1 (staffed by Engine 2)
  9. Haz-Mat 2 (staffed by Engine 15)
  10. Car 10
That should be about right. Might be a second Battalion Chief in there. What's the EMS response, you ask? Three ambulances, two chiefs, one APP, and the special operations support unit. e.g., big ol' Truck 1.

+ 1 - 0 | § Raleigh Street Map, 1959

For your evening enjoyment, check out this digitized 1959 street map published by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. It's presented by the UNC Library's North Carolina Maps web site.

Some of what's noticed:

+ 1 - 0 | § Who's Blocking What?

This morning's morning reading is a posting on a technology-in-education web site, about web site blocking and myths therein. Did you know, for example, that some schools block the National Geographic web site? It's an interesting article and with interesting links. And it brings to mind the fact that some readers of this blog are blocked from work access to or What interesting or unusual site blocking is in effect where you work?

+ 2 - 0 | § Buy Holly Springs/Fuquay-Varina's Old Engine

This 1984 E-One pumper is being auctioned by GovDeals. Only 71,000 miles! Four days and some hours remaining. Served Fuquay-Varina and later Holly Springs fire departments. Thanks for sending, Matthew. Also, a question from the same reader. Where did Holly Springs' Kenworth/FMC pumper wind up? One of our readers certainly knows that answer.

GovDeals photo

+ 1 - 0 | § One Hundred

Chief's car as parked at the Venue Formerly Known as Memorial Auditorium and for the occasion of the annual Wake County EMS System Cardiac Arrest Saves Ceremony. See photos from the event from Lee Wilson. See photos of people arriving at the event by Mike Legeros. Read prior blog posting.

+ 1 - 0 | § Red Car, Green Car

Durham Highway firefighter directs traffic in the 6700 block of Ebenezer Church Road, where a tree decided that it didn't like a power line. This one brought a trifecta of dispatched departments: Durham Highway, Western Wake, and Raleigh. Yours Truly raced to the scene, eager to provide comprehensive coverage of exciting but lesser-known duties of the modern firefighter. No call is too small for Camera Guy. Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 1 | § Wake County EMS System Cardiac Arrest Save Ceremony / EMS Week

Tomorrow night is the annual Wake County EMS System Cardiac Arrest Save Ceremony. Held at Fletcher Opera Theater at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts, the event starts at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. The ceremony recognizes Wake County emergency responders and 57 cardiac arrest survivors during the calendar year 2010.

This year's guest speaker in North Carolina State University student Spencer Shell along with his family. Spencer suffered cardiac arrest while jogging on the NCSU campus last fall. Read that story from a prior posting. To help celebrate his survival, a vocal group from the college will perform "Acappology."

The ceremony is also one of a number of events recognizing National EMS Week, which concludes with EMS Day in Raleigh on Saturday, May 21. The event is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Kroger Grocery Store parking lot, 1610 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, in downtown Raleigh. Residents are invited to meet paramedics, tour ambulances, and participate in health screenings. Heck, you might even meet one or more members of the crack Wake County EMS Photo Unit!

+ 0 - 1 | § Out of Chaos Comes Order

Here's a heck of a good fire video as found by Dave Statter on Statter911. Apartment fire in Geneva, NY. Combination department(s), with firefighters first arriving in personal vehicles. You can watch it here, but you'll want to go to Dave's site for reader commentary. His site's one of the best for responses and reactions to fire footage.

+ 1 - 2 | § Please Turn Up The House Lights

Humble request for event planners. Consider raising the house lights. Make it a bit brighter. Or maybe a lot brighter The greater the light, the better the photos that all of those family members are taking. Not everyone has high-speed cameras or knows how to take good low-light shots. Heck, even the "pros" in Hawaiian shirts aren't always happy with their results. That darker ambiance looks cool, sure, but it's sure tough on picture-making. Humbly submitted for your consideration. Refute as desired.

