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Exciting Recent Posts

New Wake EMS Video - District Chief Does The Physical Ability Test, Sort Of...
Before You Post That Fire Photo to Facebook (3 comments)
Historical Henderson Fire Department Photos
Vintage Photo of Fort Bragg Fire Department, 1921
UPDATE #2: Raleigh's New Air Truck in Production (2 comments)
Durham County Pumper Accident, 1957
Cornelius-Lemley Orders Seagrave Tiller
Vintage Photo of Fayetteville's 1960 Ford/Howe Pumper
February's Working Fires (2 comments)
Biltmore Fire Departments - A Short History
The Curious Case of Spring Lake's American LaFrance Aerial Ladder
Vintage Photos of Westarea's Ford/Atlas Pumpers (4 comments)
Friday's Major House Fire with Fourteen Fire Departments (7 comments)
Vintage Photo of Bethesda Chief's Buggy
Vintage Photo of Raleigh's GMC Service Truck
Reader Question: Why Should Taxpayers Support Continued Funding Fire Departments with Fewer Calls? (18 comments)
Run Numbers For 2014 (11 comments)
Durham County Adding Sprinter Ambulances
Raleigh Firemen Who Lived at the Fire Station
Durham Adds Auxiliary Trucks - Fire Engineering, 1942 (1 comment)

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James (Before You Post T…): With regards to open-records, your phone and all …
Legeros (Before You Post T…): Thanks Dave, and a great point about credits and …
Dave LeBlanc (Before You Post T…): Great stuff and good discussion. On the ethics s…
Legeros (February's Workin…): Thank you, sir! Corrected.
T. Saunders (February's Workin…): I think Lord Ashley is Sq 7
J.J Gittes (Reader Question: …): Chris, real estate records only show property own…
Chris (Reader Question: …): All of these comments bring forward many good poi…
looking out (Reader Question: …): To Standards, That may be the minimum “required”…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Good questions, Standards. One thing that’s a fac…
Standards (Reader Question: …): Duda, Just like Mr. Legeros said excellent perspe…
FV (Friday's Major Ho…): Fuquay Battalion 1 had safety on side Charlie.
fire1983 (Friday's Major Ho…): I don’t think CFD E4 responded.
fire1983 (Vintage Photos of…): I think Pilot FD in Franklin Co. had or has a bla…
BFD1151 (Vintage Photos of…): Just thought of two in-service trucks in the west…
Bob (Vintage Beacon Am…): The MVA involving Beacon 7 was at the intersectio…
Delivery Photo (Vintage Photos of…): Nice looking!
BFD1151 (Vintage Photos of…): Mill Spring in Polk County just got a brand new I…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Duda, excellent perspective!
Legeros (Friday's Major Ho…): Chris, the IC requested “two Raleigh engines” and…
Chris (Friday's Major Ho…): Does RFD dispatch closest engine(s) when they are…
911 (Friday's Major Ho…): @Rescue Ranger. Yea if you could get a truck to i…
Duda (Reader Question: …): One thing I didn’t see addressed is that Wake Cou…
Rescue Ranger (Friday's Major Ho…): Looks like a heck of a water supply a mere 50 fee…
D.Cates (Friday's Major Ho…): Add Eastern Wake Pumper 1 to Garner #4 for covera…
Trey Byrd (Run Numbers For 2…): Zebulon ran 1,492 for 2014
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Another piece to this puzzle is that there isnít …
Mullen (Reader Question: …): Itís an interesting argument. The only problem is…
Jones (Reader Question: …): To explore Scooter’s point, an interesting spread…
Olson (Run Numbers For 2…): The Wake County EMS system generated 89755 report…
Schultz (Reader Question: …): Primarily, when we consider fire coverage, we hav…
A. Byrd (Reader Question: …): I would like to tack on to D. Mckays post: if you…
Scooter (Reader Question: …): To me a valid question to ask on this is how many…
D. McKay (Reader Question: …): I have a question for the original poster: if “on…
Paul (Reader Question: …): “Most fire department calls in this day and age a…
Mark (Reader Question: …): Most fire department calls in this day and age ar…
Legeros (Reader Question: …): Thanks for responding, David. But we probably sh…
Sasser (Reader Question: …): A good question, and often times an inflammatory …
Jeanne Plausen (Run Numbers For 2…): As a Wake County resident and taxpayer, why shoul…
Sasser (Run Numbers For 2…): Chapel Hill Fire-Rescue Incident and Unit Respons…
D McKay (Run Numbers For 2…): Here…
FVFD (Run Numbers For 2…): Fuquay Fire, 3470 for 2014. 1289 fire calls and 2…
FF8 (Run Numbers For 2…): Fairview – 1328 calls for 2014
Juan (Run Numbers For 2…): 29,400 overall for Fayetteville Fire Department i…
Swiman (Run Numbers For 2…): Wake Forest Fire, 2950 total calls for 2014
DHFD (Run Numbers For 2…): Durham Highway: 756
Juan (Run Numbers For 2…): Fayetteville run numbers by station-individual un…
DJ (Durham Adds Auxil…): The biggest change I have seen from DFD to GVFD t…
Steve (Wilmington Former…): The Atlantic IV is in Canada in St Andrews NB. …
Adam (Deuces are Wild): im on queheel fire department , we are one of the…
Legeros (UPDATED: Raleigh'…): Now that’s an intriguing rumor! My information wa…
Rescue Ranger (Raleigh's New Air…): Is this truck a replacement or additional? Rumor…
jboggs (Raleigh's Open Da…): It has been a while, I would note that items 2,3,…
Jon Butner (Old Photo of Old …): What is interesting is how far fire apparatus has…
BFD1151 (Old Engine 4 and …): Winston-Salem Station 8 and 9 are similar in appe…
Legeros (Raleigh's Open Da…): Building fires in 2014, highest to lowest totals …
Legeros (Dawson and Lane S…): Here’s another page with information about the bu…
Legeros (Old Engine 4 and …): Thanks Adam! Here’s Goldsboro Station 4. Maybe n…
Adam (Old Engine 4 and …): Mike you should add Goldsboro Station #4 at 1300 …
Legeros (Best Recruit Acad…): Thanks John, we have the same “parade of plaques”…
CFD72 (Old Engine 4 and …): What’s the difference in placing the letters on t…

