10/29/07 1240 W - + 14 - 17 Mysteries of Station 2


When Memorial Auditorium opened on August 14, 1932, it replaced the City Auditorium at the corner of Fayetteville and Davie streets. The older building burned two years earlier. The new auditorium was constructed with a two-bay fire station in the southeast corner of the building. This was the new Station 2 and it replaced a smaller, single-bay facility on South Salisbury Street. The new station also included a maintenance shop for the fire department. Old Station 2 was retained as city property and later used as a paint shop.

When Station 1 on West Morgan Street closed on August 12, 1941, it was relocated to old Station 2 on South Salisbury Street. The Morgan Street station was the city's original "headquarters fire station" and had been built in 1896. It was condemned in 1939, and the tower was removed that year.

Old Station 1 housed an engine company and a two-piece ladder. One crew staffed the engine, and a second crew staffed both the aerial ladder and service ladder trucks. The building also housed the fire department offices, and the fire alarm equipment. New Station 1, however, was a considerably smaller building.

With the closing of the Morgan Street station, there were only 6 available apparatus bays:

Station 1 - 1 bay
Station 2 - 2 bays
Station 3 - 1 bay
Station 4 - 1 bay
Station 5 - 1 bay

The fire department's fleet of active apparatus consisted of six pumpers, one aerial ladder, and one service ladder. An "auxiliary truck," a pick-up truck equipped with a pump and water tank, was either also in service or would soon be added. Records suggest that the reduction of available apparatus bays resulted in the following changes:

Before August 1941

Station 1 - Engine 1, Aerial Ladder Truck 1, Service Ladder Truck 1
Station 2 - Engine 2
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5

After August 1941

Station 1 - Engine 1
Station 2 - Aerial Ladder Truck 1, Service Ladder Truck 1
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5

The time frame for the above actions-- removing Engine 2 from service, and relocating both ladder trucks to Station 2-- is not known. In December 1941, the United States entered World War II. The effect of the war upon the fire department, with personnel leaving for military service, may have influencing the removing of Engine 2 from service. It is also possible that the "auxiliary truck," likely staffed with two people, was subsequently placed in service as a modest replacement for the absent engine company.

The need for a sixth fire station was realized around this time, and Station 6 opened on March 3, 1943 in a rented building with a single bay at 2519 Fairview Road. Engine 6 was placed in service with a 1919 American LaFrance pumper purchased used from Farmville, NC. Wartime restrictions made acquiring new apparatus difficult, and the city would purchase no new apparatus until 1949.

With the opening of a Station 6, there were now 7 available apparatus bays:

Station 1 - 1 bay
Station 2 - 2 bays
Station 3 - 1 bay
Station 4 - 1 bay
Station 5 - 1 bay
Station 6 - 1 bay

The apparatus was likely distributed as follows:

Station 1 - Engine 1, Auxiliary Truck (parked behind engine)
Station 2 - Aerial Ladder Truck 1, Service Ladder Truck 1
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5
Station 6 - Engine 6

Building a permanent Station 6 took a few more years. By the summer of 1948, the city lost its lease on the building that housed Station 6. The engine company was temporarily relocated to Station 5. It is not known if the single apparatus bay at Station 5 was large enough to accommodate both engines. On June 25, 1949, a new Station 6 opened at 2602 Fairview Road. This building had two apparatus bays. Two days later, Truck 6 was placed in service, with the 1922 American LaFrance service truck presumably relocated from Station 2.

With the opening of a permanent Station 6, there were now 8 available apparatus bays:

Station 1 - 1 bay
Station 2 - 2 bays
Station 3 - 1 bay
Station 4 - 1 bay
Station 5 - 1 bay
Station 6 - 2 bays

The apparatus was likely distributed as follows:

Station 1 - Engine 1
Station 2 - Truck 1, Auxiliary Truck
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5
Station 6 - Engine 6, Truck 6

When Station 1 was moved to Salisbury Street years earlier, a replacement site was promptly purchased on South Dawson Street. The $15,000 lot measured 70 by 236 feet and was located adjacent to the old Union Depot. If memory serves, you can still see the remnants of railroad tracks across Harrington Street and leading to the old depot location.