+ 1 - 0 | § Wake County 2012 Recommended Budget

The county manager yesterday presented his 2012 recommended budget, as assorted media outlets are reporting. The budget document and a mess of related materials-- budget message, budget presentation, budget PowerPoint slides, etc.-- are available on  Haven't done an in-depth analysis of the fire and EMS sections just yet. Readers are welcome to contribute perspectives.

On the fire side, the budget recommendations from the Fire Commission were approved at a meeting on May 5. Read a blog posting with that summary. Had prior engagement that evening, so didn't attend. Have however listened to an audio recording. The Bay Leaf Station 1 replacement was a point of discussion, in a matter involving how the Fire Commission Budget Commission conducted the vote. Thus that project appears still on the table but not part of what was recommended, and thus remains listed in the long-range capital plans in the above budget document. Clear as mud?

+ 1 - 1 | § FireNews Feature About April 16 Tornado Incident Commanders

FireNews Editor-in-Chief Jeff Harkey has been interviewing incident commanders about the events of April 16, when a series of tornadoes struck central and eastern North Carolina. The feature is titled At the Command Post. The latest edition interviews Wake County EMS Chief for Operations Jon Olson. He was the initial incident commander at Stonybrook Mobile Home Park in Raleigh. The mobile home park was one of the major damage sites in the Capitol City, and the only location with fatalities.

Read the feature, which includes photos from Mike Legeros and a couple video clips of the storm passing through Raleigh. Plus there's a look back at the 1988 tornado, with ol' Charlie Gaddy in a clip from WRAL. And Yours Truly was wandering around that particular command post that morning, agog at the mass of responders and emergency vehicles at Townridge Shopping Center.

+ 1 - 0 | § Abandoned Mobile Home Park

Guess it's been a while since Yours Truly traveled across the river on Buffaloe Road. The mobile home park that was right there on the left is no longer right there on the left! The roads are still present, and a mail building is still standing. There's fencing on the Buffaloe Road side, and presumably around the entire property. Have heard a residential development was planned for the 48-acre space. Tax records say the thing closed in June 2010, but it sounds like it was some years earlier. See more photos, plus some aerial shots from Wake County. It's also worth a look using Bing Maps and their bird's eye view.

+ 1 - 0 | § Mystery Construction

What's this thing being built at the corner of Cumberland and Tipton, just up the road from this morning's fire? Three bays, three entrances, and a concrete wheelchair ramp. Public building of some sort? House of worship? Funeral home?

+ 0 - 1 | § Morning Fires

Starting Sunday morning with a pair of house fires and both inside the Beltline. Very different neighborhoods, however, and very different reactions by the neighbors. First one about 7:00 a.m. Duplex on Cumberland Street. Fire in back bedroom. Engine 3 first on scene. One resident transported. Second one about two hours later. Duplex on Farrior Road. Engine 14 arriving. Fire in hallway, quickly extinguished. Two cats rescued and treated, with one surviving. Yours Truly arrived "late" for both.

The former was a cross-town ride, the latter was considerably closer. Delayed response due to consulting maps. Farrior as spoken by Locution sounds quite a bit like Sawyer, which isn't remotely near the more easily understood cross-streets of Nottingham and Dixie Trail. Took a lot of after-the-fact photos at both scenes. There's still plenty to shoot after the fire is out and the smoke is clearing. Salvage and overhaul. Hose repacking. Investigators. Neighbors. Helps paint the complete picture. Click to enlarge:

+ 2 - 2 | § District 4

This is a vehicle that District 4 is operating, since Siix Forks EMS ceased operation on May 3. The Wake County EMS Dodge Durango SUV replaced the Six Forks EMS Dodge Ram pick-up with camper shell.