+ 1 - 0 | § New Wake EMS Video - District Chief Does The Physical Ability Test, Sort Of...

For your Friday enjoyment, here's a new video from Wake County EMS, demonstrating in grand comic fashion that every employee is required to successfully complete a physical ability test (PAT) on an annual basis. Excellent example of internal (and external-facing) education that's orientated from a positive and outright playful perspective. Carrot not stick:

View on YouTube

+ 1 - 0 | § Before You Post That Fire Photo to Facebook

Here’s today’s thought exercise. Should you post a fire photo to Facebook, if you’re a member of the department that’s fighting the fire?

Let’s talk through this.


Question one. Why Facebook, specifically? Versus elsewhere on social media or other web sites?

To me, Facebook seems like its own animal. So popular, so easily used, so easily misused. It’s also where Yours Truly spends much of his social media time. (Versus a more modest presence on Twitter, and nearly no use of other channels.)

Also, some have reservations or outright apprehension about Facebook. Since fire photos are records of “other people’s lives,” it’s easy to imagine someone saying “I didn’t call the fire department just to see my life posted on Facebook.

(Now there’s a social experiment worth conducting! Measure public reactions to identical fire photos, as posted on Facebook versus Instagram versus Twitter versus official web site versus personal web site.)

Question two. Why are talking about firefighters only? Why not all responders, including EMS and law enforcement?

We’re starting simple. Bear with me. We’ll be talking a bit about medical responders, often components of a fire department. Either as first responders or fire-based EMS.

