Found in files. Photographed in August 2005, somewhere in Wilson, NC. Perhaps parked at a fire station, or at the police department? What other SBI armored response units are hidden around our state? See more special police vehicles as photographed by Legeros. Click to enlarge:
Question from a reader, what's the oldest (motorized) fire apparatus in North Carolina? Native trucks, that served in our state. From Facebook input and an excellent list at FDmaps.com, here's some of them. Presumed to be triple combinations (chemical engine, pumping engine, hose car) unless otherwise indicated:
- 1912 ALF - Washington
- 1914 ALF - Hickory, New Bern (fire museum)
- 1914 Ford Model T hose car – Chapel Hill
- 1914 Ford Model T - Elizabethtown
- 1916 ALF - Hamlet, Mt. Airy (in Mt. Airy museum)
- 1917 ALF – Fayetteville
- 1917 Brockway service truck - Elizabeth City (NC Transportation Museum)
- 1919 ALF – Goldsboro, Wilkesboro (ex-Winston-Salem)
- 1921 ALF - Chapel Hill (private owned), Gastonia, Louisburg, Mooresville
- 1922 ALF - Asheville (private owned, kept at Grove Park Inn), Lexington (NC Transportation Museum)
- 1922 Ford Model T combination chemical hose car – Southport
- 1923 ALF - Asheboro, Fayetteville (private owned), Statesville (private owned)
- 1923 ALF/Brockway - Kernersville, Mebane
- 1923 Reo - Edenton
- 1924 ALF - Ayden
- 1925 ALF - Brevard, Sanford
- 1926 ALF – Black Mountain, Mount Olive, Mt. Airy (in Mt. Airy museum), Raleigh, Waynesville
- 1927 ALF - Asheville
- 1927 Seagrave - Smithfield
- 1927 Seagrave combination service truck - New Bern (fire museum)
- 1928 ALF – Charlotte, Elizabeth City, Lillington
- 1928 Boyer - Forest City
- 1929 ALF - Plymouth, Wilson
- 1929 GMC/ALF - China Grove
That's Medic 93 in the foreground and Engine 16 and Squad 14 in the background, at a motor-vehicle accident with injuries on the inner lanes of the Beltline just past Glenwood Avenue. From last Friday,
December November 29. See more photos by Legeros, or click to enlarge:
Our friends at the Edenton Fire Department pass along this photo of their 1923 Reo fire engine, of which restoration was recently completed by members of the department. The project took about a year to complete, on and off. They did their own body work, with pain done by a body shop. Everything else was in-house. You can see some photos of the disassembled truck (and a couple vintage images) from Mr. Blogger's visit in May. And here's a prior posting about the history of Edenton's fire department, through their fire station locations. Thanks Josh! Click to enlarge:
Found via the FireNews.net on Twitter is this excellent Aram Boghosian photo from yesterday's Boston Globe. Was the scene of a rare eight-alarm fire in a century-old commercial building near Fort Point Channel. What are some of things you see in this photo? Read more about the fire, or see more of Adam's photos. Click to enlarge:
Aram Boghosian/Boston Globe photo
During recent updates to this
historical photo gallery
on the Raleigh Fire Museum site (more on that later), two pictures caught my
attention from October 7, 1958. They are News & Observer images that
depict an engine company performing a home inspection. Click to enlarge:
Look at the guy on the right. He's carrying a
shoulder-carried radio of some sort. Does this depict one of the department's
earliest portable radios? Quite possibly. Here's a closer view, as well as one
from a decade later, as shown
in a fire prevention display at North Hills Mall in 1969. Click to enlarge:
That's a Motorola "handie talkie FM radiophone," ably
described and pictured on this
Woodstock Museum page. Also called a
"lunchbox." VHF high-band radio with a whip antenna. Just about a foot long,
metal construction, with a hand-held microphone, and four batteries inside.
Controls for volume and squelch. Frequency for Raleigh's units were 154.37, same
as still used for simulcasting dispatch alerts. Here's what might be a
manual for the thing (PDF) as well as
(not shown below), found by my research cohort Chuk Gleason. Click
to slightly enlarge:
What's the history here?
