Since we're speaking of the Greensboro airport. let's try a little trivia. What piece of Wake County fire apparatus previously provided protection to Piedmont Triad International Airport? The answer is Knightdale Engine 135. Their 1973 Ford/Pierce telesquirt originally served the Guilford College Fire Department, prior to the merger of GCFD and Greensboro. The third Guilford College fire station was located on Old Oak Ridge Road, north of the airport. If memory serves, there was nearby gate and access road onto the property. GCFD also had their own crash truck, a dry-chemical rig that looked identical to Raleigh-Durham Airport's 1969 International/Ansul.
That station was relocated a fourth time to Old Oak Ridge Road
in the late 1990s in 2000, for construction of the FedEx cargo facility. GCFD merged with Greensboro in 2001, and the station became GFD Station 17. Readers, please correct and expand as needed. Guilford College Fire Department, it's worth noting, was one of the state's first rural fire departments. They organized in 1946. There's a bit of their history on this former fire departments page. As for the telesquirt, it was sold to the town of Knightdale in 2002, and was one of the first pieces of apparatus serving Knightdale's newly formed Public Safety Department.
Mike – It’s great to see an article about Guilford College Fire Department – during my time with the department back in the 90s the telesquirt was referred to as Engine#192 – Engine#192 functioned as our 2nd line engine and also ran as a truck company when our tower was out of service – in addition, Engine#192 was the 2nd unit out of the station on all airport alerts – it ran behind the crash truck we referred to as Chemical#19 – Engine#192 carried a significant amount of foam – 250gals. – I still remember riding on calls in the officer’s seat listening to the the FEO grind the manual transmission trying to change gears – it was a fun truck to ride in
After the merger with Greensboro the former Squad#19 ran as Greensboro Rescue#5 before moving to reserve a couple of years ago – it’s a Pierce Lance Heavy Rescue with a six man cab and no pump
All the paid employees went to work for Greensboro Fire – as fas as I know the only person who isn’t still employed by Greensboro is Michael Bergman who retired as a Captain – I hear that Alan Cagle a Guilford College FEO made Captain with Greensboro last year – Rick Baker who was the chief for my years there moved to Southern Pines where he is now Director of Public Safety
Noah Rogers (Email) - 03/25/09 - 08:26
Correction on Rick Baker – understand he left Southern Pines a couple of months ago and is now Chief in Conway South Carolina
Noah Rogers (Email) - 03/25/09 - 13:17
Thanks to Mr. Rogers, the blog commenter and not the children’s television host, here’s a better history of GCFD fire stations:
1946 – Fire department organized. First fire truck stored in various garages, in area of Guilford College Road and Market Street.
1948 – First fire station (built?), Guilford College Road and Savoy Lane. (Opened in 1949?) Building still standing, now private residence, if memory serves. Closed 1970. Photo: http://legeros.com/history/nc/images/gui..
1970 – Second fire station, Station #17 by county numbering, 201 Guilford College Road. Closed 1987. Three-bays, presently church. Photo: http://legeros.com/history/nc/images/gui..
1987, before – Third fire station opens, Station #19 by county numbering, Inman Road. Temporary building built in 1950s. GCFD used both this building and Station #17, while permanent new station was being built. Building (also?) used by airport for storage and vehicle repair.
1987 – Fourth fire station opens, again Station #19, 6001 Old Oak Ridge Road. Closed 2000. Building demolished for FedEx cargo complex construction.
2000 – Fifth fire station opens, again Station #19, 6405 Old Oak Ridge Road. Became Greensboro Station #17 in 2001 after merger of GCFD and GFD. Photo: http://legeros.com/history/nc/images/gui..
Legeros - 03/25/09 - 20:36
I am not sure of the date that station#19 was placed in service – I believe it was in the 50s – until the closing of Station#17 in the 80s the department operated both stations – 17 & 19 – Station#17 functioned as the headquarters station until the new Station#19 was placed in service in 1987
Noah Rogers (Email) - 03/25/09 - 23:11
Thanks for some great info & history. Here’s a little more: My best friend, Richard Bray (currently Chief Pilot for Alachua County Sheriff’s Office-Gainesville FL) and I met when we joined GCFD in 1977 and over 30 yrs later, we’re still great friends and business partners. The chief was Bobby T. Wilson, an early expert on foam use in flammable liquids, and was extremely influential in many of the tanks at the fuel farm near the airport, to have sub-surface applicators. Operations captain was Rick Hall, another great guy. Mike Bergman was one of the 3 rotating 24-hour “duty-men.”
Our twin-agent truck, “Chemical-39” was designated to be our first apparatus at Station 39, which was supposed to help at both the tank farm and the airport, where we were second due. However, the county held back on the third station and the rest is history. However, from before we arrived in 1977 until late 1980, GCFD was on “contract” to the City of Greensboro for portions of the incorporated city that was too far from the nearest city station, Station 9 on W. Friendly Ave.
We had special city fire radios in our first responding trucks and several times, especially on a gasoline tanker fire right on the “border,” we saved the city’s butt, as we had a large supply of foam and thanks to the Chief, knew how to use it. After the city struggled for over 30 minutes to knock down the tanker fire, they reluctantly called us in on mutual aid and we had it out in about 15 minutes!
Our “rescue” (and I use the term, loosely) Rescue 17, was more of a utility truck that often needed a brake job. Rich & I responded on at least 2 calls, when the brakes failed and we had a “bronco-busting” ride down a hill into a cow pasture! Station 19 was already up on Old Oak Ridge Road and Rich was a duty-man there for over a year. From there, Engine 191, Tanker 194, and Mini-Pumper 197 responded. From Station 17 came Engine 171, Snorkel 17, Tanker 174, Engine 172 & Rescue 17. Rich left in early 1981 and I left later that summer, after also working for Guilford County EMS for a while. It was a great time.
[sgreene978] (Email) (Web Site) - 11/18/09 - 20:15
I am trying to locate former Capt. Rick Hall (Captain K-9),he rescued me and pets from my burning car summer, 1979. I am a journalist and author of crime novels and wrote Greensboro, The Final Chapter, due out in Spring. I need to talk to him and any other fire personnel that were at the scene of killings that can update anything they can remember or add. His roomie, was a man named David. Thank you, take care.
Andrea Zindel-Smith (Email) - 10/09/10 - 12:30
Any fire or emergency personnel that were on the scene of the Nov 3, 1979 killings at Morningside apartments and would like to add any comments or findings regarding that day or anything that you know prior to or after the killings I want to talk to you. Information can be “off the record”, if you request. I know that several were there and activated. Im only interested in giving you credit for working with victims and what your perspective was regarding such a traumatic event. Thank you. AZS
Andrea Zindel-Smith (Email) - 11/18/10 - 15:57
My father (Henry Bondurant) was one of the men who started what was the Guilford College Fire Department in 1946 and served as chairman of the board, chief, deputy chief, and captain until shortly before the station on College Road was closed. Our house was on the property on College Road. We moved across the street when the new station was built in 1970. My dad is still in that house and I remember spending all kinds of time at the fire station as a kid, although I never joined. My mother did their books when I was growing up, so the guys would come over all the time.
I still remember Bruce Hicks wanting to know if I was 12 years old so I could play pool in the rec room. It was a running joke between us even after I was well past 12 years old, and Bruce went to work for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.
Michael Bondurant - 07/26/11 - 12:58
Thanks for the memories, Michael. There’s a great, vast, personal history of the many former fire departments in our state. Thanks for sharing.
Legeros - 07/26/11 - 20:56