+ 1 - 0 | § Car Hits Pole, Pole Hits Car

Here's an interesting accident scene from this afternoon. Six Forks Road at Ramblewood Drive. Vehicle exiting the Beltline struck a utility pole, which split and struck a passing vehicle on Six Forks. One injury in the first car, minor. Engine 9 and EMS 36 (?) on scene. And some crazy guy in a wheelchair, and taking pictures, no less! Click to enlarge:

+ 0 - 1 | § Downtown Cary Fire Stations

Has a decade really passed since I started researching my Raleigh & Wake County Firefighting books? One of the pieces of that puzzle was understanding the history of the Cary Fire Department. Made this map in 2002 to help myself understand the different locations of the town's first fire stations. Been years since I last reviewed those materials. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Durham Firefighters Training at Station 2

Here's a neat WTVD video story about a 750 square-foot simulator that Durham firefighters built in the basement of Station 2. They constructed the thing six months ago and with their money. Includes a smoke machine!

+ 1 - 0 | § This Morning's Haz-Mat Incident / Highway 50

Chemicals burning in a trash truck at Highway 50 and Ten-Ten Road. Reported about 11:00 a.m. The two workers aboard the Waste Industries truck reported feeling ill. One was transported to WakeMed, after feeling a burning sensation in the back of his throat. One of the EMS workers who transported the patient also developed similiar symptoms, and was also treated at the hospital. No names or conditions have been released. Traffic was diverted from the area. One home was evacuated. The truck was subsequently moved to a different location, so the contents could be better examined. Garner and Raleigh units were on scene, including North Carolina Haz-Mat Regional Response Team 4. That's Haz-Mat 2, from Station 15. The cause of the fire has not been determined. Crews checked the contents and found cans of insecticide. Readers can perhaps expand the narrative. Sources: WRAL, WTVD, News & Observer

WTVD photo

WRAL photo

+ 0 - 1 | § More History of Raleigh Fire Department Dispatching

Continuing some history of how dispatching worked in the Raleigh Fire Department, here's how things worked in the early 1950s, prior to the installation of radios in 1955. This information is based on interviews with retiree firefighters, at their monthly breakfast at Pam's Restaurant.

Box Alarm
  1. Rings at all fire stations.
  2. Station bell rings with box number.
  3. Repeated four times.
  4. Punch tape records box number. Work even when power's out.
  5. Captain goes to box containing run cards located beside/underneath punch tape. Confirms street address of box number, even if he knows it by heart. Drivers and others would memorize some/many box number locations.
  6. Rest of company gets dressed/gets on truck.
  7. For companies not responding, they stay ready/on truck/awake for 15 minutes. If it's night, they can go back to bed after 15 minutes. When did this tradition cease? TBD.
  8. When returning companies/last company has returned to the station AND is back in service, three bells are rung at all fire stations.
  9. If at night, all companies must get up and go to the truck, in case the signal was a mistake and really meant two bells.

Telephone Alarm

  1. Rings at all fire stations.
  2. Station bell rings with two bells.
  3. Presumably repeated, probably four times.
  4. Captain goes to watch room/dispatcher telephone, and picks up phone. Dispatcher tells street address and any additional details.
  5. Continue with step #6 above.

+ 1 - 0 | § Different Sides of the Story

The morning news brings reports of a road closure in Raleigh: New Hope Road and Fawn Glen Drive. Something about a vehicle accident and a gunshot wound and the investigation therein. Depending upon the news site, you'll read some different sides to the story. WTVD is leading with the accident itself, with an allegedly intoxicated driver and a passenger who may have had a gunshot wound to the head. WRAL is leading with the story of someone seeking help after the accident, who was apparently mistaken for a burglar after going to a nearby house for help. Says the homeowner, the person kicked in their door! NBC 17 is also leading with the "getting help" aspect of the narrative, but adds that police say the homeowners tried to chase down the driver and the passenger! Couple lessons to learn there, the least of which suggests that kicking down doors might add to injuries experienced in any accidents you are trying to report.

