Raleigh Fire Department History

1930-1939



1930

Five stations protecting 7.3 square miles and 37,379 residents.


Two-story brick cafe at 230 Fayetteville Street burns. The 4:30 a.m. alarm is transmitted from Box 21. Four lines and 1,100 feet of hose are used. (May 24, 1930)rfd

Commercial building at 215 S. Wilmington Street burns. The 7:01 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,200 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick building. (July 15, 1930)rfd

Barber shop at 219 S. Wilmington Street burns. The 6:20 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 216. Three lines and 1,800 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick building. (July 25, 1930)rfd

Residence at 230 E. Morgan Street burns. The 4:00 p.m. alarm is transmitted by telephone. Three lines and 1,350 feet of hose are used at the two-story, frame building. (July 31, 1930)rfd

City Auditorium at 1-19 E. Davie Street burns. Building is adjacent to City Hall. Many municipal papers destroyed, included Fire Department records. The 11:58 alarm is received by telephone. Seven lines and 3,200 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick structure. Total loss is $84,600. [MF] (October 24, 1930)rfd

Holloway Cabinet Shop at 514 Fayetteville Street burns. The 3:45 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 342. Three lines and 2,700 feet of hose are used at the two- story, brick building. (December 6, 1930)rfd

Mulligan Furniture Company at 112 W. Hargett Street burns. The 1:30 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 361. Three lines and 1,650 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick structure. (December 14, 1930)rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1930 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - R. D. Upchurch
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - F. S. Solomon, Captain
  • Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - E. D. King, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, 412 S. Salisbury - Grady W. Higgins, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. L. Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1931

Residence at 218 Linden Avenue burns. The 9:40 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,200 feet of hose are used on the one-story, frame structure. (January 17, 1931)rfd

Two-story brick building at Hargett and Wilmington Streets burns. The 3:00 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 216. Three lines and 1,000 feet of hose are used. (February 19, 1931)rfd

House and garage at Fayetteville and South Streets burns. The 1:25 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box ___. Three lines and 850 feet of hose are used on the two-story frame building and garage. (July 11, 1931)rfd

Carolina Hotel at corner of Dawson and Hargett Streets burns. The 3:40 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 323. Three lines and 1,500 feet of hose are used on the nine (?)story, brick hotel. (July 17, 1931)rfd

National Board of Fire Underwriters presents report on Raleigh's fire protection capabilities. Read the report. (August 1931)

Salvation Army Relief Headquarters at old Raleigh Junior High School at 109 W. Morgan Street burns. The 2:10 a.m. alarm is verbal. Four lines and 2,200 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick structure. (November 10, 1931)rfd

B& N Motor Company at 110 E. Morgan Street burns. The 9:00 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 235. Seven lines and 3,450 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick structure. [MF] (November 27, 1931)rfd

Sanders Motor Company at 321 S. Blount Street burns. The 7:25 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 261. Nine lines and 3,800 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick garage. [MF] (December 17, 1931)rfd

Salvation Army Relief Headquarters in auditorium of old Raleigh Junior High School at 109 W. Morgan Street burns. Roof is destroyed by fire discovered shortly after 9:00 p.m. Cause of fire is undetermined. The building is located directly across the street from Fire Station 1 on W. Morgan Street. The 9:20 p.m. alarm is verbal. Five lines and 2,600 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick school. [MF] (December 26, 1931)no27dec31, rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1931 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ralph D. Upchurch
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - F. Sidney Solomon, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - Ellis D. King, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, 412 S. Salisbury - Grady W. Higgins, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

National Board of Fire Underwriters Committee on Fire Prevention and Engineering Standards issues report on Raleigh Fire Department. Read entire report. (August 1931)

1932

Apartment house on Wilmington Street burns. The 4:10 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 17. Three lines and 1,500 feet of hose are used on the two-story, frame building. (March 15, 1932)rfd

Capital Jewelry Company at 18 E. Hargett Streets burns. The 10:20 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 216. Three lines and 750 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick store. (March 18, 1932)rfd

Fire on Lenoir Street. The 3:37 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 332. Three lines and 1,000 feet of hose are used. (April 10, 1932)rfd

Two-story, frame apartment building at 321 E. Morgan Street burns. The 9:34 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Five lines and 3,150 feet of hose are used. Adjacent two-story frame residence at 323 E. Morgan Street also burns. [MF] (April 22, 1932)rfd

