Raleigh Fire Department History



Twenty-eight stations protecting 211 square miles and 510,175 residents.


Fire protection system simulator trailer placed in service by the Office of the Fire Marshal. (January 2020)

Trench rescue at construction site at 4209 Corners Parkway, with Durham Fire Department as auto-aid. (January 25, 2020)

Station 22 on 9350 Durant Road closed. The site was needed for projects related to a high-speed rail initiative, in a corridor just to the east of the station site. Engine 22 was relocated to temporary quarters at the water plant on Falls of Neuse Road. Ladder 5 and Haz-Mat 4 were relocated to Station 25. (February 5, 2019)

City Council received a staffing study about the fire department. "Report on the Fire Department Resource Allocation Analysis" is produced by the Matrix Consulting Group. From the summary of recommendations:

  • Increase the minimum staffing of seven engine companies from three personnel to four personnel to increase the resources necessary for maximum and high-risk structure fire responses. Begin with adding eight (8) FTE Firefighters to increase staffing of engines 1 and 13 in FY 2021. Monitor call demand and response performance annually to determine the need for additional resources.
  • Authorize three (3) additional FTE Deputy Fire Marshals in field inspections function to conduct follow-up inspections on violations found in existing occupancies. Continue to monitor growth in the City and add additional Deputy Fire Marshal (Inspectors) for each 750 occupancies requiring a mandatory inspection constructed in the City.
  • Continue to monitor the growth in the City and add an additional plans examination staff when submittals exceed 6,000 annually.
  • Authorize one (1) additional FTE field inspector position and assign the position to work with the Special Projects Team. Continue to monitor the growth in the City and add additional Deputy Fire Marshal (Inspectors) for each 1,250 new construction occupancies requiring an inspection.
  • Continue to develop the public safety education programs and increase exposure of fire and life safety programs to identified at risk groups in the City. Authorize three (3) FTE Senior Firefighter positions to conduct life safety education programs in the City and assign one to each of the inspection districts.
  • Authorize a FTE Division Chief position in the Office of the Fire Marshal.
  • Authorize seven (7) FTE Instructor positions for the Training Division with a variety of expertise to support all functional areas in the Division and minimize impact on the Operations Division to provide instructors.
  • Authorize a FTE recruitment specialist for the Training Division that reports to the Academy Captain.
  • Convert the part-time Assistant EMS Coordinator to a full-time position.
  • Authorize a FTE position focused on QA and QI of EMS services.
  • Reassign the Technology and Planning Units to report to the Support Services Division.
  • Authorize an analytical position to assist the Engineer Planning Officer in carrying out complex assignments
  • Authorize three (3) dedicated Safety Officers, one on each shift to respond to calls for service requiring a Safety Officer and investigate workplace accidents or incidents resulting in damage or injury
  • Authorize two (2) clerical positions to the Support Services Division, one (1) in FY 2021 and one (1) in FY 2022 to provide clerical support and to assist in the management of inventory items.
  • Authorize two (2) additional mechanics to the Support Services Division to improve the maintenance and repair of apparatus, other motorized equipment and staff vehicles. (February 24, 2020)

Apparatus note: 1988 Pierce Snorkel retired. (April 1, 2020)