WTVD photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Yesterday's Bus Accident / Morgan Street

Photographer Lee Wilson has posted photos of yesterday's early evening bus accident on Morgan and Harrington streets, where a CAT bus and passenger car apparently collided at the intersection, followed by the bus striking three parked cars. Engine 13, Ladder 4, EMS 1, EMS 13, District 1, and District 2 were on scene. The other fire and EMS units were canceled. Trying to remember, a bus accidents get how many EMS resources? Three ambulances, two District Chiefs, one APP, and Truck 1? First Alarm dispatch, I believe. We blogged about that before. As for the bus accident, there were no injuries.

Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Vehicles in Buildings

Does it seem like calls are on the rise for vehicles into buildings? Or have they always been happening at a rate of a couple a week around here? There were two in Raleigh yesterday. WRAL is reporting on sport utility vehicle struck an apartment building on Burgundy Street. No injuries, even to the driver, who exited the vehicle prior to the collision. Also early yesterday evening, a vehicle struck a commercial building on New Falls of Neuse Road. The Falls Fire Department responded to that one, and it brought Raleigh Car 40 and city building inspectors to the scene. Haven't found any news coverage on that one. Unknown if either driver blew the horn first.

+ 0 - 1 | § School Bus Burns in Edgecombe County

Here's something you don't see every day, a fully-involved school bus. That happened this morning on West Logsboro Road in Edgecombe County. The driver and 39 students aboard safely evacuated. The fire started inside an air-conditioning unit. Read the WTVD story.

WTVD photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Smoke From Dare Wildire Reaches Raleigh

The News & Observer notes this morning that the smoke from a 21,000-acre wildfire in Dare County has reached Raleigh. Of course, anyone who was outside yesterday morning has smelled the thing. Like a cross between burning wood and burning plastic. And with sniffers reporting smells all around Raleigh and Wake County via Facebook. Betcha more than a few odor investigations are being run by departments between here and the coast! The Associated Press wrote the story, the Virginian-Pilot published the below photo by Bill Tiernan, that appears on the Observer's web site.

Bill Tiernan / Virginian-Pilot photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter, Special Edition - The Tornado

A special edition of the Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter has been posted to The eight-page issue features stories, photos, and other information about the April 16 tornado. Department historian Mike Legeros conducted interviews and compiled submitted stories from personnel. Other contributors include FireNews Editor-in-Chief Jeff Harkey, who created a nifty map showing storm damage. Read the issue, or click below to access. The newsletter is an otherwise quarterly publication for personnel, retirees, and citizens.

+ 0 - 1 | § Speaking of Oral Histories

Found this page from the Oral History Association, with guidance Doug Boyd Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky Libraries, on choosing and using digital and portable recording equipment. One great piece of advice is below, it's news to me. Though it shouldn't be, given the interfere I have observed with, say, VHF scanners and my BlackBerry. And by blogging about it, there's an even greater chance that I'll remember this piece of advice going forward!

Turn your cell phone off during an interview. A cell phone in vibrate mode may not ring, but cellular phones periodically “handshake” with the local tower. This signal can often interfere with recorders printing unwanted noise on the recording.

+ 0 - 1 | § Mystery Stream

Okay, let's see if the chump can stump his readers with this one. Major working fire somewhere, sometime in Raleigh. And within the last decade, though that clue is probably not needed, knowing this crowd.

+ 1 - 0 | § New Water Supply Procedures for Raleigh Fire Department

Listen closely to structure fires in Raleigh, and you'll hear some new radio traffic with regard to water supply. Beginning May 1, first-arriving engine companies now catch their own supply lines. This gives the first arriving engine an established water supply before their personnel enter the burning structure.

Also new are the big honkin' hydrant assist valves you've probably seen mounted on tailboards. They weigh 37 pounds and have four openings for five-inch hose. Here's how it works: the valve connects to the hydrant, and the supply line connects to the valve. The second-arriving engine then parks at the hydrant, and also connects to the valve.

This allows the second engine to easily boost pressure on the supply line, and increase efficiency of the water coming to the first engine. There are other beneifts to the new procedure. For example, it puts one less engine in front of the fire building. The first-arriving engine also has the option of "laying in dry" instead of "laying in wet."

