Yrac Fire Department (1961-1998)


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


  • Part I - Research from 2004
  • Part II - More History
  • Links and Sources
  • Family Tree - JPG | PDF

Part I - Research from 2004


1922, Cary Fire Department formed. See timeline

1958, Wake County Board of Commissioners approves redefining and renaming of Cary Rural Fire District" to "Yrac Rural Fire District." (November 3, 1958)fdr


1961, members of Cary Rural Fire Department meet at Cary Town Hall and appoint committee to investigate continued fire protection for rural residents. (September 13, 1961)fdr

1961, committee's report and recommendations made at community meeting at Cary Senior High School auditorium. (November 9, 1961)fdr

1961, pledge requests sent to members of community. Initial contribution of $25.00 is suggested. (November 20, 1961)fdr

1961, organized by former Cary Fire Department volunteers. Chartered as Cary Rural Fire Department, Inc. (December 1, 1961)

1961, first Fire Chief is Jackie Hunter. Willie Crumpler is Assistant Chief.fdr

1961, first fire station is rented garage behind Cricket's Service Station at corner Cedar and Ward streets, present site of an auto parts store. Address in 1963 phone book of service station is 421 E. Chatham Street. Rent is $50.00 per month.fdr

1961, first Board of Directors comprised of steering committee appointed "to bring about the setting up" of the fire department.fdr

1962, fire department changes name to Yrac Rural Fire Department, Inc. (January 1962)fdr

1962, apparatus delivery: 1961 Chevrolet/American LaFrance pumper, 750/500, two-stage pump, registration #1-1-8849. Cost $13,555.55. (January 20, 1962) fdr

1962, brush fire on railroad right-of-way property. Superintendent of Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company billed for $50.00 (April 25, 1962) fdr

1962, first annual community meeting held at 8:00 p.m. at Cary Senior High School auditorium. Nine-member Board of Directors elected. New fire truck displayed. (May 12, 1962) fdr

1962, fire department sponsors 10th Annual Cary Fireman's Day. Department is "wholly responsible for putting on Fireman's Day this year" reports The Raleigh Times, though "municipal fire department members" participate individually and the town enters "its units in the parade." Proceeds, however, "go to the new department." Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. Street dance is held from 8 to 12 p.m. "at the Winn-Dixie parking lot." Prizes given away include "a Hereford steer, boys and girls bicycles and other items donated by local merchants." A grandstand "for special guests" is set up "in front of the Baptist Church" and Buck Sloan serves as announcer (May 1962) rt

1962, description of boundaries:

  • beginning at the junction of NC Highway 54 and Trinity Road;
  • thence in a southerly direction with the center of Trinity Road to the Seaboard & Southern Railroad;
  • thence in an easterly direction with the Seaboard & Southern Railroad to Bashford Road;
  • thence in a southeasterly direction with Bashford Road to the Raleigh City limits and including an area 200 feet northeast of Bashford Road;
  • thence in a southwesterly direction with the Raleigh City limits and Buck Jones Road to the intersection with Macedonia Road excluding property on Buck Jones Road;
  • thence in a southwesterly direction to a point on Kildaire Road, .2 miles north of the intersection of Kildaire Road and New US 1 bypass;
  • thence in a northwesterly direction to a point of US Highway #1, midway between the Weight Stations owned and maintained by the NC Highway and Public Works Commission and being at the intersection of the HIPEX FIRE DISTRICT;
  • thence in a northerly direction to a point on Green Level Road at the bridge over a branch of Crabtree Creek about 1.7 miles west of the intersection of Green Level Road and Old Apex Road;
  • thence in a northeasterly direction to a point on Highway 54 and Evans Road;
  • thence continuing in the same northeasterly direction to a point on Black Creek (tributary of Crabtree Creek);
  • thence in a northerly direction to a point on Reedy Creek Road; 0.8 miles northwest of its intersection with Road 1654;
  • thence in an easterly direction to a point on Harris Road about 0.4 miles north of its intersection with Road #16541;
  • thence in a southeasterly direction to a point on Road #1654 at the boundary of Umstead State Park; thence in a southerly direction to the point of beginning, excluding the area within the corporate limits of Cary, North Carolina. (June 26, 1962) fdr

House fire at 40 Bashford Road. Resident billed on November 1, 1962 for "2 trucks for 2 hours... $100.00." (October 15, 1962)fdr