Railroad roundhouse at 201 W. Johnson Street burns. The 8:54 p.m. alarm is received from box 421. Six lines and 3,800 feet of hose are used. The blaze destroys the machine shop building and badly damages the roundhouse at the Seaboard Air Line Railway Company yards. Eight locomotives are also damaged in addition to the wooden frame structures. A total of 22 engines are stored in the 50-year-old roundhouse at the time. Every fire engine in the city except one responds and water is pumped for three and four blocks away. Firefighters battle the difficult blaze by climbing on top of the unburned portion of the roundhouse and pouring water into the burning part. Hundreds of spectators are attracted to the blaze that brilliantly lights the skies. [MF] (June 15, 1932)rfd, no16jun32

Station 2 moves to Memorial Auditorium. City retains ownership of 412 S. Salisbury Street. Photos and more information. (After August 14, 1932)yb84, no, rt


Hill's city directory dated 1932 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ralph D. Upchurch
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - F. Sidney Solomon, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - Ellis D. King, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, E. Worth corner Fayetteville - Grady W. Higgins, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1933

Dairy Barn at State College burns. The 10:45 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,400 feet of hose are used on the one-story, frame building. (April 6, 1933)rfd

Freight train derails in Morrisville. The Southern Railway train derails at 4:30 a.m. in the center of town. No crew members are injured, but a search is made for a missing hobo. Flames break out in a tank car filled with gasoline and spread to nine box cars piled three-high along the highway. Firefighters from both Raleigh and Durham extinguish the flames before the post office and other buildings across the highway are endangered. Morrisville is located 13.59 miles from Station 1. [MA] [RA] (April 28, 1933)rt23apr33

Legislation proposed to provide civil service projection to Raleigh firemen. They would be employed and regulated by Civil Service Board, after bill introduced in State Senate by Wake County Senator John W. Hinsdale. The three-member board would have the power to discharge any fireman convicted of performing any political function other than voting. No candidate would be eligible for appointment to Fire Chief unless they have been a member of the department for the previous five years, and shall be chosen by the Commissioner of Public Safety with approval of the Mayor and Commissioner of Public Works. The Civil Service Board would be named within 30 days after ratification of the act. Competitive examinations for employment would be open, as needs arise, to "all white persons possessing the rights of suffrage and meeting requirements prescribed by the board." Notices of examinations would have to be published two weeks prior. Firefighters "liable to dismissal" would have the opportunity of a public hearing the before the board at least 10 days after notice of such charges. (April 6, 1933)no07apr33

Three-story, frame residence on E. Edenton Street burns. The 4:48 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 15. Three lines and 1,300 feet of hose are used. (December 5, 1933)rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1933 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis B. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, 412 E Worth corner Fayetteville - R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1934

Residence at 824 Brooklyn (?) burns. The 1:36 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 950 feet of hose are used. (July 23, 1934)rfd

Residence at 505 E. Davie Street burns. The 11:10 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 212. Four lines and 1,800 feet of hose are used. (October 29, 1934)rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1934 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis B. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, 412 E Worth corner Fayetteville - R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1935

Civil Service Protection granted to Raleigh firemen. General Assembly passes a law creating a civil service commission for the city's firefighters and police officers. This ends the practice of patronage hiring, such as when candidates for City Commissioner rewarded campaign supporters with jobs or promotions in the fire department. The old system also resulted in the firing of firemen who supported losing candidates in municipal elections. The bill is titled "An Act to Create a Civil Service Commission for the Fire Department and Police Department of the City of Raleigh and to Provide the Necessary Machinery and Rules for the Organization and Operation of Said Civil Service Commission and [ Fire and Police ] Departments." It requires creation of a five-member Civil Service Commission. They are granted full charge of hiring and dismissing members of the fire department. Competitive examinations are now required for employment. Promotions will be made by the Fire Chief, with approval of the commission. Appointments to Fire Chief will be made by the Public Safety Commissioner, also with approval of the commission. Dismissals require cause, and include the opportunity for an open hearing to defend the charges. Political activity, other than exercising the right to vote, is prohibited. (March 1, 1935)yb12