Question three. What about all those fire photos posted by Legeros and Lee Wilson? Or what photojournalists and the “the news” produce? Or just Joe Q. filming from the street corner?

Good question! On one hand, it’s absolutely a different animal. None of those individuals are city/county/agency employers or members. Nor are they responders with real and perceived responsibilities.

On the other hand--at least with the news and our favorite fire photogs—they have their own protocols. They, too, weigh issues such as personal values, employer or sponsor procedures, and the base ethics of their actions.

But back to firefighters…

Shooting Photos versus Posting Photos

We’ll start with semantics. Shooting versus posting.

Every photo posted to Facebook is actually three things:

  • The photo itself.
  • The action of posting the photo.
  • Any caption, commentary, or comments included (or later added) to the photo.

Sometimes simply taking a photo is problematic.

Think about, say, a fire investigator arriving a working structure fire. They hop out of their “red car” and begin snapping pictures for documentation. Bystanders observe this and contrast their actions with the other arriving units. “Why is that guy taking pictures? Why isn’t he going to get a hose?”

Sometimes taking a photo is “okay”, but posting is a problem.

Responders may take pictures for internal use of severe accidents involving fatalities, such as an extended extrication or complicated technical rescue. (They’re particularly good training tools.) But if those photos are shown to the public, the response by the public is usually negative.

Sometimes both taking and posting a photo is fine, but captions or comments cause problems.

There’s a world of difference between the picture of a house fire with the caption “Engine 50 fought a fire today” versus such captions as “Strong work by Engine 50 today” (good) or “Good day for a barbecue” (bad).

Posting Photos Officially

Let’s define “official photo” as any picture that a fire department releases for public consumption. And, for our purposes, also posts to Facebook. Could be a picture taken by a civilian. Could be a donated news photo. Most likely it’s a picture taken by a member of the department. 

When should you post or not post a photo from an incident? Here’s my take, based both on (a.) my approach to posting scene pictures and (b.) what I’ve observed as posted by fire departments to Facebook.


+ 1 - 0 | § Historical Henderson Fire Department Photos

Here's a quartet of historical Henderson Fire Department photos, dating perhaps from the late 1910s through the 1940s. The pictured station was built in 1908 and is the oldest operating engine house in the state. It's located at 205 N. Garnett Street and originally housed horse-drawn apparatus. The pictured engines are American LaFrance rigs. From John Peckham's registry, the department's fleet included:

These are mobile phone photos of physical prints. Thanks Chris and John. (Have historical prints in your possession of North Carolina fire departments? Shoot me a nice photo and we might feature them here!) Click to enlarge:

+ 2 - 0 | § Vintage Photo of Fort Bragg Fire Department, 1921

Here's a neat picture of Fort Bragg Fire Station 1 in April 1921. Comes courtesy of John Porter, nephew of Oscar Porter, who was the driver of the Ahrens Fox pumper on the left. (He's pictured on the far left.) The Fort Bragg Fire Department operated a pair of Ahrens-Fox K-4 pumpers during World War I. On the right is a 1918 Seagrave pumper. Read more about FBFD history. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 1 | § UPDATE #2: Raleigh's New Air Truck in Production

March 4
Still more photos. Close to completion. Click to enlarge:


+ 1 - 1 | § Durham County Pumper Accident, 1957

From the History of Durham group on Facebook comes this photo of Durham County's first pumper, which was wrecked in 1957. The accident occured at the corner of Trinity Avenue and North Mangum Street, at Dodson's Esso service station. Click to enlarge:

The apparatus was a 1948 Mack pumper, bought by the county and housed at Durham Station 1. Was staffed by Durham firefighters and probably cross-staffed from the other city companies. The truck carried 600 gallons of water. Don't know the pump capacity. Was called a "booster truck" in the city's 1955 report by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.