1962, apparatus placed in service: 1952 Reo tanker, 100/1000, converted from ex-military 6x6.fdr

1963, second annual community held at 8:00 p.m. at Cary Senior High School auditorium. (May 7, 1963)fdr

1963, Green Hope Elementary School on Highway 55 near Carpenter gutted.  Fire reported about 1 a.m. Responding departments are Apex, Morrisville, and Yrac. Damage is estimated at $400,00 for the 172-pupil school. Arson is suspected due to suspicious car seen minutes before fire is reported (August 15, 1963) no

1964, reporting on a fire tax issue, the November 25 edition of The Raleigh Times reports that the fire department has 24 volunteers, three trucks, and is headquartered "in a rented building on Cedar Street."

1965, preliminary drawing for fire station presented. Drawing by Holston Steel Structures, Inc., Bristol, Tenn.-VA ("The Biggest Building For The Littlest Money The Quickest.") (July 9, 1965)fdr

1965, at meeting of Board of Directors, committee elected to contact Cary Branch of Bank of Fuquay, for loan of $12,000 to construct new fire station on lot recently purchased on East Durham Road, Cary. (July 27, 1965)fdr

1966, fire department sponsors 14th Annual Cary Fireman's Day (May 7, 1966)

1966, new fire station constructed at 325 E. Durham Road, on land donated by M. E. Sutton. (Spring 1966)

1966, fire department moves into new station. (May 1966)

1966, Fire Chief is Ronnie Stevens.fdr

1969, annual meeting held at fire station at 7:30 p.m. Three members to be elected to Board of Directors. Nominated are Charles Gardner (second term), Bill Hyatt (second term), R.L. Wolfe, and Raymond Sparrow. (May 20, 1969) fdr

1969, memo written noting decision at November meeting of Fire Chief's council to comply with FCC rules when using radios. Main rule requiring compliance is giving call letters of each base station when ending transmission of fire call or test. Also noted is that some radios on cars or possibly base stations are left so children can turn them on to play with. Mobile radios should be wired through the ignition switch so they can only be used when the key is turned. (May 20, 1969) fdr


1970, apparatus delivery: 1969 Chevrolet/American tanker, 300/1200. Placed in service prior to May 19, 1970 annual meeting. fdr

1970, annual meeting of Cary Rural Fire Department held at Cary Rural Fire Station at 7:30 p.m. Three people in district to be elected to serve Board of Directors for three-year terms. Nominated are Charles Fox, Sr. (second term), A. P. Valotta (second term), and R. S. "Dad" Dunham. To call fire department, the number is 828-3443. This is Central Station in Raleigh and they can set off the sirens at the Cary Rural Fire Station by radio. (May 19, 1970) fdr

1970, tax rate reduced by two cents. Occurs prior to May 18, 1971 annual meeting.fdr

1971, annual meeting of Cary Rural Fire Department held at Cary Rural Fire Station at 7:30 p.m. Three people in district to be elected to serve Board of Directors for three-year terms. Nominated are James Atkins, W. A. Jones, and W. A. Brown. Firefighters have contributed $1,200 toward a brush truck, hoped to be in operation within next two months. More than half of fire department alarms are grass and brush fires. (May 18, 1971) fdr

1971, J. P. (Jack) Hunter is Fire Chief and W. E. Edwards is Assistant Chief. (May 1971)

1972, apparatus delivery: 1971 Chevy/Darley brush truck, 30/200. In service and paid for by time of May 16, 1972 annual meeting. fdr

1972, annual meeting of Cary Rural Fire Department held at Cary Rural Fire Station at 7:30 p.m. Three people in district to be elected to serve Board of Directors for three-year terms. Nominated are Daniel O. Rhew, Macon Harris, and James R. Gates. (May 16, 1972) fdr

1973, fire calls for fiscal year 1972-73

  • Average responding time in minutes... 3.83 minutes
  • Average number of daytime men responding... 10.00 men
  • Average number of nighttime men responding... 17.77 men
  • Average cost of each alarm... $220.81 (June 30, 1973) fdr
1974, annual meeting of Cary Rural Fire Department held at Cary Rural Fire Station. Three people in district to be elected to serve Board of Directors for three-year terms. Nominated are Bill Jones (second term), Clyde Keisler, and Haywood Atkins. (May 21, 1974) fdr

1974, meeting note: "Do not drive over ten miles per hour speed limit at any time." (October 24, 1974) fdr

