10/02/09 248 W, 1 I - + 13 - 10 Old Photo of Station 6

For your Friday enjoyment, here's an old photo that many have seen before. It shows firefighters at Station 6, circa 1948. That's the year that building opened, so it might be showing the original engine and ladder crews. Wearing white on the left is Fire Chief Alvin Lloyd. He served from 1947 to 1955, and died in office. Lloyd joined RFD in 1919.

On the right is Asst. Chief R. Lee Matthews. He joined in 1926 and retired in 1963, and subsequently served as interim fire chief in Cary. He was hired in 1967. Two other Cary chiefs have ties to RFD. Cary Fire Chief C. F. Ayscue, who served 1967-68, left and joined and later retired from Raleigh. And longtime chief Ned Perry was a Raleigh Captain who was hired by the town in 1975 and served until 1993.

Sitting in the engine is Driver Vernon J. Smith, who would be seriously injured on November 14, 1952, while operating Engine 6 which was operating a reserve pumper. It overturned while returning from a call, and Smith died of his injuries four years later. He was Raleigh's first duty death. Read more about his story.

The complete who's who: (front row) Joe Hobby, Capt. John Harrison, Clyde Carter, Chief Alvin Lloyd, Asst. Chief Lee Matthews, Capt. Jack Crabtree, and Bill Durden; (back row) Roy High, Harold Stephenson, Eugene Alford, James Strickland, Thomas Gates, Todd _____, and Frank Beecham; (sitting in apparatus) Vernon Smith and Wade Watkins.

Read more history of the Raleigh Fire Department. Click to enlarge:

How difficult is it to identify people in pictures of years past?
Joey M. - 10/02/09 - 16:07

It can be pretty hard. In this case, to identify these guys, I took enlargements of their heads/faces, and showed them around at the monthly retiree breakfast. That was a few years ago, when I was writing my first Raleigh/Wake history book. The retirees were able to tell who was who, and even point to themselves in at least one case! Now with a few years of photo research under my belt, I can recognize some of the past guys myself. In best case scenarios, photos are labelled and the names match with who people today recognize as people then.
Legeros - 10/02/09 - 17:06

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