My notes say same was later used as a tanker, which seems to indicate the truck was repaired after the accident. Here's a picture from the Durham Fire Department history page on Facebook. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 1 | § Cornelius-Lemley Orders Seagrave Tiller

From this Seagrave Carolina Facebook posting comes these preliminary drawings of a Seagrave Marauder II 100-foot tractor-drawn aerial ladder that's been ordered by the Cornelius-Lemley Fire Department in Mecklenburg County. The department currently operates a 1989 Seagrave tiller that formerly served the Richmond and Bedford fire departments in Virginia. It was acquired in 2008 and operates as Hook and Ladder 44. The apparatus is but one of a handful of tillers operating in North or South Carolina. Click to enlarge:

+ 1 - 1 | § Vintage Photo of Fayetteville's 1960 Ford/Howe Pumper

From the SPAAMFAA group on Facebook comes this vintage photo from the collection of Scott Mattson. Fayetteville's 1960 Ford C/Howe pumper, 750 GPM. Served as Engine 4. Undated image. Love the wooden chock block. See original posting by Scott. Or read more about Fayetteville's apparatus over the years, in these fleet histories. Click to enlarge:

Scott Mattson Collection

+ 1 - 0 | § February's Working Fires

The month of February saw quite a few working fires in the Capital City. By my tally, they were:

  Date Address Structure First Arriving Notes
1 Feb. 3 717 Merrywood Drive Duplex Engine 3  
2 Feb. 5 3200 Verdugo Drive House Engine 10  
3 Feb. 6 1018 Early Rise Street House Engine 10  See photos.
4 Feb. 6 3105 Julian Drive House Engine 11  See photos.
5 Feb. 7 109 Pineland Circle House Squad 14  See photos.
6 Feb. 16 5933 Carmel Lane House Engine 15  Originally as fire alarm.
7 Feb. 17 5105 Country Trail Leesville Community Library Engine 23  Originally as fire alarm.
8 Feb. 19 7650 Pangea Lane Apartments Engine 22  
9 Feb. 20 3856 Cane Garden Drive House Engine 26  
10 Feb. 21 3312 Atlantic Avenue Duplex Engine 11  
11 Feb. 21 2320 Clark Avenue Apartments Engine 5  
12 Feb. 22 1201 S. East Street Apartments Engine 3  
13 Feb. 22 701 Gannet Street Former nursery, now dwelling Engine 8  Originally as smoke investigation.
See photos.
14 Feb. 26 119 Lord Ashley Road House Squad 7  Originally as fire alarm.
See photos.
15 Feb. 26 6204 Dresden Lane House Engine 16  
16 Feb. 27 8249 Marshall Brae Drive Dwelling Engine 28  

January was busy also, with thirteen working fires by my count. December was fewer, as were prior months. Don't have counts, alas.

March has started strong, with two today (so far).

+ 1 - 0 | § Biltmore Fire Departments - A Short History

Let’s take a trip to Asheville, for a historical perspective on the Biltmore fire departments of yore. We'll start with fire protection at George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, which was completed in 1895. The property was protected by various types of fire equipment, including fire hydrants with hose and fire apparatus. Though the Biltmore House has never caught fire, smaller buildings on the estate burned in early decades.

In 1903, a fire department was organized at nearby Biltmore Village. The Biltmore Fire Department protected both the estate and the village until 1929. They operated hand and motor apparatus including a 1926 Ahrens Fox triple combination pumper. That year, the village was annexed the city, and Asheville Fire Station 5 opened at the former Biltmore Village fire station.

Also that decade, the town of Biltmore Forest was charted in 1923. The planned residential community was developed from some 1,500 acres of estate property. The Biltmore Forest Fire Department operated with combination firemen and police officers, as well as volunteer firemen. They had a single combination fire and police station and five pieces of apparatus over the decades until they ceased operation in 1995. The town contracted with the Asheville Fire Department until 2013, and then the Skyland Fire Department, which completed a new fire station near the town in 2014.