The fire department's radio system was installed in 1955, with a base station in the dispatcher's office at Station 1 and mobile/portable units in apparatus and vehicles. Base station radios were added at the firehouses in 1957, and radio watch (from 0800 to 2300 hours) started on February 7, 1957. The next year, the Raleigh Fire Department began dispatching select rural fire departments in Wake County. The portable units were probably or certainly separate from a full, fixed mobile unit in each truck. Radio records support this conclusion, with a document from February 1960 listing three portable units.
How long were these used? When did handheld radios appear? And, most importantly, does anyone associated with the fire department still have one of these "lunchbox" radios in their possession? To be determined, to be continued! Radio guys and gearheads, please add your perspectives as desired.Raleigh Fire Department Radios - July 17, 1956
Found this this weekend, while researching the early portable radios used by the Raleigh Fire Department. (More on that later.) The fire department's mobile radio system was installed in 1955, with a base station in the dispatcher's office at Station 1. Two years later, base stations were placed in service at all fire stations. Radio watch was started on February 7, 1957. The hours were 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Here's a related post, showing a typed list that's dated circa 1957.
This document lists all engine and truck companies, as well as a number of support vehicles, such as a fire alarm truck and what's presumably the Fire Chief's vehicle, Car #100. The other cars were probably assigned to the Assistant Chiefs, and the members of the Fire Prevention Bureau. The other "trucks" probably included maintenance vehicles (or vehicle, maybe just one pick-up assigned to the shop), maybe the second unit of the rescue squad, and the reserve trucks. Click to enlarge:
Twenty-five years ago yesterday, local responders were jolted into action after an early morning tornado touched down in northwest Raleigh. The 1:00 a.m storm struck with virtually no warning, starting at Umstead Park. The funnel continued east and northeast, crossing Glenwood Avenue and striking and collapsing a K-Mart store. The nearby Raleigh fire station on Pleasant Valley was missed, though the Durham Highway fire station on Davis Circle was blown down.
The path continued in a north/northeastern tract, damaging and destroying apartment buildings and houses as far north as Mourning Dove Road off Six Forks Road. It continued into the county, and through much of the state, nearly reaching the Virginia border. In Raleigh, two people were killed and 102 others were injured. The tornado damaged or destroyed dozens of businesses and hundreds of homes.
The emergency response included some 225 Raleigh firefighters, with 12 engines, 2 truck companies, 2 rescues, three mini-pumpers, and other units. At least fifteen Wake County fire departments responded with dozens of personnel and numerous units. Five Durham County fire departments also responded. The EMS response numbered some two-dozen (or more) ambulances, from all of Wake County's rescue squads and EMS providers. Ambulances also responded from Durham, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, and Orange counties.
Here are a couple photos from News & Observer photographers, as well as some web links. They include two prior blog postings on the subject. Where are any photos from Legeros? He was working as a traffic reporter, on a split shift of 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (abouts) and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (abouts). Don't recall any pictures taken, but he wandered on foot through the staging/command area, and drove around the Leesville Road/Six Forks road areas, gawking like the rest of the world. The pine, the pine.
- North Raleigh Tornado - November 28, 1988 (fire/EMS response and more) (PDF)
- Raleigh Tornado Response Summary, 1988 (blog)
- Tornado Staging, November 28, 1988 (blog)
- New York Times/Associated Press article
- News & Observer retrospective
- Summary of Weather Event (NWS)
- Wikipedia entry
News & Observer photos
Good morning Raleigh. Was ours a working fire-free Thanksgiving Day in Raleigh/Wake County? Seem so. Hope everyone had a good holiday. Now let's hit the stores and the crowds, either for stuff buying or people watching. That's good entertainment there. Meanwhile, here's a trio of stories that caught my eye on the FirefighterNation/FireRescue Magazine Facebook page. That's one of my favorites for comments and discussions. Another is the Law Officer Facebook page, which really gets cooking with reader comments. Anyway, happy reading, happy Friday, happy holidays.