1974, Christmas banquet held at McGregor Downs. Cost $6.25 per person. (December 19, 1974) fdr

1975, meeting note. Vote on By-Law revision "active members of the fire company shall be limited to thirty-five (35), no including lifetime memberships (whether active or inactive)." (January 9, 1975) fdr

1975, meeting note. Six district signs ordered at $9.30 each. Locations:

  • Highway 54
  • Bashford Road
  • Kildaire Farm Road
  • Harrison Avenue at Town limits
  • Helmold Ford/Cary Mac.
  • Spare. (January 15, 1975) fdr
1975, annual meeting of Cary Rural Fire Department held at Cary Fire Department Headquarters. In addition to regular annual elections, special business includes:
  • Charter Amendment which (a.) changes name to YRAC Rural Fire Department, Inc. and (b.) defines voting membership as including taxpayers within district, and permitting active firemen, honorary and other, voting memberships
  • Chief and Assistant Chief shall be automatic members of Board of Directors and three (3) firemen members shall be elected to Board of Directors
  • By-Law Adoptions to accommodate charter amendment provisions, copy of which is on file with Chief and President, and available on request
  • approval of $37,500 loan to acquire fire truck. Ford 906 pumper-tanker is in South Boston , VA, and should be ready for delivery shortly. (May 20, 1975) fdr
1975, fire calls for fiscal year 1974-75:
  • Grass and woods - 25
  • Mutual aid - 18
  • Motor vehicles - 18
  • Structures - 14
  • Controlled burning - 8
  • Rescue/search - 2
  • Smoke investigations - 2
  • False alarms - 2
  • Trash - 1
  • Stand-by 2
  • Aircraft - 1
  • Total - 93 (June 30, 1975) fdr
1975, apparatus delivery, 1975 Ford C/Bean/FMC, 750/1000. Ordered in November and costs $42,500. Painted lime-yellow and first in county with that color, outside of airport rigs. (Summer 1975) ct, oh

1975, Fire Chief is David Weaver. Howard Finch is Assistant Chief. (August 1975)

1975, meeting note. Chief Weaver reports old Army tanker sold for $2,000. (September 16, 1975) fdr

1976, meeting note. Chief Weaver reports that grading, yard, and gravel drive in rear of building is result of fireman Alex Cooper. Alex obtained over 180 tons of gravel without charge and got members to provide tractors and labor free. (February 17, 1976) fdr

1976, brush fire burns 40 to 50 acres of land "between NC 54 and Hillsborough Road from the WPTF towers to Wayside Furniture" reports the March 3 edition of The Cary News. Nine fire departments assist Cary Rural Fire Department while Cary City and Apex respond to another woods fire "in the 900 block of West Chatham Street." Cary Rural Fire Department Fire Chief David Weaver believes first fire was actually "five different fires which were ignited by sparks from the brakes of a passing train." (March 3, 1976)

1976, meeting note. Motion made in meeting to take $1,200 out of savings account and combine with proceeds of 1976 Fireman's Day not to exceed a total of $3,000 to purchase a new Chief's car. Old Unit 100 to be sold and money placed back in Social Fund. Passed 19 to 1. (May 6, 1976) fdr

1976, total of 45 meetings from July 1, 1975 to May 13, 1976: fdr

Drill meetings with instruction 32
Business meetings 3
Clean-up drills 6
Social events 4
Drill hours 483.5
Hours outside schools 280.0
Hours clean up 222.5
Total Hours 1986.0
Average men per drill 22
Average hours per man 90.3

1976, annual meeting of YRAC Rural Fire Department held at YRAC Fire Department Headquarters at 8:00 p.m. New tanker recently placed in service. Cost of truck and equipment $43,500. There are 32 active firemen and 5 lifetime members. During the year, 9 members resigned and 5 new members were added. (May 18, 1976) fdr

1976, meeting note: "Do not overload portable generator. Cost $45 to repair." (October 21, 1976) fdr

1976, Board of Directors meeting. Chief reports that all trucks are equipped to run on regular gas. Cary Oil Company is to fill tank each month on the 20th. (November 16, 1976) fdr

1976, Christmas party at Jordan Hall. Starts at 6:30 p.m. Food is catered by Charlie Brown. Special guests are R.S. Dunham and wife, Haywood Lane and wife, and Lib Leggett and husband. (December 9, 1976) fdr

1977, Board of Directors meeting. Chief Dennis White reports 15 alarms since January 18, 1977: fdr

