Western Boulevard Fire Department (1957-1960)


See also Western Wake County fire departments family tree - JPG | PDF


Family Tree - JPG | PDF


Dairy Barn at State College burns. The 10:45 p.m. alarm is received by telephone to the Raleigh Fire Department, which responds. Three lines and 1400 feet of hose are used on the one-story, frame building. (April 6, 1933)rfd

State Fairgrounds suffers fire. The 5:06 a.m. alarm is reported by telephone to the Raleigh Fire Department, which responds. Two lines and 1,110 feet of hose are used. (October 15, 1946)rfd

State College dairy barn burns on farm west of Raleigh. The 2:35 p.m. alarm is received by telephone to the Raleigh Fire Department, which responds. Afternoon blaze is fought for five hours and firefighters save a second barn and brick building, both adjacent to the burning structure. Sparks ignite a pasture behind the barn, burning about an acre. Firemen use 600 feet of hose and operate the pump(s) for 9 hours. (November 24, 1949) no, rt25nov49, rfd


Organized. Chartered as Western Boulevard Rural Fire Department, Inc. Ten members of the Western Boulevard Exchange Club sign the Charter. After application is accepted by Secretary of State, temporary officers are elected. They decide to initiate a membership campaign on a basis of $10.00 for property owners and $5.00 for property renters. (January 28, 1957) ar

Public meeting is called after sufficient interest is generated in organizing a fire department. All interested citizens are invited. Approximately 150 people attend. By-laws are adopted and the community is divided into four districts for the purpose of electing directors. Three directors are to be elected from each district at a subsequent meeting of the membership. (March 15, 1957) ar

Second meeting is held and directors are elected as follows:

1st District 2nd District 3rd District 4th District
Woodrow Cox - 3 years John Allen - 3 years Dr. Henry Garren - 3 years J. A. Holleman - 3 years
W. M. Black - 2 years Lewis Bulwinkle - 2 years C. M. Godwin - 2 years Dale Graham - 2 years
Alexander Goode - 1 year Fred Shugart - 1 year R. V. Liles - 1 year I. O. Schuab - 1 Year

Mr. Liles later resigns, finding his work does not permit his attending regular meetings. Per by-laws, remaining directors subsequently appoint Henry Garrison to fill the expired term. (April 15, 1957)ar

Board of directors elects officers as follows:

  • Woodrow Cox, President
  • Dale Graham, Vice-President
  • I. O. Schaub, Secretary Treasurer (Spring 1957)ar

J. A. Holleman appointed first Fire Chief. Board of Directors instructs him to investigate the kind of firefighting equipment needed and to "secure prices on such equipment." Chief Holleman soon learns that much of "main equipment" need is custom-made and takes three to four months for delivery after an order is placed. (Spring 1957)ar

Apparatus demonstration: Representative of the American Fire Apparatus Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, visits community with "demonstrator" pumper priced at $15,000. Since the apparatus has been used for a short time, the truck is offered to the Board at $14,000. (late May, 1957)ar

Chief Holleman and Secretary Schaub visit five rural fire departments in Wake County and inspect their equipment, each of which cost less than $14,000. However, none of the fire engines has as "many desirable features for efficient fire fighting" as the American apparatus. The Board is also advised by the Raleigh Fire Chief and "other experienced fire fighters" to get "good, modern, up to date equipment," but do not recommend any specific manufacturer. (May-June, 1957)ar

Apparatus purchases:

  • Board votes to purchase the demonstrator pumper, paying $5,000 down and the remainder of $9,000 in "four equal installments at six-percent interest." (May-June, 1957)ar

  • Board attempts to obtain firefighting equipment from Government surplus, but finds it "practically impossible." Two oil tankers, however, are purchased as surplus property for $125.00. Firefighters combine parts from the two and, with donations from interested people, construct a 2,000 gallon tanker "with a cash expenditure of less than $200.00." (May-June 1957)ar

  • Board also obtains a "Jeep" from surplus property for $125.00. A "portable gasoline mobile pump" is added later that year. (May-June 1957)ar

Temporary fire station is located at Pearson's Esso service station, 5201 Western Boulevard, the use of which is loaned by Mr. Pearson. (May-June 1957)ar

Permanent fire station is located in an "old barbecue shed" at southeast corner of Western Boulevard and Powell Drive, opposite the Esso station. It's provided loaned "rent free" by "Mr. Swain of 'Chicken House' fame," though firefighters must clean and repair the building. With "generous donations of material" from both citizens and businesses, an "insulated, heated fire house" is completed for just over $200.00. The Cary Fire Department lends the siren. (May-June 1957)ar

Fire department qualifies for $100.00 monthly contribution from Wake County Board of Commissioners for rural fire departments. (July 1, 1957)ar

Apparatus delivery: 1957? Chevy/American pumper. Cost $15,000. (August, 1957) no28aug57

Fire department has 514 members and some 30 firefighters. (August 28, 1958) no28aug58

Fire department has approximately 1,500 homes and businesses in district. By end of the year, 596 members have joined, paying $6,405.00 in membership dues. (December 31, 1957)ar


Fire department meets minimum requirements of NC Fire Insurance Rating Bureau and expects shortly a reduction of 60 cents per $1,000 of insurance on dwellings and a "greater percentage reduction" on "business establishments. (January 27, 1958)ar

Flames sweep tin cattle barn at State Fairgrounds. Workers preparing the opening of fair assist fire department. Raleigh Fire Department also responds. Fueled by 1,500 bales of straw inside the building, blaze takes two hours to control.. (October 10, 1958)

1958, two-way radios installed on all three vehicles. wcfa

1958, fire department acquires new Jeep. wcfa

1958, fire department roster includes:

  • Bruce Brundage
  • Harold Crumpler
  • Fred Shugart
  • Bob Massingill
  • Tyree Watkins
  • John Twachtman
  • Robert Giddens
  • Preston Reid
  • Douglas Holland
  • Jake Wilson
  • C. A. Payne
  • Harold Morris
  • Fred Reigher
  • C. M. Godwin
  • Judson Wilkins
  • N. C. "Dick" Massengill
  • Thomas Avery
  • Sam Williams
  • W. T. Pearson
  • Skip Fox
  • Alex Russell
  • I. O. Schaub Jr.
  • Dale Graham
  • Rex Mann
  • William Dupree
  • Fred Burke
  • Edmon Johnson
  • Bob Muse
  • I. E. Hendrick
  • Henry Wilder
  • J. A. Holleman
  • Biff Abbot
  • Henry Garrison
  • J. A. Hewitt
  • C. R. Weathers


1960, City of Raleigh annexes 600 of 760 members. Board of Directors later votes to disband the fire department. (April 1, 1960)

Select Western Boulevard Fire Department equipment is designated Civil Defense surplus and is later transferred to newly formed Swift Creek Fire Department, including a brush truck and a Jeep. The latter is equipped with a two-way radio for use by the fire chief.scfd


Fire department relocates and reforms as Fairground Rural Fire Department. (February 23, 1961) sos

Fire Chiefs

See Wake County Fire Chiefs (pdf).


See Wake County apparatus register (pdf).


Raleigh Fire Museum photo albums.


  • ar 1957 Western Boulevard Fire Department Annual Report
  • cfd Cary Fire Department records
  • dah NC Department of Archives and History
  • fdr Fire department records
  • oh Oral history
  • rt Raleigh Times
  • sos NC Department of the Secretary of State.
  • wcfa Wake County Firemen's Association minutes, May 13, 1958

Last updated: September 28, 2016


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