- Firefighter Invents Device to Stop Kitchen Fires - FireRescue Magazine story from January, about a firefighter-turned-inventor and his smoke alarm-sensing device that stops power to an electric stove. The thing is calibrated to the acoustic signature of smoke detectors. To operate, plug into outlet, and plug stove into the device. Will kitchen fires become a thing of the past? Could be.
- Reducing Tanker Crashes and Fatalities - FirefighterNation article about safe operation of tankers, in the context of a 2003 report from the USFA. Ten years later, tankers are still crashing and the causes remaining the same. And they account for more vehicle response-related fatalities than pumpers and ladders combined. Responding cold is one technique, and to the extent, the author notes, that some departments are equipping their equipment with all-amber warning lights and no sirens. Now there's an idea.
- Boston's Ladder Culture - Firefighter Basics posting from May, that answers the question "why does Boston throw so many ladders?" The answer is combination of "better to have and not need" in a general sense, and specific commentary about the streets and buildings and building access in Boston. With images from the great fire photographer Bill Noonan. How many ladders does your department throw?
Two alarms were struck last night in Cary, at a residential structure fire at 112 South Atley Lane. The fire was reported about 10:30 p.m. The two-story, wood-frame, three-family dwelling measured 3,232 square-feet. It was built in 1986. Heavy fire through the roof was reported by callers. A second alarm was requested
on arrival as units were en route. All occupants escaped without injury, and three pets were also saved.
The first alarm assignment was Engine 1, Engine 2, Ladder 1, Ladder 3, Rescue 1, Battalion 1, and Morrisville as auto-aid. The second-alarm assignment was Engine 4, Engine 3, Ladder 5, Battalion 2, and Car 3. Special called units were Engine 5 and Ladder 6 for relief, and Rescue 4 and Brush 9 for fire watch. Need EMS units, readers can you assit? Coverage during the fire included Western Wake Engine 191 at Station 1. This morning, Ladder 3, Brush 9, and Battalion 2 were on scene, assisting the Wake County fire investigator. See more photos by Legeros.
Thanksgiving at Station 5 - Then & Now
Here's a passable re-creation of a neat News & Observer photo from 1980. That's the staff of the Velvet Cloak Inn serving Thanksgiving dinner at Station 5, on November 27, 1980. Bottom photo is "B" platoon enjoying a family dinner this evening. Not shown is the rest of the crew, their family and friends, and one photographer in a floral pattern shirt. There are two more tables outside the frame.
Then, Station 5 housed two companies. Engine 5 operated a 1975 Mack, and Truck 5 operated a 1979 Mack/1958 American LaFrance tiller. The department had fifteen fire stations protecting 55.2 square miles and 150,255 residents.
Now, Station 5 houses an engine company and an air truck. They are a 2002 Spartan/Quality and 2002 International/SVI, respectively. Today, the department has twenty-seven fire stations protecting 144.39 square miles and 423,179 people. Click to enlarge:
The Wake Forest News last week posted a lengthy feature on Wake Forest's proposed fourth fire station. The site is located at the intersection of Jenkins Road and Fullard Drive, in northwest Wake Forest. The project is opposed by some residents, who are concerned about such issues as noise and property values. The story includes a map illustrating the probable proposed coverage area. There are also architect's renderings of the single-story, three-bay building. And blueprints! Read the story. (How do you close the images in the WFN piece, once you click on them? Locate the Close icon, in the lower right corner of the pop-up.)