  • Alarm #35 - January 19 - Farrow Cabinet Shop, Evans Road, 4 units, 23 firemen, $25,000 loss
  • Alarm #36 - January 20 - Gas leak at Mendenhall's Trailer Park
  • Alarm #37 - January 20 - Recall to Evans Road, Farrow Cabinet Shop
  • Alarm #38 - January 20 - Recall to Evans Road, Farrow Cabinet Shop
  • Alarm #39 - January 20 - Woods and grass fire, Pierce Pond, Kildaire Road
  • Alarm #40 - January 24 - Highway 54, east of Cary, auto wreck
  • Alarm #41 - January 29 - Reedy Creek Road and East Chatham Street, gas leak
  • Alarm #42 - January 30 - J.L. Higgins, railroad grass fire
  • Alarm #43 - January 31 - Missing person
  • Alarm #44 - February 5 - Beltline and Hillsdale, assistance to Cary and Swift Creek, grass and woods fire
  • Alarm #45 - February 5 - Captain Ron's Landing, grass and trash fire
  • Alarm #46 - February 5 - Captain Ron's Landing, recall
  • Alarm #47 - February 7 - Off Highway 40, mobile home, total loss
  • Alarm #48 - February 12 - 912 Trinity Road, Fairground district, smoke
  • Alarm #49 - February 13 - 1422 Walnut Street, Mrs. Dickerson, chimney fire
  • Alarm #50 - February 14 - Imperial Road, trash can fire

1977, meeting note: "Trucks do not go out of firehouse unless alarm is activated or request[ed] by officer]. (March 31, 1977) fdr

1977, Board of Directors meeting. "Siren located at Town Fire Station has been removed. Chief is checking with CP&L on getting 3 phase power to run siren at YRAC station. Southern Bell loop has been canceled." M. Denning, giving Chief's report, also notes "one fourth of total time fighting fires is used on railroad grass fires." (August 16, 1977) fdr

1977, Board of Directors meeting note: "Location has been found on Cary Street for the big siren. Chief to contact Railroad about placing wire on Railroad poles." (November 19, 1977) fdr

1978, meeting note: "Effective on this date, no active fireman shall be active member of any other volunteer emergency service organization." (February 8, 1978) fdr

1978, Board of Directors meeting. Chief reports

  • fire calls #45-63
  • eleven grass and woods
  • two structure
  • one smoke investigation
  • two 10-50 PI
  • two mutual aid-- one Cary and one Apex
  • one search (plane crash) (February 21, 1978) fdr

1979, apparatus snapshot and notes, from March 26, 1979, county apparatus inventory:

  • 1961 Chevrolet/American LaFrance pumper, 750/500, no foam
  • 1975 Ford/Bean pumper-tanker, 750/1000, plus ARFF foam
  • 1969 Chevrolet tanker, 300/1200, with quick dump, Gorman-Rupp pump
  • 1971 Chevrolet/Darley brush truck, 200 gallons
  • Plus portable generator and lights, no extrication equipment, no K-12.
  • Plus 1500 gallon portable tank.
  • Plus give backpacks equipped for search teams. Each includes two hand lights, one Freon-powered air horn, three highway flares, 100 feet half-inch rope, one camp axe, one roll of surveyor's tape, compass, shock blanket, and other first aid equipment.
  • Plus aerial photographs of western and northwestern Wake County.

1979, apparatus bid: Atlas Steel Products Company, 1818 New Hope Church Road, Raleigh, submits bid for 1500 gallon tanker with a 450 GPM pump and mounted on 1979 Chevrolet C-70 chassis. Cost $34,657.00.  (May 17, 1979) fdr

1979, meeting note. New apparatus numbering system adopted. (September 1, 1979) fdr

1979, Board of Directors meeting note. 1969 Chevrolet tanker sold for $11,000.00. (September 18, 1979) fdr


1980, Fire Chief's car raffled off. (March 15, 1980) fdr

1980, training conducted at Raleigh-Durham airport burn pit, 9:00 a.m. (April 4, 1980) fdr

1980, annual meeting. Fire Chief reports following information, covering July 1, 1979 through April 30, 1980:

  • 1969 Chevy/American tanker, old Unit 2, sold to West Hoke VFD
  • 1979 Chevy/Atlas tanker, 1500 gallons, purchased for $34,227.00
  • replaced tank on brush truck
  • changed all threaded connections to National Standard Thread to conform to Town of Cary and neighboring departments. (May 20, 1980) fdr

1980, Christmas banquet. Invitation reads:

To: All Firemen and Directors
Date: Thursday, December 11, 1980
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Beef Barn
815 W. Chatham Street
Bring your wives and girlfriends to our 1980 Christmas Banquet.
The meal will consist of your choice of a 9 oz. Ribeye steak or
Prime Rib with potato, salad bar, bread, tea or coffee. Follow-
ing dinner we will have a short meeting and awards presentation.
Fire meeting for that night will
be canceled.