That's the abstract, now read the research notes. Twenty pages of historical details. And pictures! They're located at

+ 1 - 0 | § The Curious Case of Spring Lake's American LaFrance Aerial Ladder

Here's the strangest thing you'll see this week, a 1949 American LaFrance 700 (or 800?) Series 100-foot aerial ladder with a tag axle added. Served Spring Lake Fire Department by the late 1980s and early 1990s. Top picture by Jeff Harkey is circa 1990. Bottom photos by Lee Wilson is dated July 12, 1991. (By that time, the truck was out of service and had been replaced with a 1968 Young Crusader Snorkel that formerly served Henrietta, NY.)

The tag axle and rear body work are aftermarket and probably done during a refurbishing. Might've been added to help with braking. Might've been added to help with weight restrictions. Maybe readers know more! Also a mystery is the truck's origin. Most likely served another city (or even two) before arriving at Spring Lake. Click to enlarge:

Jeff Harkey photo

Lee Wilson photos

+ 0 - 0 | § Vintage Photos of Westarea's Ford/Atlas Pumpers

Here's another trip back in time, a pair of Ford/Atlas pumpers that served the Westarea Fire Department in Cumberland County. Engine 102 (later 1032, later 2032) was a 1982 Ford/Atlas in black and Engine 152 (later 1532) was a 1984 Ford/Atlas in red. The black truck was photographed by Jeff Harkey, circa 1990. The red truck was photographed by Lee Wilson on July 7, 1991. What other all-black rigs have served in North Carolina? Click to enlarge:

Jeff Harkey photo

Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 0 | § Friday's Major House Fire with Fourteen Fire Departments

Fourteen fire departments from Wake County (and one from Johnston County) battled a major house fire in southern Wake County on Friday. Though the structure was of "ordinary size", there were numerous challenges ranging from roadway access to water supply to building construction. Here are some notes on the incident:

Run Card

Departments and Units:

  1. Apex E4
  2. Bay Leaf Tanker 127, Tanker 257 (believe they were both diverted for coverage)
  3. Cary E4, E6, R2
  4. Cleveland E3
  5. Durham Highway P2
  6. Fairview E3, E2, E1, Tanker 6, Tanker 7, R1, C1
  7. Fuquay-Varina E4, Tanker 1
  8. Garner E9, E3, Tanker 12, B1
  9. Holly Springs E3
  10. Raleigh E13, L8, B2
  11. Morrisville E3
  12. Stony Hill Tanker 268
  13. Swift Creek Tanker 2
  14. Wake Forest Tanker 2

Plus Wake County Fire Services, Wake County Emergency Management.


Water Supply / Hose Lines

Here's "interpretative map" based on observations at the end of the incident, along with some phone photos. Pictures from my cameras will take another day or two to be posted. Click to enlarge:

+ 2 - 1 | § Vintage Photo of Bethesda Chief's Buggy

Here's another blast from the past, a sharp-looking Chevy chief's buggy of the Bethesda Volunteer Fire Company in Durham County. Love those Hot Wheels wheels! Photo by Jeff Harkey, circa 1990 or abouts.

The van was purchased when R. H. Ballard was Fire Chief. He was fond of driving vans and drove one for many years as his personal vehicle. When the department decided to purchase a car for chief's use, a van was the natural choice. This was replaced in/around 1994 with a Ford Excursion. The van remained in reserve as a utility vehicle or, on occasion, as the chief's buggy.

Another bit of history: this vehicle was also involved in an accident on South Miami Boulevard in the mid-1980s. Chief Ballard was driving ahead of Engine 1 to a fire alarm activation. When a building fire was reported elsewhere in the district, the Chief made a sudden u-turn to respond. His van was t-boned by the trailing Bethesda engine. The vehicle was repaired by combining the remains of the original with the rear half of another Chevy van. Click to enlarge:

Jeff Harkey photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Vintage Photo of Raleigh's GMC Service Truck

