09/12/14 1047 W, 8 I - + 7 - 5 Morehead City Fire Department History

For the Friday heck of it, here's a kinda, sorta history of the Morehead City Fire Department. Primary source are Google, Google Newspaper Archives, and prior blog posts. Readers, please help with apparatus information. Missing lots. Also, fact- and error-check me. Additional milestones are welcome. All sorts of things can added.

1906 to 1949

  • 1906 - Morehead City Fire Department organized.
  • 1908 - Sanborn Maps describe department as volunteer with forty-five members. Apparatus consists of Howe "triplex" gasoline fire engine, one hand engine, two hose carts, and 1,500 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose. Water supplied by seven fire cisterns.
  • 1911 - Water system installed with first fire hydrants.
  • 1913 - Sanborn Maps describe department as volunteer, one company, thirty members, one paid driver, one horse "worked on streets during day", one hose wagon with 800 feet 2 1/2-inch hose, one hand reel with 500 feet 2 1/2-inch hose, one Howe "gasoline fire engine." Water supplied by twenty-nine double hydrants. Fire station located in two-story City Hall building at 301 Evans Street.
  • 1924 - Sanborn Maps describe department as with Chief (full-paid, also Chief of Police), Asst. Chief (part-paid), Drive (full-paid), twenty-five part-paid men, ten volunteers. Brockway combination chemical/hose truck. Fire station is two-story building on east side of N. 13th Street, mid-block south of Bridges Street. Twelve Gamewell boxes. Forty-two fire hydrants.
  • 1920 - Town Hall built at 801 Evans Street. Two-story building includes/later includes a two-bay fire station. (Wrong date for building? Built after 1924? WPA building, built in 1930s?)
  • 1926 - American LaFrance ships two pieces of apparatus to the town: 1926 Type 75 triple-combination pumper (#297), 1926 Type 40 combination chemical/hose truck (#6779). [My interpretation of John Peckham's American LaFrance database doesn't entirely make sense. Was one of these the quadruple combination mentioned below?
  • 1941 - Sanborn Maps describe department as all partly paid, plus full-paid driver. Chief, Asst. Chief, driver, asst. driver, thirty-six men. Apparatus includes an American LaFrance quadruple combination (pumper/service truck/1000/90), American LaFrance triple combination (750/40). Nineteen Gamewell boxes. Seventy-one hydrants.

1950 to 1999

  • 1951 - FWD pumper delivered (but overturned on delivery date a couple weeks later, killing a firefighter. See below.)
  • 1956 - Station 2 opens at 3308 Evans Street. Two-story building with two bays. One-story expansion of bays later added, plus one-story living quarters expansion.
  • 1958 - Morehead City Rescue Squad organized. Occupied two-story building at 304 North 25h Street. Ambulance service only, or also rescue services?
  • 1960s or 1970s - Apparatus deliveries included a Ford C pumper (red).
  • 1980 - Grumman/Howe pumper delivered.
  • 1986 - Ford F-350/_____ utility truck delivered with high, climb-in body. Used as rescue truck?
  • 1980s or 1990s - Apparatus deliveries include a Spartan/Quality pumper (white), a Ford/Pierce pumper/tanker (white), and a 1975 Mack 85-foot aerial ladder (red), that also served New Port and Cherry Point. (Purchased used? Late 1990s?)
  • 1998 - Spartan/Duplex pumper (white) delivered.
  • 2000 - Morehead City EMS merged with the town on July 1. Quarters later repurposed as Station 4, as training facility.

2000 to present

  • 2001 - Station 1 relocated to 1406 Bridges Street. One-story building with three double-deep bays.
  • 2004 - E-One Typhoon pumper (white) delivered.
  • 2006 - Sutphen aerial platform, 1500/500/70-foot delivered.
  • 2006 - Fireboat added, 1984 Mitchell Marine Builder, 25-foot. Surplus from Army COE. Sold in/circa 2011. Read blog post.
  • 2007 - Station 3 opened at 5293 Highway 70, in partnership with Wildwood Fire Department. One-story building with six bays, two of which are converted to living areas.
  • 2011 - Medical Ambulance Bus added, 2012 Thomas/Sartin. Purchased with Homeland Security grant. Read blog post.
  • 2012 - Station 2 opened at 4034 Arendell Street. One-story building with three bays. Former Carteret County News-Times building, built in 1977. The administrative offices are relocated from Station 1.
  • 2013 - Pierce rescue pumper delivered.


Click to enlarge:

Courtesy Jesse Chaplain

Fire department in 1934,
courtesy the History Place

Apparatus in 1950s, North Carolina State Archives photo

Fire station in 1913

Fire station in 1924

Fire station in 1941

Legeros / MHFD photos

The department has also lost three members in the line of duty:

Notable fires and major incidents:

Do not believe Bell was killed the day truck was delivered. They had taken the truck to Newport to draft water out by the prison on Mill Creek Road.
On return trip to Morehead truck overturned in the sharp curve on Mill Creek Road almost to Newport.
I have a copy of the newspaper but I have moved and it is packed away.
My father used to tell me there were several MCFD enegineers who would not drive this truck.
JC - 09/16/14 - 12:22

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