1980, Chevrolet Suburban purchased for Fire Chief. oh

1980, Mickey Denning is Fire Chief oh

1981, fire calls from July 1980 to April 1981:

  • Woods/Grass/Trash - 35
  • 10-50 PI - 15
  • Mutual Aid - 12
  • 10-22'd (out of district) - 2
  • Structure - 11
  • Auto Fires - 4
  • False Alarms - 8
  • Investigations - 6
  • Chimney - 6
  • Equipment Fires (Railcar, mowing, AC) - 5 (May 1, 1981)fdr

1981, Walter Bowles becomes Fire Chief oh

1982, Board of Directors meeting. Old business excerpt: Chief Zglinski reports that department has used $174.69 of air for SCBA bottles during time of July through December. He proposes that department leases four bottles on five-year lease and fill them in Raleigh at a considerable savings. Motion is made to purchase the bottles, which is carried. (January 19, 1982) fdr

1982, Board of Directors meeting. Chief Kennedy presents some improvements the firemen have suggested for the building. These include paneling the walls, dropping the ceiling to 8 feet with a suspended ceiling, installing an electric heat pump, adding duct work, carpeting the meeting room, building a desk along the bay station wall, and putting curtains in the windows. The firemen want to do the work. Member suggests a committee of firemen be formed to get prices on the improvements and present them to the Board for consideration. (November 16, 1982) fdr

1983, Wayne Kennedy becomes Fire Chief. oh

1983, Board of Directors meeting. The trucks are having various problems. The clutch on truck 297 is wearing out again and the department has been advised to contact Chevy about it. Haywood Atkins volunteers to look into it. Truck 291 had the left rear brake lock up and it is being repaired at Williams Automotive in Garner. Truck 292 has been taken to Jack Slagle's in South Boston, Virginia, for repair on the pump section and leaking values. No costs have been provided for these repairs. The quick dump needs welding to prevent leakage and Slagle would not warranty it, so the work will be done locally. Truck 297 has tank damage from the dry cleaning fluid that was cleaned up with a mutual aid call with Cary on the chemical spill. Susan Winstead will bill the company responsible for the spill for $819 plus UPS charges to replace the tank. (March 15, 1983) fdr

1985, annual meeting held at Yrac fire station at 7:30 p.m. Chief Matthews reports that there have been 106 fire calls from July 1, 1984 to May 20, 1985:

  • 18 structure fires
  • 35 woods fires
  • 13 car fires
  • 17 vehicle accidents
  • 23 mutual aid calls

Chief Matthews also reports

  • fire department has hired a mechanic to maintain the trucks, to cut down on truck repairs and expenses
  • fire department has been assigned a role by the County in conjunction with the nuclear power plant to respond mutual aid with Apex for notifying and evacuating residents in case of disaster. (May 21, 1985) fdr

1985 (?), apparatus delivery: 1985 Simon-Duplex/Grumman Firecat F-10 pumper/tanker, 1000/1000. Placed in service as Engine 292.

1986, Board of Directors meeting. Chief Matthews reports that the Shallot Fire Department has paid a deposit of $500 for purchase of the fire truck with a sale price of $32,500. They will pay the balance on January 30th when they pick up the truck. The new truck could be delivered at the end of February. It is his feeling that mutual aid is working well so the department being without the truck for at least a month will not effect the department's performance. (January 21, 1986) fdr

1989 (?), apparatus delivery: 1989 Simon-Duplex/Grumman Firecat F-10 pumper/tanker, 1000/1000. Placed in service as Engine 293.


1991 (?), apparatus delivery: 1991 Simon-Duplex/Grumman Firecat F-10 pumper/tanker, 1000/1000. Placed in service as Engine 297.