Next question, what existing fire stations in town or around Wake County have generated controversy either before or during their construction? Believe there was objection to Wake Forest Station 2, before it was opened on Ligon Mill Road in 2001. For that matter, perhaps any fire station in or near a residential area compels concern. The residents by my neighborhood, off Lead Mine Road, voice concerns to city officials in the 1970s, as Station 16 was being planned. Click to enlarge:
For your Sunday afternoon diversion, here's a YouTube video about a combine demolition derby in Lind, Washington. The tiny town's annual event was chronicled by writer Chuck Palahniuk in his essay "Demolition," which appeared in his 2004 non-fiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. (He's the guy that wrote Fight Club. I'm listening to the non-fiction book on audiobook.) The rules includes no glass in the cab, no concrete in the tires, and no combines newer than twenty-five years old. Such contests are held throughout the grain belt, as this Wikipedia article notes. This video was produced by "Farmers Alamanac Television" and uploaded in 2006. (The resolution is a bit poor, but it's an engaging clip.) You can find more footage by searching YouTube, including clips from this year's event in Lind.
How's that web page working out? The one that's a single-page, big bucket of something? Maybe it's a storefront, for the public to learn everything and then some about your product or service. Maybe it's a private site on your company's network, that serves as a central "hub" of information. Maybe it's a personal page about a personal interest, say... the history of firefighting in Raleigh.
Below are current and future versions of my Raleigh Fire Department history site . Changes are a-coming, but first let's answer a question. Why is this "my" page and not a Raleigh Fire Museum page? Because the content hasn't been moved there yet. That's planned. Timeframe is between now and whenever.
That said, how's that history page working out for you, Mike? Pretty good for my needs. I'm able to quickly and easy find stuff... most of the time. Okay, truth be told, it can take a few extra seconds. Sometimes, I have to think about "under what section does that link live?"
Wait a minute. If my page is occasionally confusing to me, the guy that built the thing, how the heck are regular users going to fare? (Yes, we're even talking about levels of fiber consumption here.) And right there, my friends, is problem number one with web design. This is what happens when a web site is based on what the content creator thinks, instead of the content consumer.
I recently came across the San Francisco FD fire museum site, and was impressed with the left-side navigation. The links are organized by topic and listed mostly alphabetically. That's a better approach than my site, which is organized by document (or content) type. Worse, the categories aren't listed in alphabetical order. Thus my latest project, to reorganize my page to behave more like their page.
new version of my Raleigh FD history page, shown below beside the current version. The links are organized by topic, and exclusively alphabetically. Most of the content lives on legeros.com, but a few pieces are elsewhere.
The thing's about ninety-five percent finished. Some of the link labels might
get tweak. Ditto for some of the topic categories. What do you think? Click to access each:
What's next? The new page will replace the old page. Then planning (or procrastination) will start for the next version. That iteration will involve landing pages for each topic. Thus a page for Apparatus, and a page for Buildings, etc. The links will be moved to their respective topical (not tropical) landing page. The main page, shown above, will become smaller. Alas, you'll have to browse deeper, to see everything's that's on the site. (The big list o' links will become a site map, on a separate page that's linked from the main page. Got that?)
Unless I change my mind, of course.
Eventually, we'll move the whole thing to the raleighfiremuseum.org. That's the ideal gateway to all things about the history of the Raleigh Fire Department.
See what you think. Post or send comments.Video - Tiller Versus Platform
Found via the FireNews.net Twitter feed, here's an interesting video that compares a tractor-drawn aerial ladder (or tiller) with a platform ladder. The two are compared in timed tests in deploying their aerial devices, and turning and manuevering their vehicles. The nine-minute video was posted by YouTube user Ted Collins. There are a few nits worth picking, which we'll await as reader responses.
The deadline for purchasing tickets to this has been extended to Sunday, December 1.
Tickets are still available for the event of a lifetime. On Saturday, December 7, you can celebrate the contributions of an icon in emergency services. An appreciation dinner will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center for retired Raleigh Fire Department Captain Wilbert "Tramp" Dunn. He served the department from 1974 to 2003, for starters. His impact in the department included the many recruit academies that he helped train (and tell the world's greatest stories to), including a certain crew of fresh-faced recruits that joined on February 15, 1989. We know who we are.