Efird's Department at 210 Fayetteville Street burns. Largest fire since City Auditorium blaze. Several people injured. Damage of approximately $250,000. Fire apparently breaks out in basement storeroom near Salisbury Street entrance and directly beneath the office. About 75 customers and 60 clerks are in the store at the time the fire is discovered. Firefighters direct their initial efforts toward rescue, raising ladders and carrying down clerks who fled to the office on the mezzanine floor on the Salisbury Street side. Nearly thirty minutes are required to make entrance at a garbage elevator shaft leading from the Salisbury Street sidewalk to the basement, as firefighters batter the doors. Hose lines number a dozen, at times carried atop the Grant store building and which is protected from the flames by a heavy fire wall. The 4:30 p.m. fire attracts thousands of spectators from the business district. All policemen on duty are called to the scene, to help with crowd control. Traffic is stopped, too, on Fayetteville and Salisbury Streets. Four former Fire Chiefs assist, John W. Mangum, Charles D. Farmer, Sherwood Brockwell, and Hubert H. Horton. Volunteers also help and even Reverend J. Randall Farris, of the Hillyer Memorial Church, is seen dragging a line of hose. The 4:55 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Eight lines and 4,950 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick building. [MF] (March 25, 1935)rfd

Dixie Building at 420 Fayetteville Street burns. The 3:00 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Four lines and 2,200 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick building. (May 13, 1935)rfd

Cameron park Apartments at 1213 Hillsboro Street burn. The 10:30 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 341. Four lines and 2,100 feet of hose are used on the three-story, brick building. (May 31, 1935)rfd

Two-story, frame residence at 305 W. Jones Street burns. The 12:45 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 422. Four lines and 1,600 feet of hose are used. (June 9, 1935)rfd

Mattress factory at Central Prison at 835 W. Morgan Street destroyed by fire. Fire is discovered about 3:30 p.m. at the one-story, frame building located several hundred feet from the main building. Destroyed are a quantity of wheat straw, five bales of mattress material, and 120 mattresses. Total damages amount to less than $1,000. Male prisoners gather to watch and some assist Raleigh firefighters. The 3:35 p.m. alarm is received y telephone. Three lines and 750 feet of hose are used. (August 1, 1935)no02aug35, rfd

Crosby-Garfield School at 568 E. Lenoir Street burns. The 3:18 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 242. Five lines and 3,150 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick school. [MF] (November 22, 1935)rfd

One-story frame residence at 728 Nash Drive burns. The 8:45 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,800 feet of hose are used. (December 20, 1935)rfd

Just after Christmas, “on account of several days of sub-freezing temperature,” the City Commissioners agrees to permit ice skating on Lake Howell at Pullen Park, with police supervision. Years later, former Fire Chief Jack Keeter recalls that the temperature dropped “below zero” and stayed there. The ice wasn’t thick but it provided a base. The fire department... dumped an inch of water over the thin coating of ice; it froze solid overnight and they repeated the process two or three times until there was a safe depth of ice over the entire lake. Hundreds of people ice-skated; onlookers made bonfires out of railroad crossties near the lake. (December, 1935)pph


Hill's city directory dated 1935 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis B. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, 412 E Worth corner Fayetteville - R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1936

Staudt's Bakery at 1205 Harrison Avenue burns. The 10:11 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 341. Three lines and 1,150 feet of hose are used on the two-story, brick bakery. (February 20, 1936)rfd

Apparatus delivery: 1936 American LaFrance 400 Series pumper, placed in service as Engine 1. Photos and more information. (July- August, 1936)alf

Motor Service Company burns. The 8:05 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 312. Seven lines and 3,500 feet of hose are used on the three-story, cement building.[MF]  (July 20, 1936)rfd

Fire department hosts 49th annual North Carolina Fireman's Association convention. The four-day program opens at Memorial Auditorium and concludes with a motorized apparatus tournament on Oberlin Road at Fire Station 5. Chief W. Ernest Holland is elected President of the association and is the first Raleigh firefighter to hold the title. (August 10, 1936)no09aug32, no10aug32, no11aug32, no12aug32

Seaboard Air Line Railway shop at 201 W. Johnson Street burns. Early morning blaze destroys old roundhouse after discovery about 4:30 a.m. Building is called the back shop since its abandonment years ago as a roundhouse. Lost machinery and equipment is estimated at least $10,000. Four lines and 2,000 feet of hose are used on the one-story, brick structure. The 4:35 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 421. (December 8, 1936)no09dec36, rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1936 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis D.. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan -R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, E Worth corner Fayetteville - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1937