Two alarms at 6200 St. Regis Circle. Dispatched 2:42 p.m. Three-story, wood-frame, garden-style apartment building with 19,140 square-feet and 24 units, according to tax records. Built 1986. Working fire assignment dispatched while units were en route, due to multiple callers. Engine 8 arriving with heavy fire showing in the front of the structure, from the first floor and extending through the roof. Heavy fire was also found on the back side of the structure. Cary Engine 2 second-arriving, as automatic aid, and brought the (first) water supply. With reports of occupants still inside, first-arriving fire companies were in “rescue mode”, conducting searches and evacuations as needed, and checking balconies for people needing rescue. Battalion 5 took command on arrival, and reported 60 percent fire involvement. Car 20 then took command, followed by Car 1 at 3:14 p.m. Early into incident, Cary Battalion 1 also arrived, and offered additional nearby units. Affirmative. Cary Rescue 2 and Engine 9 were sent to the scene. The dispatcher asked command (Battalion 5) if they wanted a second alarm, about 2:56 p.m. Affirmative. Second alarm dispatched 2:57 p.m. Staging set on Farm Gate Road. Two aerial streams operated after all interior searches and evacuations were completed, with Ladder 3 (on Farm Gate) and Ladder 7 (on St. Regis). Evacuation tones were sounded at 3:17 p.m., when Ladder 3 first started flowing. Also operating was a deck gun from Engine 8 in the front, and at least one portable monitor in the rear courtyard. Four hydrants were utilized: Farm Gate – Laid by Cary Engine 2 to Engine 8 on St. Regis Farm Gate – Engine 10 boosting to Ladder 3 on Farm Gate Farm Gate – Squad 14 boosting to Ladder 7 on St. Regis St. Regis – Engine 6 Water pressure issues presented and some (all?) hand lines were shut down during aerial operations, to allow greater reach for Ladder 3 and Ladder 7. Controlled at 3:55 p.m. All residents accounted for at 5:12 p.m. Staging ended at 5:37 p.m., with Ladder 2 released. Relief units were sent into the evening, to continue overhaul and extinguish hot spots. Units continued to be rotated for periods of fire watch until 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Cause has not been released. No residents nor responders were injured. Twelve units were destroyed, and dozens of residents were displaced. Crews returned to the scene the following morning, to extinguish hot spots. Engine 8, Squad 14, Ladder 4, Ladder 7, and Battalion 4 remained on scene after a bystander reported seeing flames. Companies returned two more times, to further extinguish hot spots. 1A: E8, E20, E2, Sq14, L3, L7, R1, B5, B4 WF: C20, C402, A2 Plus: C1 C3, Safety Officer 2A: E16, E9, E10, E6, L8, L2, Cary: E2, E9, R2, B1, C1 Wake County: WC1 Plus numerous EMS resources including Truck 1 Plus numerous move-ups. (April 4, 2020)

Training annex opened at Station 26 on Barwell Road, occupying the former emergency communications training center and back-up facility, which is located in a separate section of the building. The Training Division relocates the offices and storage areas of the EMS and haz-mat programs. The Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center vacated the space in the fall of 2016. The Training Division relocated the offices and storage areas for the EMS and Haz-Mat programs, which were previously housed in the classroom building at the Keeter Training Center on Keeter Center Drive in South Raleigh. The new space was larger-- 4,062 square-feet, from tax records--and added a meeting room, more office space, and improved storage areas for the programs, notably the EMS equipment and supplies that are used by firefighters on emergency medical calls. One vehicle would also be parked there, for EMS logistics. By moving these programs to a second location, space was made available at the training center to accommodate future full-time instructiors. That need was recently identified in a fire department staffing study, and the proposed budget for FY21 recommends the creation of two positions, to serve as full-time recruit academy and continuing education instructors. Though their program offices were relocated, all EMS and haz-mat training continued to take place at the Keeter Training Center. (May 11, 2020)

Two alarms at 10705 Suntree Court. Two-story, brick-exterior, single-family dwelling with full basement, with 5,699 square-feet. Built 2001, say tax records. Alarm time 3:25 p.m. Working fire assignment dispatched while units were en route, due to heavy column of smoke visible from Arnold Palmer Drive, reported by first-due Engine 24. Engine 24 arrived with heavy fire venting from a window above the garage. They also laid their own supply line, with Engine 23 completing the hook-up and boosting. Interior attack with two hand lines. Battalion 4 assumed command on arrival. His report of conditions: heavy fire above the garage in A/B corner of building. Interior crews encountered high heat and were backed out “to the stairwell,” for a period of exterior attack using a two-inch line. At the same time, the fire vented through roof. Second alarm requested about 3:50 p.m. Staging was located on Winged Thistle Court. First-alarm companies were sent to rehab, with second-alarm companies rotated in. Controlled at 4:30 p.m. Cause determined as accidental. Five people displaced. No injuries. First alarm: E24, E23, E29, E17, L6, L9, R1, B4, B3 Working fire: A2, C20, C402 Added: E4 as replacement for E29, out of service mechanical, while responding Second alarm: E16, E22, L3, L1, Sq14 Added: E18 Added: B5 Plus EMS (June 13, 2020)

