1919, mass meeting held in Town
Hall to discuss installation of water system. (February 2, 1919)th
1919, contract awarded for
construction of water system. (June 5, 1919) tm
1919, constructed started on water
system. Addition made to "power plant building" to
house "water plant." (August, 1919)th
1919, purchase authorized for 1500 feet of fire
hose from Euraka [sic] Fire Hose Co. at $1.10 [per foot?].
(November 3, 1919) tm
1920, purchase authorized for fire
hose from US Rubber Co. (July 6, 1920) tm
1920, Baptist Church on Sycamore
street burns during summer thunderstorm. Work is not
complete on the water system, but water is flowed in hopes of
saving the church. Both water and firefighting equipment are
inadequate and the structure burns to the ground. (summer 1920)th
1921, tax discount approved for all
members of the fire department, for amounts of "$7.50 on 1920
taxes and $15.00 on 1921 taxes." (January 3, 1921) tm
1921, purchase approved for $160.00
of "firefighting goods" for fire department. (January
12, 1921) tm
1921, purchase approved for "a
suitable whistle to be used for fire alarm." (February 7,
1921, penalty approved of $5.00 for
"anyone using fire hose and reels for purposes other than
firefighting or practice." (March 7, 1921) tm
1923, fire department consists of
one company of 15 volunteers and three stations. No
motorized apparatus. Alarm is sounded via whistle at Town
power plant on E. Vance Street, present Parks and Recreation
department has three stations and the
following apparatus and equipment: sm2, oh
Beside present location of Eva Liles residence.
||500 feet 2
1/2" cotton, rubber-lined hose (new)
||E. Horton St.
Present location of Town Council chambers.
||500 feet 2
1/2" cotton, rubber-lined hose (new)
hook and ladder
||two 2 1/2
gallon approved chemical extinguishers
Present location of Whitley Galleries showroom nearest
||450 feet 2
1/2" cotton, rubber-lined hose (new)
Water supply includes four miles of 6" and
8" water mains and 42 double hydrants.sm2
1924, contract approved
for concrete floor for firehouse. Cost $244.50. (February
4, 1924) tm
1924, penalty approved of $10 for
anyone entering firehouse unless a firefighter or Town officer. (May
12, 1924) tm
1924, installation of electric line
from power house to fire alarm on [water?] tank approved. at cost not
to exceed $250.00. (December 15, 1924) tm
1926, charter and ordinances of Town
amended to include "The Fire Committee shall have supervision of
all buildings to be erected in the fire district of the Town of
Zebulon, and shall make such rules and regulations which they may deem
wise for the prevention of fire within the corporate limits of said
town." (June 1, 1926) tm
1927 (?), charter and ordinances of
Town modified to include following sections for "Prevention of
Section 1. No chimney shall be
erected in town limits of any other material than brick or
stone. Any person offending against this section shall pay a
penalty of five dollars, and each day shall be a distinct and
Section 2. No person shall deposit
wood shavings or straw in any public place out of doors within
thirty feet of any building under a penalty of $5.00 for each
Section 3. No person shall erect
any building or make any additions, alterations or repairs to any
building within the fire district as herinafter designated without
first obtaining the written permission of the Board of
Alderman. The fire district shall be bounded by Sycamore
Street on the north and Barbee Avenue on the south and extended
400 feet from Arendell Avenue in either direction.
Section 4. It shall be unlawful for
any person to store any gasoline or kerosene within the fire
district, or any where within the town limits within less than one
hundred feet to any building, provided, this restriction shall not
apply to standard underground gasoline tanks with the approved
safety appliances. Any person violating this ordinance shall
pay a penalty of $10.00 and each day's violation shall constitute
a separate offense.
Section 5. It shall be unlawful for
any person, firm or corporation to install any new electrical
apparatus or wiring, or to add to or repair any electrical
apparatus or wiring already installed without first obtaining a
written permit from the Light Superintendent. Any person,
firm or corporate failing to comply with this ordinance shall pay
a fine of not more than $5.00.