Tramp is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and has worked for Beacon Ambulance Service, Wake County EMS, Six Forks Fire Department, and Fairgrounds Fire Department. He was also the first paid Fire Chief at Fairgrounds FD. Tramp is also a long-time instructor and speaker and continues to travel throughout the state and touching the lives of responders young and old. He recently retired (again) from his role as Firefighter Academy Coordinator at the Central Carolina Community College in Lee County.
Click to enlarge:
View the flyer for the event (pdf) on December 7, which is being sponsored by the Wake County Association of Fire Chiefs. The event starts at 6:00 p.m. with a reception and cash bar. The dinner and program begins at 7:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center, in Ballroom C. Tickets must be purchased by November 20. They cost $50 per person, or $400 for a table of eight. The dress code is formal, either personal or department attire. See you there!
And here are the drawings for the town's 2013 Pierce Velocity pumper that's in production. It will replace Engine 4. Thanks Sheavis! Click to enlarge:
Seeing a theme here? Speaking of the Atlantic Emergency Solutions Facebook page, here's a drawing of Cary's new rescue that was recently posted. This 2013 Pierce Velocity heavy rescue is in production, and will replace Rescue 7, which is a 2008 Pierce Velocity heavy rescue. That truck will enter the reserve fleet. The Cary Fire Department has also ordered a Pierce Velocity pumper to replace Engine 4, and will feature a low hose bed. Go low or go home. Click to enlarge:
Found for sale on eBay, the Gastonia fire and police departments on November 27, 1919. They're pictured in front of what's presumably the town's City Hall. Betting that the building's no longer standing and was likely replaced by the 1926 municipal building at 240 W. Franklin Boulevard. That structure also served as the fire station until 1953, when the fire department relocated to 117 W. Second Street. That building served until 2002, when the fire department relocated again. Maybe our Gastonia readers can add more details. Click to enlarge:
Both of the later Station 1 locations are still standing, along with Old Station 3 at 1502 W. Franklin Boulevard, Old Station 4 at 1012 S. New Hope Road, and Old Station 8 at 111 Camp Rotary Road (originally a Chapel Grove FD station). That is, at last check. Memo to self, swing through town on next westward trip and take new photos. Readers can use Google Street view to see how things look today. Click to enlarge:
The News & Observer posted this story and accompanying YouTube video of Cary firefighters at Station 3 demonstrating two common holiday fires: overheated, overfilled turkey fryer (with a partially thawed bird) and a too-dry Christmas tree.
Mobile phone footage from last year and this year, compiled into a pair of YouTube clips. Apparatus leaving and returning to Station 1 on South Dawson Street in downtown Raleigh. Turn it up.
The next meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission is Thursday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive. The documents for the meeting are linked below. Note that the packet is nearly 16MB in size, so prepare for large download.
- Call meeting to order
- Roll of Members Present
- Items of Business
- Approval of Agenda
- Adoption of Minutes for September 19, 2013 Regular Meeting
- Introduction of Fire Services Director Michael Wright
- Discussion regarding the "role" of the Fire Commission and its Standing Committees
- Regular Agenda
- Consider approval of calendar year 2014 meeting dates
- Consider re-appointment of Budget Committee members for FY 2015 Fire Tax Budget process
- Consider approval of recommendation for the Fire Tax Budget Committee that Wake County Fire Commission review Wake New Hope FY 2014 apparatus purchases.
- Consider approval of recommendation from the Tire Tax Budget Committee to appropriate $117,773 in Uncommitted CIP Funds to coverage overage of FY 2014 apparatus bid allotment.
- Consider request from Eastern Wake Fire-Rescue for use of Fund Balance
- Information Agenda
- BDAs/BDA Ordinance Report
- Cost Share RFP Update
- Fire Tax Financial Report
- Chair Report
- Fire and Emergency Management Director Report
- Other Business
- Public Comments
- Comments from the public will be received at the time appointment by the Chairman of the Fire Commission for 30 minutes maximum time allotted, with a maximum of three minutes per person. A signup sheet for those who wish to speak during the public comments section of the meeting is located at the entrance of the meeting room.
- Adjournment - Next Meeting January 16, 2014
- Agenda packet (15.72MB)