Two alarms at 3134 Winding Waters Way. Dispatched at 6:28 p.m. Engine 25 arriving at a three-story, wood-frame, townhouse unit with 1,908 square-feet. Built 2003, say tax records. Reported as gas grill on back deck that had caught the structure on fire. Engine 25 found fire showing from attic, from the front of the structure. Interior attack was started. Second alarm was requested for manpower, as attic conditions worsened. Ladder 5 was positioned for aerial ops, but the fire was contained by the interior crews. Three lines [correct?] used: two inside and one exterior to the rear. Second alarm dispatched 6:21 p.m. Controlled 6:50 p.m. Cause determined as accidental. First photo at 7:04 p.m. Units included E25, E22, E15, E4, L5, L1, R1, B1, B4, C20, C402, A2, second alarm: E18, E28, E19, L9, plus EMS 39, EMS 42, EMS 38, D4. (July 4, 2020)

Herbert D. Griffin appointed seventeenth Chief of Department. He's a 24-year veteran of Houston FD, and mostly recently held the rank of Asst. Chief of Operations. He succeeded John T. McGrath, who retired on November 1, along with Interim Fire Chief Brad Harvey, a retired Raleigh assistant chief, whose been handling. Griffin was selected from a pool of approximately 65 candidates. Notes the city's press release, the "comprehensive process included interviews with staff members from the Raleigh Fire Department, various city departments, city executives, as well as external fire professionals." (September 8, 2020)

Two alarms at 8917 Midway West Road. Dispatched 7:39 p.m. One-story, abandoned modular office building, with approximately 6400 square-feet. Site (8.66 acres) owned by state since 2001, used by DOT for salt storage. Engine 23 first-arriving, flames showing through roof. Interior attack with three+ hand lines, from Engine 23. Aerial to roof, from Ladder 9. Supply line from hydrant in cul de sac, boosted by Engine 24. Extra lighting from Rescue 1, in cul de sac. Staging along long driveway, in cul de sac, along Midway West, and in a couple driveways that access the street. Durham Highway third-due, auto-aid. Second alarm requested for manpower, dispatched ~8:04 p.m. Controlled 8:40 p.m. Wake EMS and Cary EMS with medical monitoring and rehab, in NE corner of parking lot, in front of building. No injuries, no occupants. Cause determined as intentional. Units on scene included E23, E24, E29, E17, E18, E16, E4, L9, L6, L3, L1, R1, B4, B5, C3, C12 [?] (Safety Officer), DHFD P162, EMS5_, EMS 4_, D4. Run card included additional DHFD and EMS units. Some (three?) of the RFD second-alarm companies released 8:10-8:15 p.m. or abouts. (September 20, 2020)

Two alarms at 2206 Stonehenge Drive. Dispatched 7:25 a.m. with working fire assignment dispatched while units were en route. Engine 18 first-arriving with heavy smoke and flames showing from the front of the building, from the first floor of a two-story, garden-style apartment building with 12 units and 12,154 square-feet. Arrival conditions also included two residents requiring rescue from a balcony. Arriving companies began evacuating residents, rescuing residents, and searching for trapped occupants. They also worked to find the seat of the fire, which took longer due to interior smoke conditions and its extension to the crawlspace being the building. Structural conditions also subsequently deteriorated in the first-floor fire unit, with a sagging floor that necessitated keeping crews out of that section of the building. Command requested a second alarm for manpower, which was dispatched at 7:45 a.m. Staging for second-alarm companies was Stonehenge Drive. Incident command was located in front and to the left side of the structure, with Battalion 4 and then Car 20 as command. The fire was controlled at 8:57 a.m. Three or four residents were transported with smoke inhalation. From news reports, they were expected to be okay. There were no injuries to firefighters. Wake County EMS and Eastern Wake EMS units provided patient care, along with medical monitoring and rehab of personnel. Staging for the numerous EMS resources included both Stonehenge Drive and a parking lot across the street from the fire scene. Due to the number of evacuated residents, the EMS response was upgraded to an EMS second alarm. Total dispatched resources were nine transport units, three Medic units, two District Chiefs, the Shift Supervisor, and the major operations support unit, Truck 1. As the incident occurred at the time of fire department shift change, some incoming on-duty personnel were brought to the scene to swap with outgoing off-duty members, after the fire was brought under control. (October 16, 2020)

Apparatus note. Ladder 3 renamed Ladder 14. (December 9, 2020)

Apparatus note. Ladder 6 renamed Ladder 23. (December 14, 2020)

Apparatus note. Ladder 9 renamed Ladder 6. (December 21, 2020)