Read more about the new procedure in the Spring Issue of the Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter. Or see photos of training on the new procedures from a few months ago. See those shots, from morning training and afternoon training.

+ 0 - 1 | § Wake County Fire Insurance Districts

Screen capture from Wake County IMAPS. Added as a reference for our blog discussion on unit numbering, and its latest slide into the topic of county consolidation. Read that discussion. Click to slightly enlarge:

+ 0 - 1 | § Corinth Holders 1962 Ford/American LaFrance

Photographer Lee Wilson spent the day the other day at the Corinth Holders Fire Department in Johnston County, where a barbecue fundraiser was underway. They are planning to restore the engine, which was their first purchased-new piece of fire apparatus, I believe. They're looking for pictures of the truck, and information about its history. Have stories of the truck and its decades of service? Post or email. The ubiquitous cab-over Ford pumper. Wonder how many of those were delivered in North Carolina, by LaFrance or others? Had to have been dozens, or maybe hundreds. See more pictures from Lee.

Lee Wilson photo

+ 2 - 1 | § Cover Photo / EMS World / The Future of EMS

From time to time, a photo of mine proves good enough for a magazine cover. The May 2011 issue of EMS Worldi is a good example. The cover story is by Wake County EMS Chief Skip Kirkwood. The article topic is the future of EMS, in a context summarized by Kirkwood's question "do we want EMS to be reactive or proactive?" Read the online version.

The article includes pictures of a Wake County APP in action. Obviously the shots are staged, since patient privacy would make such field photos tricky or perhaps impossible. That the pictured "patients" resemble other Wake County paramedics is perhaps a figment of your imagination. Photo credits Mike Legeros, duh.

+ 1 - 1 | § What The Heck Are You Taking a Picture Of?

That's one of the more common questions these days for Yours Truly, as exaggerated close-ups and crazy camera angles are becoming increasingly common. (What can I say, different is appealing.) The other oft-heard query is "where's your shirt?" There are times, believe it or not, when Mr. Blogger appears in public sans tropical attire, and the effect can be a bit disorienting. Please remain calm. But back to crazy camera angles. Here's a Charlotte Fire Department Honor Guard member (I think) at today's Sixth Annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony at Nash Square. 

+ 1 - 0 | § Bahama Fire Department Auxiliary Unit

The interesting piece of apparatus was parked at Nash Square this afternoon, where the Sixth Annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. Looks like a rehab unit, and perhaps operated by a department "auxiliary." Maybe our readers can provide more information.

+ 0 - 1 | § Cary's 1953 Seagrave / Remembering Vernon Thompson

This morning's North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial procession of apparatus and honor guards included this 1953 Seagrave 70th Anniversary Series pumper from the Cary Fire Department. The open-cab beauty is powered by a 202 HP, 12-cylinder motor, has a 750 GPM pump and 500-gallon tank. It cost $15,000 and replaced a 1931 Chevrolet pumper that required hand-pushing at times. Click to enlarge:

The banner remembers Cary Firefighter Vernon Lee Thompson, 28, who was killed on June 16, 1960, when their 4,200-gallon tractor-drawn tanker overturned near Meredith College. Thompson and Firefighter Billy Henderson were responding to a rekindled trash near the Camp Polk prison dump. They had turned from Highway 1 onto a service road that rand between Meredith College property and the State College animal husbandry farm.

The tanker overturned and both were thrown from the cab. The truck rolled onto Henderson Thompson . He was pinned under the cab, and died after fuel leaking from the gas tank ignited. Funeral services were 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. Read more about Thompson and other line-of-duty deaths in Wake County. Click to slightly enlarge:

Raleigh Times photos

+ 3 - 0 | § Caption This Photo / Parade Staging

Wake & District Public Safety Pipes & Drums members prior to a procession of apparatus and honor guards this morning in downtown Raleigh, and which preceded the Sixth Annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial at Nash Square.