The Gateway on Highway 15-A, two miles south of Raleigh destroyed by fire. Alarm is sound at 12:15 a.m. for the Carolina Pines roadhouse. All occupants escape and a dog is rescued later by firefighters and police officers. Raleigh fire truck responds but is unable to pump water from a pond near the fire. The building burns to the ground by 2:00 a.m. Scores of couples attending a dance at Memorial Auditorium ending at midnight are also attracted to the scene as the sky is brilliantly lighted by the scene and visible for several miles. (January 30, 1937)no31jan37

Residence on Ridge Road near Meredith College campus burns to ground. At the time firefighters answer morning alarm from fire station three miles away, fires are confined to basement. No fire hydrants, however, prevent firefighters from doing more than helping to remove furniture from the home and throwing chemicals on a nearby residence to prevent it from catching fire. (March 17, 1938)no18mar38

Booster pumping used for first time after fire destroys residence just outside city limits. Home of George W. Mordecai on Wake Forest Road has second-story destroyed. First floor saved after two-hour fight. The blaze was discovered shortly before 3 p.m. Fire Chief W.E. Holland arrived with two companies after the first alarm was telephoned in. The home was located at the intersection of Wake Forest and Whitaker Mill roads, approximately one mile from the city limits. Because of lacking water supply, firemen ran one two-inch hose from an oil plant 300 yards away, utilizing booster pumps at both ends of the line. One pumper was parked at the oil plant, another was parked at the house. Members of the Mordecai family and their servants were home when the fire was discovered. (June 3, 1937)no

Carolina Tractor at 733 W. Hargett Street burns. Four lines and 2,500 feet of hose are used on the one-story, brick building. The 9:47 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. (December 9, 1937)rfd


Hill's city directory dated 1937 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis D.. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan -R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, E Worth corner Fayetteville - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1938

Fire Chief's report for January: Forty-one alarms answered with total damages of $1,510. Buildings and contents at risk valued at $25,975 with total insurance on same $17,650. Out of the 41 alarms, 16 were false and 7 unnecessary. Two of the calls requested aid outside of the city limits. Twenty-two alarms came by telephone and 19 from alarm boxes. Fires were extinguished using 72 feet of ladders and 2,270 feet of hose. Pumps were operated for 40 minutes. rt01feb38

Paper warehouse on Concord Street destroyed by fire. Early morning fire attracts several thousand spectators shortly before midnight. Hundreds of bales of waste paper are still burning in the morning. Raleigh firefighters answer the call and lay two lines, though the warehouse is located over a half-mile from the City limits. Despite availability of water lines serving nearby residences, building burns to ground. Blazing warehouse is within a few yards of the Atlantic Refining Company's storage plant, but a strong northeast wind fans flames away from the tanks and the gasoline is never in danger. (February 1, 1938)no02feb38, rt02feb38

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) local chapter 548 chartered. At the time of application, dated February 4, the Temporary President was K. J. Smith and the Temporary Secretary was R. G. Davis. They soon elected the first officers: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Secretary-Treasurer, and Chaplain. The first president was Robert Glenn Davis. There were twenty-one charter members:

  • J. M. Burnette
  • E. L. Knight
  • K. J. Smith
  • V. G. Mims
  • W. R. Butts
  • J. G. Harrison
  • O. K. Ellen
  • J. B. Ledbetter
  • R. G. Wiggs
  • D. E. Caudle
  • U. N. Ennis
  • C. D. Mills
  • T. M. Poole
  • R. T. Bray
  • J. T. White
  • R. G. Davis
  • J. R. Marshall
  • P. E. Nordon
  • P. L. Abevette
  • E. G. McGee
  • J. R. King.