Construction of a small building to house the equipment of the electric-telegraph fire alarm system commenced immediately, and on the same day as Station 1 was moved to Salisbury Street. The $3,500 building utilized window frames and other materials salvaged from the old station. The two-story structure also included a garage for housing the fire department's "emergency truck" and space for the traffic signal repair shop. New alarm equipment was also installed. The city had 130 alarm boxes at that time. The "alarm house" was completed in the rear of 220 South Dawson Street in the spring of 1942.

Constructing a new Station 1 would take another ten years. Reasons for the delay included the unavailability of building materials during wartime. Also during this period, beginning in 1949, the fire department commenced several capital upgrades including the purchase of six new pumpers and the replacement of Station 3 on East Hargett Street. The latter structure was 53 years old at the time of its closing in 1951.

New Station 1 opened on October 5, 1953. The $142,106 facility was opened on the same day. The City Manager presided over the ceremonies which included short speeches from the Mayor, City Council members, and the Fire Chief. Immediately after the ceremonies, members of the fire department's Ladies Auxiliary held an open house and conducted tours until 9:00 p.m. New Station 1 housed Engine 1, a new second engine company named Engine 9, and Aerial Ladder Truck 1.

With the opening of the new Station 1, there were now 11 available apparatus bays:

Station 1 - 3 bays (or 6 bays, if counted as double-length)
Station 2 - 2 bays
Station 3 - 3 bays
Station 4 - 1 bay
Station 5 - 1 bay
Station 6 - 2 bays

The apparatus was distributed as follows:

Station 1 - Engine 1, Engine 9, Truck 1
Station 2 - Engine 2, Auxiliary Truck
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5
Station 6 - Engine 6, Truck 6

The Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad was organized the same year that the new Station 1 was opened. The unit operated two vehicles, a white panel van and a blue and white heavy rescue truck with Civil Defense logos. Both were soon stored at Station 1. By the mid 1950s, the active apparatus of the Raleigh Fire Department was distributed as follows:

Station 1 - Engine 1, Engine 9, Truck 1, Rescue 1, Rescue 2
Station 2 - Engine 2, Auxiliary Truck
Station 3 - Engine 3
Station 4 - Engine 4
Station 5 - Engine 5
Station 6 - Engine 6, Truck 6

The makes and models of the apparatus were:

Engine 1 - 1953 American LaFrance 700 Series
Engine 2 - 1936 American LaFrance 400 Series [unconfirmed]
Engine 3 - 1951 American LaFrance 700 Series
Engine 4 - 1950 FWD F-75-T
Engine 5 - 1951 American LaFrance 700 Series
Engine 6 - 1950 Mack 86LS
Engine 9 (at Station 1) - 1953 American LaFrance 700 Series
Truck 1 - American LaFrance 500 Series / 1919 American LaFrance Type 17
Truck 6 - 1922 American LaFrance Type 14
Rescue 1 - 1954 GMC
Rescue 2 (at Station 1) - 1954 Reo
Auxiliary Truck - 1948 Ford F3

The make and model of Engine 2 is unconfirmed. The 1936 American LaFrance was the newest of the reserve engines, and it is reasonable to assume that it again served as a front-line piece of apparatus until the seventh "modern" engine was purchased, a 1957 FWD.

Future research may answer the mysteries of exactly when and why Engine 2 was removed from service, and the specifics surrounding Station 2 in the 1940s and early 1950s. Until then, it makes for compelling speculation.



Mike…the 1954 Rescue truck was a GMC, not a Chevy. Yeah, I know, what’s the difference?
DJ (Email) - 10/30/07 - 08:18

Thanks, updated.
Legeros - 10/30/07 - 17:17



  
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