+ 0 - 1 | § Demolition of a Fire Station

Reader Dale Johnson sends this picture of Holly Springs Station 2, damaged in the April 16 tornado and presently a pile of rubble. Read about the station and the damage in this prior posting. Lee Wilson also posted a few pictures of the station, taken yesterday and last week. See those pictures here and here. Click to enlarge:

Next question, how many fire stations in Wake County have been demolished over the years and decades? They include...

+ 1 - 0 | § Thinking About a Book

Okay, you got me thinking about those former airport EMS stations. Pictures probably exist of both. Maybe personal photos. Maybe newspaper photos. Such pictures would be perfect for a photo history of rescue and EMS. Local history, say, just Wake County.

Who makes such local history books? Arcadia Publishing, for starters. Their Images of America series is what Yours Truly used for his Raleigh & Wake County Firefighting books. They’re thin paperbacks, about 120 pages. Photo-intensive, usually two page. Plus captions. Plus some text sections.

Who wants to write this one? My project plate’s a bit full, but here are some of the steps required for prospective authors. Based on how I approached my books, that is.


+ 1 - 0 | § Big Black

Found while browsing the Pierce Flickr site. You know things aren't going good if you see this baby on scene. Pierce Velocity command post delivered to the FBI in Quantico, VA. Click for larger:

+ 0 - 1 | § Interview with Cary Fire Chief Ned Perry, 1999

From a reader and for your weekend reading, here's an archived transcription of an interview with former Cary Fire Chief Ned Perry. He was chief of the department from 1975 until 1993, and came from the Raleigh Fire Department, where he was a Captain. When he came to Cary, as he recalls in the interview, the department had 14 paid members and 11 volunteers.

He recounts the growth the department, the building of stations, and the buying of apparatus. He remembers some unusual calls: a plane crash into a lake when he still worked for Raleigh, and a distraught man's bomb that killed himself and his wife in a lawyers office. And a host of other topics and remembrances.

Read the PDF-format transcription, written in 2001 from a 1999 recording for the Cary Heritage Museum Oral History Project. There's nothing so good as an oral history. And they're very easy to start doing. Yours Truly has been recording retired and retiring Raleigh firefighters for years now, as well as such former members as Chief Perry. No transcriptions just yet.

+ 1 - 0 | § Nineteen Days Later

Early-evening explorations in the area of North King Charles and Marlborough roads, one of the neighborhoods that suffered great damage during the April 16 tornado. More later. Click to enlarge:


+ 1 - 1 | § Six Forks EMS Ceases Operations

As many have heard and some have asked about, Six Forks EMS ceased operations this week, due to internal issues that have been reported in local media. Wake County EMS assumed the role of provider for their response area at 0800 on Monday, May 3, and has placed four units in service:

Plans are to renumber EMS 36 as EMS 6. The other unit numbers will remain the same. District 4 has remained in service, and continues to operate from Bay Leaf Station 3 / Six Forks Main. It has been assigned a Dodge Durango. The status of the eight ambulances owned by Six Forks EMS is pending. Half will likely be used by Wake County EMS.

In respect for the good people and our good friends at Six Forks EMS, let's refrain from commentary on their issues. There are forums on the various media sites, for starters. Facebook is also a good avenue for expressing thoughts and feelings about this unexpected change in the local EMS landscape. We can only wish them the best through this unexpected and challenging time.

+ 1 - 1 | § The Future of Fireground Communication

From a reader, some humor on the subject of fireground communication. And they keep straight faces nearly the entire time! How many mics are you wearing... Thanks Marshall. Click to watch the clip on YouTube.

+ 0 - 1 | § Sixth Annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service This Weekend

Don't forget about Saturday's fallen firefighter ceremony in downtown Raleigh. The Sixth Annual North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service is preceeded by a procession of fire apparatus at 10:00 a.m. The annual parade starts on Hillsborough Street and concludes at the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial at Nash Square.