The charter fee was $10.00 and dues were $1.00 per month for active members. (by May 1, 1938)rpffa records, chb

Tower at Station 1 demolished. For years the city has wanted to demolish the combination bell, hose, and training tower, which is several inches off-center. Considered cost-prohibitive, the demolition finally proceeds during construction of an addition to the adjacent Revenue Building. Contractor H. L. Coble can’t get his trucks through the seven-foot alley between the buildings, so the wrecking job is performed for free. (March, 1938)no04mar38

Sir Walter Shoe Shop downtown burns. Fire spreads to basement of Capitol Restaurant next door. Flames also make their way upward and through the walls to the "cleaning establishment of Gus Russo." (Monday of or before April 4, 1938)rt04apr38

Three-story frame building at 422 S. Dawson Street burns. The 1:12 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 550 feet of hose are used. (April 7, 1938).rfd

Washington High School For Negroes at 1000 Fayetteville Road damaged by fire. Raleigh's largest school is unoccupied at the time of the fire, "discovered at 9 p.m." Fire sweeps across a major portion of the roof, sections of which have collapsed by the time the fire is brought under control "shortly before 11 o'clock." Cause of fire is unknown and apparently starts "on the top floor of the three-story building." Fire Chief W. E. Holland suffers a "dangerous cut on his right wrist" and is taken to Rex Hospital where he receives "three stitches" before returning to the fire. "Great billows of black smoke rose as the tar burned furiously" and "smoke hung low, and, swept by a light easterly breeze, settled over nearby State Highway 15-A, endangering traffic." Four pumpers pour "thousands of gallons of water" into the burning structure. Firemen experience "considerable trouble with bursting hose." One hose parts "near a group of Negro spectators, knocking one woman to the ground and drenching about a dozen others." The 4:05 p.m. (?)alarm is received by telephone. Four lines and 4,060 feet of hose are used in the three-story, brick structure. (November 3, 1938)no04nov38, rfd

Barbee Bonded Warehouse building at northeast corner of Wilmington and Lenoir streets burns. Fire starts about 11:45 p.m. and the roof collapses before firemen can "train a hose on it." The entire contents of the warehouse are destroyed, "about 180 bales of cotton belonging to Parker Brothers and Company." The fire is brought under control "shortly before 1 o'clock." Four fire trucks respond to the 11:49 p.m. alarm, which is transmitted from box 27. Three lines and 2,050 feet of hose are used. (November 12, 1938)no13nov38, rfd


News & Observer article dated February 15 notes "city has eight motorized units, the latest one purchased two years ago at a cost of $13,500"

Hill's city directory dated 1938 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - tel 414
  • Chief - W. Ernest Holland
  • First Assistant Chief - Earlie B. Smith
  • Second Assistant Chief - Ellis D.. King
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan -R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - W. Ralph Butts, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, E Worth corner Fayetteville - John G. Harrison, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - Alvin B. Lloyd, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.

1939

Ammon's Clothing Store at 235 Fayetteville Street burns, a one-story brick building. The 6:46 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Nine lines and 450 feet of hose are used. [MF] (March 23, 1939).rfd

Fire Chief W. E. Holland "confined by illness." Second Assistant Chief Ellis D. King assume duties. (Spring 1939)no08apr39

Florist shop at Polk and Watauga Streets burns. The 7:20 p.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,800 feet of hose are used. (April 2, 1939)rfd

Ellis D. King appointed sixth Fire Chief, serves 1939-1941. King joined the fire department in 1921. He succeeds Chief Holland. (May 4 or 11, 1939)cm

Norfolk-Southern Railroad maintenance shop in Glenwood Yards on Sunrise Avenue destroyed by fire. Fire breaks out at 11:45 a.m. but is under control by 12:15 p.m. Raleigh's biggest fire in months, fueled by burning oil and grease, produces tall columns of smoke, attracting hundreds of residents to the Roanoke Park section of the city. Three locomotives are damaged. Total damage is estimated at $31,000. The 11:47 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 2,000 feet of hose are used. (May 18, 1939)

Raleigh Burlap Bag Company building at 420 S. Salisbury Street burns. Three people, "trapped by flames and smoke in their second-story apartment," are rescued.. Lieutenant K. G. Smith "from Station No. 1" mounts a ladder erected "as the fire truck arrived" and assists Miss Dorothy Gottlieb, 18, her father, Joseph M. Gottlieb, 44, and maid, Hattie Dixon, down the ladder. Screams of the two women "awakened a number of guests in the Sir Walter Hotel, half a block away." Blaze is discovered at 2:35 a.m. Damage to the building is estimated at $400. The 2:18 a.m. (?)alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,250 feet of hose are used at the two-story, brick building. (May 24, 1939)no24may04, rfd