Bought this on eBay, color slide of the city's 1964 GMC service truck. Photographed in October 1982 by Joel Woods. Served as Truck 6, Truck 16, Truck 8, Truck 15, and as a reserve. Chassis cost $3,270.56. Purchased in January 1964. With body and maybe equipment, cost $5,229.00. The body was probably constructed by Alexander Welding. Was placed in service as Truck 6 at Station 6 on February 8, 1965. Click to enlarge:

Joel Woods photo

There were three "modern service trucks" operated in Raleigh. The first was a 1963 Ford with a 1922 American LaFrance ladder bed. The chassis was wrecked in 1979 (see picture and another picture) and replaced with a 1980 Ford chassis. The second is listed above. The third was a 1971 Chevrolet. They were used in the city through the mid-eighties. Read about those trucks in my apparatus registry. Click to enlarge these photos. Top are the Fords, bottom is the Chevy:

News & Observer, Jeff Harkey (x2), Lee Wilson

+ 1 - 0 | § Reader Question: Why Should Taxpayers Support Continued Funding Fire Departments with Fewer Calls?

This reader question was posted to yesterday's run numbers thread and asks a great question about support for funding of fire departments with low(er) run numbers:

As a Wake County resident and taxpayer, why should I support continuing to fund a fire department that only runs 756 calls a year? Wouldn’t it make more logical (and fiscal) sense to let Raleigh or some other neighboring department handle there area? Just seems like a waste of resources from a laymen’s perspective.
Jeanne Palusen - 02/19/15

Let's post the responses over here instead over there, and leverage an excellent opportunity for public information and educaiton. And maybe some good discussion. We'll keep the other thread open for more run number postings.

+ 1 - 0 | § Run Numbers For 2014

Below are the calls and unit responses (runs) for Raleigh and Cary fire departments, plus runs for Western Wake. See also this prior posting about incident data and fire station first due call totals in Raleigh.

Raleigh   Cary Other Departments
37,507 calls
56,546 unit responses

E1 - 1842
E2 - 1717
E3 - 2696
E4 - 1234
E5 - 1261
E6 - 1228
E7 - 1935
E8 - 1861
E9 - 1529
E10 - 1636
E11 - 2303
E12 - 2391
E13 - 1337
Sq14 - 1639
Sq15 - 2334
E16 - 1664
E17 - 1309
E18 - 1117
E19 - 2101
E20 - 1536
E21 - 1363
E22 - 1269
E23 - 1021
E24 - 782
E25 - 759
E26 - 900
E27 - 637
E28 - 604

Top Ten

E3 - 2696
E12 - 2391
Sq15 - 2334
E11 - 2303
E19 - 2101
E7 - 1935
E8 - 1861
E1 - 1842
E2 - 1717
E16 - 1664
L1 - 973
L2 - 2012
L3 - 980
L4 - 2120
L5 - 970
L6 - 455
L7 - 987
L8 - 541

R1 - 1057

B1 - 461
B2 - 605
B3 - 521
B4 - 299
B5 - 763

Air 1 - 142

Haz-Mat 1 - 78
Haz-Mat 2 - 83
Haz-Mat 3 - 51

C20 (Div Chief) - 142
C401 (Investigator) - 217
C420 (Platoon Deputy
Fire Marshal) - 993
8,446 calls
16,206 unit responses
(total of below)
E1 - 1086
E2 - 1323
E3 - 1658
E4 - 1128
E5 - 1038
E6 - 683
E7 - 671
E8 - 608
L1 - 793
L3 - 1093
L5 - 815
L6 - 383
R2 - 1209
R4 - 984
R7 - 457
B1 - 1190
B2 - 1087

Durham Highway
756 calls

1328 calls

3470 calls
1289 fire calls
2181 EMS calls

Wake Forest
2950 calls

Wake New Hope
1762 calls

Western Wake
613 calls

Wake County EMS
89,755 calls

Chapel Hill
4486 incidents
See comments for details

29,400 calls
See comments for details

Send or post yours to be added!