1998, merges with Fairgrounds Fire Department to create Western Wake Fire Department. (July 1, 1998)

Application For Membership


NAME: _________________________________________________________
ADDRESS: ______________________________________________________
AGE: ______________ TELEPHONE: _______________________________
BUSINESS ADDRESS: _____________________________________________
TYPE OF BUSINESS: _____________________________________________
BUSINESS HOURS: _______________________________________________
OCCUPATION: ___________________________________________________
SECONDARY SKILLS: _____________________________________________
PHYSICAL CONDITION: _____________ PHYSICIAN: _________________
HOW LONG AT PRESENT RESIDENCE: ________________________________
EXPLAIN: ______________________________________________________
ACTIVITIES PER WEEK? ________________
HOBBIES: ______________________________________________________
BOX 274

More History

Yrac Remembered

May 29, 2008 - Source

The pending planned closing of Western Wake Station 2 on July 1 (egad) is also an opportunity to remember the Yrac Fire Department, which originally constructed and occupied the facility from 1966 to 1998. They then merged with Fairgrounds Fire Department, which itself was a reborn version of the Western Boulevard Fire Department, which disbanded after city annexations. Let's begin our Yrac tribute with an open thread for personal memories. Post 'em if you got 'em. I'll add historical bits as we go.


First time I saw the Yrac station was around 1968. My father and I were on an ‘out and about’ trip and as we passed by the ’62 Chevy/ALF was outside and a member was inside waxing his car. We stopped by and it turned out him and my dad knew each other. While we were there they got a call for a woods fire at the old Kildaire Farms (yes, there WAS a Kildaire Farm). They rolled all three trucks they had at the time- the ALF, the deuce-and-a-half tanker, and another tanker that I think was on a late 40’s-early 50s Ford chassis, with a rectangular tank (they sold that truck later to Kildaire Farms- I remember seeing the tank sitting on blocks in the mid 70s).

By the time I became a member in 1979, Mickey Denning was chief and Howard Finch was assistant chief. The fleet included the yellow truck pictured above, the ’62 ALF, the ’71 Chevy brush truck, and a tanker that I am pretty sure was on a ’69-‘72 Chevy chassis (latered sold to a department in Hoke County). They had a sizable district then, but it was getting smaller.

DJ - 05/29/08 - 10:00


What’s the origin of Yrac?

The origin of the name is easy, it’s Cary spelled backwards.

The origin of the fire district dates to 1958, when the Cary rural fire district was renamed as the Yrac rural fire district. That’s when the first rural fire insurance districts were forming in Wake County. Since a Cary fire district already existed for the town proper, the rural district was renamed to something similar. This happened all over Wake County, such as the Apex fire district in town, and the Hipex fire district out of town.

The origin of the fire department is a longer story, starting in 1922 with the town’s first fire department. The volunteer firemen operated a Ford/ALF Model T chemical car purchased by the town. This method of operation was used in several Wake County towns, with volunteers starting up with town-funded equipment.

In 1954, the town’s volunteer firefighters incorporated as the Cary Rural Fire Department, Inc. Two years later, Boyd Wilson Morris became the first paid Cary firefighter. The town continued to provide funding, as did the volunteers, through highly successful Fireman’s Days and other fund-raisers. The CRFD also received money from the county. The department was soon equipped with a pair of stations, and a rescue truck and two tankers, in addition to their two pumpers.

By the end of the decade, the town was increasingly interested in greater control of the fire department. In 1960, Mayor Waldo Rood suggested the town establish its own department, which would be a volunteer group directed by a paid chief. Said chief would be both fire and police chief. The town board adopted a resolution supporting the Mayor, but both firefighters and townspeople disagreed with the proposal. So the issue was sent to committee.

One point was rural protection. More than two-thirds of their calls were to the rural area, and the town was paying over 85% of the cost. And when firefighters were out on a rural call, there were few left in town for municipal calls. So the Mayor’s proposal included a recommended restriction on the town fire department volunteers, don’t answer calls out of town except as mutual aid to other towns, and don’t volunteer with other departments.

(The CRFD had been providing fire protection to a rural area as wide as Morrisville to Method. That was shrinking, though, with MFD forming, and soon Western Boulevard, and later Raleigh covering the west side of Raleigh.)

On September 15, 1960, the town’s fire department split into two entities. CFD, newly created, serving the town, and CRFD serving unincorporated areas. Pete Murdoch was appointed Chief of both departments, with Paul Matthews as Asst. Chief of CFD, and Willie Crumpler as Asst. Chief of CRFD.