Apartment building at Hillsboro and St. Mary's street burns, a three-story, brick building. The 3:30 a.m. alarm is transmitted from box 38. Three lines and 1,800 feet of hose are used. (June 7, 1939).rfd

Apartments at 322 S. Blount street burns, a two-story, brick building. The 1:25 p.m. alarm is transmitted from box 215. Three lines and 1,450 feet of hose are used. (June 24, 1939)rfd

Neiman's Jewelry Store burns. Alarm is received 7:45 p.m. during torrential downpour that disrupts traffic and telephone service. Damage is between $1,000 and $2,000. Can of benzene cleaning fluid stored under the store is apparently ignited by small welding torched used that day (July 20, 1939)no21jul39

News & Observer article dated July 19 notes motor vehicle inventory of City includes "five fire trucks" and "three other pieces of firefighting equipment (including one fire truck that won't work)" (July 19, 1939)

Seaboard Railroad commissary at 201 W. Johnson Street destroyed by fire. Blaze starts while employees are "firing a stove" in the cafe. Three railroad employees try "vainly to put out the blaze with hand extinguishers." Damage estimated at around $15,000. Building also contained general merchandise sold to railroad workers and district offices for the commissary company. Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to the roundhouse and other buildings. The fire was extinguished after two hours. The 1:57 a.m. alarm is received by telephone. Three lines and 1,150 feet of hose are used. (November 29, 1939)rfd

Apparatus delivery: 1939 American LaFrance Series 500 tractor with rebuilt 1916 American LaFrance Type 17 aerial ladder. Photos and more information. (by December 16, 1939)ccm


Hill's city directory dated 1939 summarizes department as:

  • Headquarters - 110-112 W. Morgan - dial 6514
  • Chief - Ellis D.. King
  • First Assistant Chief - W. Ralph Butts
  • Second Assistant Chief - Alvin B. Lloyd
  • Engine Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - Kenneth J. Smith, Captain
  • Aerial Truck Company No. 1 & Truck Company No. 1, 110 W. Morgan - Chas L Hayes, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 2, E Worth corner Fayetteville - R. Lee Matthews, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 3, 135 E. Hargett - W. Leonard Choplin, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 4, 505 Jefferson - John G. Harrison,, Captain
  • Engine Company No. 5, 1914 Park Dr. - Edward G. McGhee, Captain.



Abbreviations

[AA]   Aircraft accident
[AI]   Apparatus incident
[EF]   Early fire
[HM]   Haz-mat incident
[MA]   Mutual Aid
[MF]   Major fire
[RA   Railway accident
[TF]   Tanker fire
[TR]   Technical rescue
[UD]   USAR deployment
[UF]   Unusual fire
[UI]   Unusual incident
[WE]   Weather event

Sources

ar   City of Raleigh Annual Report
bd   City of Raleigh budget documents
cvh   Cameron Village: A History 1949-1999, Nan Hutchins, Sprit Press, 2001
cad City of Raleigh Auditor's Office
ccm / cm   City Council Minutes / City Minutes
ccor   1792-1892, The Centennial Celebration of Raleigh, NC, Kemp D. Battle, Edwards and Broughton, 1893
cer   Chief Engineer's Report
dah   North Carolina Department of Archives and History
dahni   North Carolina Department of Archives and History News and Observer index
fp   City of Raleigh Fire Protection Study
hr   Historical Raleigh with Sketches of Wake County and its Important Towns, Moss N. Amis, 1912
oh   Oral History
mp   Morning Post
nc   North Carolinian
no   News and Observer
noi   News and Observer Index
pb   Peter Brock
pph   Pullen Park History
rla   Raleigh Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary scrapbooks
rpu   Raleigh Fire Department Photo Unit records
rr   Raleigh Register
rt   Raleigh Times
ruh   Raleigh: An Unorthodox History
yb84   Raleigh Fire Department 1984, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 1984
yb02+   Raleigh Fire and Rescue: 1984-2002, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 2002, plus additional historical information also compiled by the Raleigh Fire Department around 2002.
wch   Wake: Capital County of North Carolina - Volume 1, Prehistory Through Centennial, Elizabeth Reid Murray, Capital County Publishing, 1983


Home

Search Mike Legeros

Copyright 2017 by Michael J. Legeros