02/17/15 630 W, 1 I - + 11 - 6 Raleigh Firemen Who Lived at the Fire Station

Last month we presented a list of Raleigh firefighter names as listed in the Raleigh City Directory of 1963. Let's look at some other city directory voumes, for names of some firemen who lived at the fire station:

Wait, firemen lived at the fire station? As in, their primary residence? Correct. This piece of history was raised in last month's posting about old discipline records.

Reader "AP" noted "I once worked with now retired Captain J.C. Munns and he described to me once that during his early years at RFD, he was assigned to St 3 and lived at the station back when they only had two shifts. As you noted, he even received his regular mail at the station, which I think was common practice. He noted on his off day, he would hop on the engine if a house fire came in."

I've queried a few folks and learned these details about "living at the fire station":

Couple factors to consider here. First, their salaries weren't terribly high. One retiree recounts trying to buy a $12,560 house in the newly developing Woodcrest community. This was the early or mid-1950s. He made $73 a month, including city taxes and insurance. The bank said sorry, he didn't make enough money. He returned in 1957 after his salary was higher and bought the house.

There was also a residency requirement. Firemen had to live within the city limits, and the city limits were considerably smaller. Here's an annexation showing the significantly smaller city size. Thus, their housing choices were limited by geography. As each decade passed, the city grew. New subdivisions were developed by builders and they were annexed by the city. Firemen had more choices of places to live.

The residency requirement was expanded in February 1969, to anywhere within Wake County. Provided they lived on a paved road and that their telephones were "connected to the Raleigh exchange." The restriction was further expanded to a road mile distance. What was it, then thirty-five, then fifty?

Need reader input here. Both on the residency requirements, and any additional "living at the station" details that people have heard. Click to enlarge:

Postscript. Visit my fire department timelines and you'll see progressive annexation maps, per-decade. But... they don't match this map. Who's right and who's wrong? Probably my bad.

From a retiree who was hired in 1970. He remembers two firefighters living at their fire stations, at that time. It was the on-duty officer’s discretion if they would answer calls, if a call was received while the off-duty fireman was at the station. If the company was “short”, say, a three-man company that day, the off-duty “live in” member would also likely answer the call.
Legeros - 04/23/17 - 11:22

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