This split department didn’t last. The Cary Rural Fire Department was reorganized on December 1, 1961. Or maybe it resumed operation, just changing the address of the corporation. The elected officers and directors were Clyde Keisler (President), Ed Sturdivant (Vice President), M. P. Harris (Secretary), J. M. Maxwell (Treasurer), and Haywood Atkins, R. S. Linville, and W. T. Cooper (Directors).

The first Chief was Jackie Hunter, and the department operated out of Cary Fire Station 2 on Cedar Street. They soon commenced operation out of a rented garage ($50 per month) behind Cricket’s Service Station at the corner of Cedar and Ward streets. The lot is presently occupied by an auto parts store.

They had two vehicles; an International tanker (1,500/300) and a Ford F-8 truck. Plus, a mess of equipment, including hose, nozzles, a couple of ladders, a portable pump, and two coats and four helmets. The rest of their tangible personal property, now used by CFD, had been given to the town. A lot and its contents had also been given to the town, likely Station 2 on Cedar Street.

In 1962, CRFD changed their name to Yrac Rural Fire Department, Inc. They held their first annual community meeting at Cary Senior High School in May 1962. They also sponsored the 10th Annual Cary Fireman’s Day, wholly handling organization of the event that included participation of CFD. They also received all of the funds raised at the event. In future years, fundraising benefited both CFD and YRFD, with proceeds split between the two.

Within a year, YRFD had 24 volunteers, a new Chevy/American LaFrance pumper, and an additional 1,000-gallon tanker. Residents in the district were requested to pay membership fees, along the lines of $10 per home. Business establishments received pro-rated fees. Paid members were not charged for fire calls. Non-members were charged a $50.00 minimum. Fires were reported by calling HO-7-9200 or VA-8-3443.

YRFD answered 29 calls its first year.

Legeros - 05/29/08 - 20:24


My beginnings in the fire service were at YRAC. I saw them at a working fire (back then it was code 2 condition red) one night (around 1991) and stopped to check out the commotion. I ended up knowing several of the guys and was eventually invited to stop by the station and “check it out”. I thought the whole idea was pretty cool and signed up. Although I havent been around East Durham Rd in several years now I will never forget the sound of the tones dropping and the siren winding up! I also remember thinking that 299 was the best looking (and working) brush truck in the county.

firedriver - 05/29/08 - 21:56


YRAC was my first official affiliation in public safety back in May 1986. What a great way to spend my first summer home from college. I learned a lot of lessons about firefighting, especially real basics, because we trained hard every Thursday night. We had to as I think we only ran like 60 calls that year. Every week we either flowed water, laddered buildings, or trained on SCBA (old SurvivAir with the low-pressure hose). I’ll never forget my first ride in a jump seat on 292 (the new one) or riding tailboard down Maynard Rd on 291 dodging bugs coming over the roof of the cab (it sucked being 6’5” tall). Before I moved East in 1994, it was clear that times were changing and that the YRAC we all had loved was indeed not going to be around forever.

Thanks to those back then that took the time to teach newbies like me the basics that have kept us safe through all these years – Sam Matthews, Craig Zglinski, Matt Kuyla, Tim Bannister, Steve and Phil Richards, Tim Murphy, and the rest that I’m forgetting.

I hate to see it end, but I’ll be there to grab a brick or two one day when they eventually raise the building. I’ll always have my original 660 helmet as a memento, too.

Olson - 05/29/08 - 23:28

YRAC was the first fire station I was a part of. I remember walking down the railroad tracks when I was young and seeing one of the guy’s mowing the grass on that crazy hill. I told my buddy that one day I would be a fire fighter out there cutting the grass and washing the trucks. As soon as I was able to I joined YRAC, I was still in High School. My first ride on a apparatus was 299.(firedriver, I agree with you, It was the best Brush truck in the county!!) My stay was not long about a year, I joined the Army, but when I left the Army in 2003 I went right back up and got back on the department. Things are a lot different now but I still keep in contact with the guys who are no longer on YRAC and I still look up to them just like I did back in the day. It’s a little weird but I can still walk into the station and remember the smell the same way I did when I was younger. It always brings back memories. The nick name… Yea, that’s from the guys at YRAC and it stuck ever since.
Kermit - 05/29/08 - 23:37

Oh, how I remember the training on Thursdays. Olson’s right, we ALWAYS did something- some sort of practical drill. And many times we were timed- how fast we could get the SCBA on out of the box (they were the old Scott IIa’s at that time- we had a couple of the Survivairs), or how fast we could advance the 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 line from the time the pumper stopped. That is the kind of stuff you don’t see much of any more.