Section 6. No person, firm or
corporate shall perform any electrical work of any sort in the
Town of Zebulon without first obtaining from the Electrical
Inspector of said Town a permit to perform such work.
Section 7. Any person, firm or
corporate before erected in the Town of Zebulon any building,
shall first obtaining from the Building Committee of said town a
permit, for which a fee of $1.00 shall be charged.
Section 8. That no one shall use
the fire hose or reels for any purpose other than practice under a
penalty of $5.00.
Section 9. That the fire district
be changed as follows in Block 17 and 22 on Arendell Avenue
between Horton and Sycamore Streets, to extend 200 feet east and
200 feet west of Arendell Avenue.
Section 10. That any person
breaking open the fire hose houses unless a member of the fire
company, in case of fires, shall do so under a penalty of $10.00.
Section 11. That any person driving
over the fire hose while the same is in use or in any way
interfering with the fire hose or equipment while in use by the
fire department, shall do so under penalty of $5.00.
Section 12. That any person who
shall use anything in place of fuse for electrical purposes in any
residence, or place of business, does so under a penalty of $1.00.
Section 13. That the members of the
fire company shall receive $20.00 per year as compensation for
their services. Any member being absent from either practice
of in case of fire, shall forfeit $2.00 of this fee for each
Section 14. That is shall be
unlawful for any one, except he be a town officer or member of the
Fire Department, to enter the firehouse, unless on invitation of
some member of the Fire Company, under a penalty of $5.00.
Section 15. That any person using
the fire hose or reel for any other purpose than fighting fire or
in practice, shall do so under a penalty of $5.00. That any
member of the Fire Company absent from service, shall do so
without good excuse, under penalty of $2.00.
School in Zebulon burns. The building, located in
"district No. 4, Little River Township, white race," is
destroyed by an early Wednesday morning fire. Discovered in the
basement, the $60,000 conflagration consumes both the building and its
entire contents. Zebulon's fire department and a truck from Raleigh
respond to the 4:00 a.m. alarm. The lack of a sufficient water supply
prevent firefighters from saving the structure. The two-story, brick
building was built two years ago to "relieve congestion" in
the older school building. Zebulon is located 20.73 miles from
Raleigh. References: "The Raleigh Times," November 14, 1928
Wake County Board of Commissioners Minutes, November 22, 1928.
(November 14, 1928)
1928, first fire
truck purchased by Town. 1928 Ford Model A/American
LaFrance combination chemical and hose truck. One-ton chassis
converted to fire engine by firefighters. Equipped with one 40-gallon
chemical tank.th, zfd
1944, fire department summarized as
partly paid department
one chief, partly paid
one driver, partly paid
five men partly paid and three
one Ford motor hose truck, 700' 2
one hand reel, 350' hose
45' of ladders
one fire station
no alarm system
alarm by siren at city water tank
and by telephone.sm1
station is located south side of W. Horton Avenue, west of Arendell
purchase: 1948 Mack Type 45 pumper, 500/150, purchased new for
1950, bonds issued totaling $50,000 for
construction of municipal building, with space for fire station.
building constructed at 111 E. Vance Street with ground floor space
for offices, jail, and fire station. The Town Hall and
court room are located on the second floor. Fire station
consists of two bays. fdr, th
1953, rural fire department formed,
organized as project sponsored by Zebulon Farm Bureau with Robert Ed
Horton, Bureau Secretary, in charge. Incorporated at Zebulon Rural
Fire Department Inc. (February 2, 1953) sos
1953, rural apparatus
International/______ pumper-tanker, 500/750. Cost $10,000. Funds obtained in drive conducted
by Zebulon Farm Bureau as project in "Finer Carolina"
contest sponsored by Carolina Power and Light company. (November 1953)
1953, dedication of rural department's
first fire truck held at Municipal Building. (October 3,
1958, (Town? Rural?) Fire Chief is
Willie B. Hopkins. wcfa
housing Raper Tractor and Implement Company and Wakelon Fertilizer
Company burns. Fire starts about 9:00 p.m. and is brought under
control by 11:00 p.m. Both Zebulon and Wendell fire departments
respond. A crowd estimated at over 1,000 people gathers by 10:30
p.m. to watch. Fire is prevented from spreading to nearby
Wakelon Grain Company. Total losses expected to run over
$500,000. Three firemen are injured, including a Wendell
firefighter who is rushed to the Wendell-Zebulon hospital with a cut
artery in his left land. (June 17, 1961) rt, no18jun61
building and adjacent Wenlon Supply Company in Lizard Lick burns.