See more Raleigh run number data (PDF)    

+ 6 - 0 | § Durham County Adding Sprinter Ambulances

From the Durham County EMS Facebook page, comes an announcement about (and a photo of) their newest ambulances. The new Demers MX152's are built on a low-maintenance, fuel-efficient Sprinter chassis and designed to provide enhanced safety and comfort for both patients and paramedics. Final inspections are underway at the factory. The seven ambulances are due the first week in March. See also this posting from Rescue Vehicle News.

+ 1 - 2 | § 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.

+ 0 - 0 | § Durham Adds Auxiliary Trucks - Fire Engineering, 1942

Found for sale on eBay is an excerpt from Fire Engineering, about a pair of "auxiliary trucks" (my words) added in Durham during the war years. These were a pair of one-ton trucks that were placed in service to handle "small fires in residential areas." Such as car fires, chimney fires, and grass fires. Run cards were updated for "straight fire alarms." Instead of two "big pumpers" and a ladder truck, they'd dispatch one pumper, one ladder truck, and one "small truck."

The change was made after they analyzed their runs for 1941. They found that "ninety-eight percent of fires in Durham could've been handled adequately with the ladder truck, one small truck, and ten men." Sound familiar, anyone? Such as the midi-pumper concept of a few decades later? (The war also likely inspired the program. Material restrictions prevented many fire departments from adding or replacing apparatus. This placed a premium on existing trucks. Using "auxiliary trucks" such as this, departments saved wear and tear on the larger and often older rigs.)

Here's what they carried:

  • 900 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose
  • two 2 1/2-inch controlling nozzles
  • one set of reverse couplings
  • one hydrant wrench
  • three hose spanners
  • three hose straps
  • one crowbar
  • two hand lanterns
  • one hose clamp
  • one tarpaulin
  • two axes
  • two soda and acid extinguishers
  • one 24-foot extension ladder
  • one 12-foot roof ladder
  • two brooms
  • one 65-foot hand line
  • one light plant including generator, 200 foot cord, floodlight with 500 watt bulb
  • one hand operated spotlight
  • one pike pole
  • 120-gallon booster tank equipped with 250 feet of 3/4-inch hose with the following type nozzles:
    one 1/4- inch straight tip, one garden hose tip, one spray nozzle
  • one 20-foot length of 3/4-inch suction hose with strainer.

The Durham Fire Department might've been the first in the state to implement this concept. Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington also operated "squad trucks." Read prior blog posting. See also another posting with a vintage ad about the Durham truck.

As for Durham's trucks, one was sold to Garner in 1952 as their first fire truck. Then the thing was sold to Harrells Fire Department in Sampson County. Here are pictures of mine from 2004, of the truck at the Harrells fire station. (What sort of modifications might've been made to the truck, while it served in Garner and/or Harrells? Don't know.) Click to enlarge:

Now, notice the top two photos. Upper left is 1942, upper right is 1945. Same truck, but with front pump added? Or two different trucks? To be determined!

Meanwhile, enjoy the full article. Click once or twice to enlarge:

+ 0 - 1 | § UPDATED: Butch Robbins, a Unique Firefighter From Sharpsburg, 1976

February 14, 2014
From our friends in Nash County come this clipping showing Butch in action at the pump panel. Plus one impressive set of sideburns! Maybe readers recognize the era of the photo. Thanks Bob and Todd (e.g. the Nash County history book authors).

As noted in his obituary (he passed away this summer), James Edward “Butch” Robbins passed away this summer at age 64. He lost him legs and arm as a soldier in Vietnam in 1968. He was a dispatcher for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and a member of the Sharpsburg Fire Department.

He also had many other jobs including, farming and auctioneering. Click to enlarge:

December 28, 2014
Found this cover story in the July-August 1976 issue of Hose & Nozzle magazine. Butch Robbins, a volunteer firefighter with Sharpsburg. He responds to fires in his jeep and serves as a pump operator. He has no legs and one arm. Wow. Click to enlarge:


Copyright 2012 by Michael J. Legeros