The memorial service starts at 1:00 p.m. The names of two fallen firefighters will be added: Chad Eric Green, 34, died on November 4, 2009, after responding to a motor vehicle crash. He was the Deputy Chief of Union Cross Fire Department in Forsyth County. Richard Adam Miller, 24, died on December 29, 2009, while participating in physical fitness training at Beltmont Fire Department Headquarters in Gaston County. 

See this FireNews article for maps and more information. Learn more about the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Or read about the histories of North Carolina's fallen firefighters. Over 225 members of the state's fire service have died in the line of duty since the first recorded death of Washington volunteer firefighter Edward Peed in 1902.

Lee Wilson/FireNews photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Fire Commission Meeting Notice, May 5 - Updated

The next meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission is Thursday, May 5, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive. Three documents for the meeting have been made available: the agenda, the minutes from the January 20 meeting, and the latest financial report. See those documents. See you there.

May 3 update. One additional document has been added above, the Fire Budget Committee Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2010. Looking through same, here's some of what's recommended:

+ 1 - 0 | § Raleigh Fire Department Historical Map

Where were Raleigh's old fire stations located downtown? Here's a historical map, and newly updated with inset images. And some data corrections, drawn from Mr. Blogger's research on the city's volunteer fire companies. Click to see larger version:

+ 1 - 0 | § Slow Down

We've often blogging about our favorite fire bloggers to the north. Today let's stay close to home and blog about a local blogger and paramedic (and frequent participant here). His soapbox is named 9-ECHO-1, which the code for a code. The blog address is The latest posting is first-person account of him and the Missus in their personal vehicle and in proximity of an emergency call. They observe the fire unit, which enters the intersection in a cautious fashion. They observe the EMS unit, which goes through the intersection at a considerable faster clip. Read the narrative yourself.

+ 0 - 1 | § Wherever Disaster Strikes #2

Seen this weekend behind the old Wal-Mart in Garner. With what looked like ten antennas and a satellite dish on the roof. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 0 | § Disaster Blows In, and Rescuers Become the Rescued

Today's News & Observer has a profile of the Miller family, paramedic and nurse Allison Miller and her retired parents Paul and Ruby. They live across the street from each other on King Charles Drive, in one of the neighborhoods hit hard by the tornado on April 16. Both of their homes were severely damaged. In the days that followed, off-duty firefighters and medics and others have been helping the Millers with the physical demands of securing and clearing their property. They've since moved into temporary housing, but plan to stay on King Charles. Which is where they've lived for over 30 years. Read the story, which includes a good-sized photo gallery.

News & Observer photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Bertie County Volunteer Firefighters Spring into Action After Storm

The Virginian-Pilot today posted a nice feature on the Bertie County volunteer firefighters who responded to the tornado on April 16, 2011. All twelve of the county's fire departments responded, with over 100 firefighters responding within minutes of the touchdown. The twister killed 11 and injured 50 in those first 15 minutes. It's been called the worst disaster in the history of the large, rural county with a population of just over 21,000 people. Read the story. Thanks to David for sending. Readers are also welcome to post their stories from the storms, as they continue northeast from Wake County and toward Virginia.

Virginian-Pilot photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Tour Raleigh's New Decon Trailer

Lee Wilson has posted photos showing the inside of Raleigh's new decon trailer. The Schantz & Sons trailer was outfitted by Matthews Specialty Vehicles. It's designed for decontamination of responders at hazardous materials incidents. There are two separate individual shower stalls, as well as stations for undress/dressing. Looks like the equipment includes hot water heaters and tanks to capture the contaminated water. The trailer is also carries an all-terrain vehicle. The unit replaces a box truck that carried decon equipment that requiring assembly for deployment. It's housed at Station 22 and staffed by Ladder 5. And it's pulled by a 2005 Ford F-550 Super Duty prime mover that's designed SR3. See our prior posting on the trailer as well.

Lee Wilson photo