Fire is discovered about 1:00 a.m. from window of owner's
home across Highway 64 bypass. Firefighters from Zebulon, Wendell, and
Knightdale keep fire from spreading to two nearby dwellings. Charred remains of a body are discovered just inside the storage
building about 2:00 a.m. Identity of individual is not
immediately known. (March 23?, 1964) no23?mar64
1965, Hepler's Auto Supply downtown burns. Fire
is discovered about 8:40 p.m. and are contained after "two hours
of hard firefighting" notes Fire Chief Willie B. Hopkins. Help is summoned from Wendell, which sends a pumper. "That
Wendell truck was a blessing to us," notes the Chief," there
was a lot of rubber and paint in the building, and that makes a fire
rough to fight under the best conditions." Also hampering
firefighting efforts is the weather, which freezes the water on the
firefighters closings and a supply of shotgun shells and rifle bullets
stored in Hepler's store. "They were going off like
fireworks," Hopkins says. No flames reach the office of Dr. Perry
Grogan, but the heat and smoke ruin equipment and destroy some
records. Smoke damage is also suffered by Zebulon Furniture
Company, which shares a wall with the recapping room, where the fire
starts. About 30 or 40 volunteers help the store owner move
furniture away from the wall. Damage is estimated at $100,000 for all
businesses affected. (January 17, 1965) no18jan65
1969, Zebulon Gin
Company on Wakefield Street burns twice. First fire
starts in "lint house" at 11:30 a.m. but does little
damage. Second fire destroys all cotton in the "molt
house" just after 3:00 p.m. (January 10, 1966) no11jan66
1968, five die in house
fire. Blaze occurs three miles east of
Zebulon. Fire truck arrives eight minutes after alarm. House already burned to ground. Grandmother and four great
grandchildren killed. Great aunt escapes after jumping through
window. (Sunday before January 18, 1968) glf18jan68
1969, three downtown buildings burn. Fire is
reported about 1:30 a.m. at Theo P. Davis and Sons print shop and is
brought under control at 5:30 a.m., though firefighters remain on the
scene through the day guarding the smoldering ruins. Fire is
apparently started when cleaning fluid being used by a print shop
employee ignites. With his clothing on fire, Daniel Stancil runs
to the police station where officers extinguish the blazing attire and
send him to the Zebulon branch hospital. He's later transferred
to Duke Hospital. Some 35 firefighters, including 15 from
Wendell, battle the blaze in subfreezing temperatures and with a brisk
wind fanning the flames. Two buildings occupied by the print
shop are destroyed, a third adjoining building used by the Bargain
Center department store is also destroyed, and a fourth building,
occupied by Zebulon Furniture Company, is damaged. Losses are
estimated at $750,000. (November 15, 1969) no16nov69
1971 (?), town
apparatus purchase: 1972 Ford/Howe pumper, 750/500. fdr, wcfa
1974, new fire station constructed at 113 E. Vance
Street. Building consists of seven apparatus bays,
classroom area with kitchenette, and bathrooms. One bay is
utilized by Zebulon Rescue Squad from 1974 to 1977.fdr
1974 (?), rural
apparatus purchase: 1977 Ford/FMC/Bean pumper, 750/750.fdr, wcfa
(?), circa, apparatus
delivery: 1974 International mini-pumper, 450/250.