During the time I was there (1978-1985) we only had one of the traditional classes that was about fire cause determination taught by Calvin Beck. Some of the names mentioned by Olson came after I left, but in Sam & Jim Matthews, Craig Zglinski, Phil Richards, Howard Finch, Stanley Loren (I don’t know if I spelled that one right) and Mickey Denning (along with a couple of others who I can’t remember their names) I was fortunate enough to benefit from a wealth of real firefighting knowledge that I have not seen rivaled anywhere since.

My first tailboard ride was down Chatham Street going to a garage fire on the original 291 (it was Yrac Unit 1 then). My first fire truck ‘drive’ with lights and sirens was the original 292 (Yrac Unit 3 back then). It was terribly cold natured and the lifters were awfully noisy, but once it was warmed up it was a pretty good truck.

And I still have my MSA Topguard helmet with leather front that says ‘DRIVER’ and ‘YRAC’ on it, right beside by YRAC FIRE DEPT. car tag (thanks, Mike!), and my NC registration tag that says YRAC 12.

DJ - 05/30/08 - 09:38


Yrac members in 1971: Chief Jack Hunter, Asst. Chief W. E. Edwards, Captain Jerry Adams, Captain Ronnie Stevens, Lt. Lane Beamer, Lt. John Owen, and firemen Haywood Atkins. R. L. Austin, R. A. Austin, Allen Bates, Russell Booth, Alex Cooper, Howard Finch, W. E. Godwin, Joe Hodges, Lindsay Hodges, A. D. Hunter Jr., J. L. Matthews, R. L. Matthews, S. P. Pendergraph, “Big” John Ruth, T. S. Secrest Jr., R. L. Stevens, James W. Tew, Buddy Tucker, Seawell Turner, and Dennis White.

Legeros - 05/30/08 - 18:59


Yrac members in 1961: Chief Jack Hunter, Asst. Chief J. H. Crumpler, Training Captain E. G. Williams, Pumper Captain J. A. Dewar, First Lt. Bill Edwards, Second Lt. R. L. Stevens, Tanker Captain C. J. Duke, Truck #1 (pumper) personnel: J. A. Dewar (Captain), J. P. Matthews, Frank Turnipseed, R. L. Stevens, Bill Edwards, James Atkins, Robert Austin, Russell Jacobs, Pete Hodges, Alvin Humphries, Jerrall Spencer, Earl Williams. Truck #2 (tanker), C. J. Duke (Captain), Haywood Atkins, Charles Pendergraft, Frank Miller, Jimmy Senter, Russell Booth. Traffic: Bill Edwards (Lt.), Frank Miller, Alvin Humphries, Frank Turnipseed, Pete Hodges. Plus six committees with members: Membership, Building & Grounds, Equipment, Sickness, Social, and Election.

Legeros - 05/30/08 - 19:20


I volunteered with YRAC during my last few years of college: 1982-1985. What great memories and a great bunch of guys. I remember driving the Chevy 297 tanker for the first time and getting it stuck in the mud on the passenger side while backing up on a dirt road (at least I didn’t back it into a tree, Tim Bannister!!!)

Mark Clawson - 06/06/10 - 20:17

Bill of Sale, Yrac Rural Fire Department, 1962

May 2, 2012 - Source

This is a bill of sale from American Lafrance to the Yrac Rural Fire Department for "one (1) American LaFrance Chevrolet 750 GPM pump and hose car with 500 gallon tank." Purchase price $13,781.05. Includes $120 sales tax. Shipped on April 27, 1962. Method of delivery was "driven away."

[ Image ] 

Links and Sources

Fire Chiefs

See Wake County Fire Chiefs (pdf).


See Wake County apparatus register (pdf).


Raleigh Fire Museum photo albums.


  • cfd Cary Fire Department records
  • cn Cary News
  • fdr Fire department records
  • oh Oral history
  • rt Raleigh Times
  • sos NC Department of the Secretary of State
  • wcfa Wake County Firemen's Association records

Last updated: March 30, 2018


Search Mike Legeros

Spot an error on this page? Please let me know, just click my name below...

Copyright 2019 by Michael J. Legeros