Two alarms at 833 Navaho Drive. Dispatched 4:39 a.m. as vehicle fire for Engine 11. Upgraded with structure fire response for E9, E15, E16, S14, L2, L1, B1 added. Ladder 2 was first-arriving with fire showing in the rear of a two-story apartment building, garden-style, apartment building with eleven units and 11,770. Built 1968. Fire was extending from a burning pick-up truck to the outside of the building, and in the area of a gas meter. Initial fire companies worked on searching the impacted units, and evacuating the entire resident. Due to limited access and a long supply lines from hydrants, Engine 9 supplied lines for the initial fire attack, with Engine 11 nurse feeding, until the water supply was established. A second alarm was requested, which added E12, E21, E19, L8, B4, B3. Plus working fire units C20, C402, and Air 1. Plus a box alarm for EMS, for displaced persons. Engine 9, Engine 11, and Ladder 2 remained on scene, due to a natural gas leak that continued to burn, after the building fire was extinguished. (December 29, 2020)


Organization note. New names for divisions and offices:

  • Services renamed Logistics
  • Training renamed Professional Development
  • Safety office renamed Health and Safety Compliance office.

Apparatus note. Ladder 7 renamed Ladder 20. (January 4, 2021)

Apparatus note. Ladder 8 renamed Ladder 12. (January 11, 2021)

Apparatus note. Ladder 5 renamed Ladder 25. (January 18, 2021)

Apparatus note. Ladder 2 renamed Ladder 15 and moved to Station 15. (January 20, 2021)

Apparatus note. Units renumbered:

  • Ladder 1 renamed Ladder 4
  • Ladder 4 renamed Ladder 1 (January 25, 2021)

Recruit Academy 45 graduated. The academy was condensed from 32 to 27 weeks, due to modifications for COVID conditions. The ceremony was held outdoors at the training center, the first outdoor ceremony in decades and maybe ever. (January 13, 2021)

Apparatus note. Units renumbered:

  • Rescue 1 > Rescue 16
  • Haz-Mat 1 > Haz-Mat 2
  • Haz-Mat 2 > Haz-Mat 29
  • Haz-Mat 3 > Haz-Mat 8
  • Haz-Mat 4 > Haz-Mat 25
  • Haz-Mat 5 > Haz-Mat 27
  • Mini 1 > Mini 7 
  • Mini 2 > Mini 28
  • Mini 3 > Mini 14 
  • ATV 1 > ATV 14
  • ATV 2 > ATV 25
  • Car 20 > Division Chief 1  
  • Car 402 > Investigator 1 (February 22, 2021)

Two alarms at 210 Thesis Circle. Apartments. (March 22, 2021)


Two alarms at 528 New Bern Avenue. House. (February 28, 2022)

Two alarms at 8604 Olde Station Drive. Apartments. (March 13, 2022)


[AA]   Aircraft accident
[AI]   Apparatus incident
[EF]   Early fire
[HM]   Haz-mat incident
[MA]   Mutual Aid
[MF]   Major fire
[RA   Railway accident
[TF]   Tanker fire
[TR]   Technical rescue
[UD]   USAR deployment
[UF]   Unusual fire
[UI]   Unusual incident
[WE]   Weather event


ar   City of Raleigh Annual Report
bd   City of Raleigh budget documents
cvh   Cameron Village: A History 1949-1999, Nan Hutchins, Sprit Press, 2001
cad City of Raleigh Auditor's Office
ccm / cm   City Council Minutes / City Minutes
ccor   1792-1892, The Centennial Celebration of Raleigh, NC, Kemp D. Battle, Edwards and Broughton, 1893
cer   Chief Engineer's Report
dah   North Carolina Department of Archives and History
dahni   North Carolina Department of Archives and History News and Observer index
fp   City of Raleigh Fire Protection Study
hr   Historical Raleigh with Sketches of Wake County and its Important Towns, Moss N. Amis, 1912
oh   Oral History
mjlr   Mike Legeros records.
mp   Morning Post
nc   North Carolinian
no   News and Observer
noi   News and Observer Index
pb   Peter Brock
pph   Pullen Park History
rla   Raleigh Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary scrapbooks
rpu   Raleigh Fire Department Photo Unit records
rr   Raleigh Register
rt   Raleigh Times
ruh   Raleigh: An Unorthodox History
yb84   Raleigh Fire Department 1984, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 1984
yb02+   Raleigh Fire and Rescue: 1984-2002, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 2002, plus additional historical information also compiled by the Raleigh Fire Department around 2002.
wch   Wake: Capital County of North Carolina - Volume 1, Prehistory Through Centennial, Elizabeth Reid Murray, Capital County Publishing, 1983


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