apparatus sale: 1946
Mack is sold for $750 to a town resident. He subsequently
restores it for parade use. oh
1978 (?), rural
apparatus purchase: 1978 Ford/FMC/Bean tanker,
450/1200. Cost $30,482.52.fdr, wcfa
1979 (?), town
apparatus purchase: 1979 Chevrolet/FMC/Bean pumper,
1000/750. Cost $50,000.fdr
apparatus purchase: 1960
Ford tanker, 500/1200, converted from state department of
transportation fuel truck.fdr,
apparatus purchase: 197_ GMC tanker, 0/1500,
converted from fuel oil delivery truck. Replaces 1960 Ford tanker.fdr
1983, Whitley Furniture
Gallery at 100 W. Vance Street burns. Blaze
begins about 10:45 p.m. in snack room for employees on ground floor of
two-story brick building. Passing police officer sounds alarm. The
fire starts in the snack room. Firefighters from Wendell, Knightdale,
and Hopkins helped bring the blaze under control by 1:30 a.m. (January 7, 1983) rt, no08jan83, zr
1984, rural apparatus purchase: 1984
mini-pumper, 250/250. Cost $50,000. Replaces 1974 International brush
1985, town creates Supplemental
Retirement Program funded from Relief Fund appropriations to provide
additional retirement income to (Town? Town and Rural?) firefighters.fdr
1985, town department starts annual
Fireman of the Year program.fdr
1987, Wakelon Agri
Products on W. Vance Street burns. Firefighters work
on and off for a day and half extinguishing blaze. Fire first
reported at 1:41 a.m. after police officer spots smoke. Both
Town and Rural fire departments respond. Fire is
initially extinguished at 4:30 a.m., but rekindles when company
workers begin digging out debris. (March 6, 1987) zr
1987, mobile home at 311
Stronach Ave. burns. Two residents are killed, a
mother and child. Cause of death is extensive burns. Fire
is reported at 5:01 a.m. but firefighters are unable to rescue
occupants as trailer is fully involved upon arrival of first fire
truck at 5:05 a.m. Cause of fire is believed to be pan of hot
grease left on stove around 4 a.m., prior to residents going to sleep.
(July 12, 1987) rt
station remodeled. Original classroom space removed and
additional apparatus bay space added.fdr
apparatus purchase: 1987 Grumman aerial fund, 1500/250/102-feet. Cost $400,000, drawn from
reserve fund started last year when Glaxo underwent voluntary
annexation. Delivered November 19, 1987. fdr, zr
1988, rural department starts annual
Fireman of the Year award program.fdr
apparatus purchase: 1988 GMC/FMC pumper/tanker,
1000/1000. Cost $107,229. Replaces 1953
1989, Town departments begins per-call
1990, fire station
expanded. Offices, storage rooms, and day room
area added. Existing office space converted to additional
1990, town hires first
1991, rural apparatus
modification: Chevrolet mini-pumper body remounted onto
1991 Chevrolet chassis.fdr
1992, use of siren on Town water tank
discontinued by decision of Town Board. (Monday before April 9, 1992)fdr,
1992, town hires second
full-time firefighter, the Fire Chief.fdr
1992, rural apparatus purchase: 1992 GMC tanker,
0/2000. Cost $131,179. Replaces 1970's Chevrolet tanker.fdr
1992, town receives ISO
upgrade to Class 5 within corporate limits. Former rating is
Auto Parts on East Vance Street destroyed by fire. Arson later
suspected. (April 4, 1993)
1994, fire departments begin responding
to all vehicle accidents with injuries, regardless of severity.fdr
strike town on Zebulon around dinner time. Storm destroys or
damages 100 homes and causes only minor injuries. Mutual aid to the town
includes the Raleigh Fire Department, which sends Engine 13 on special
assignment. (April 15, 1996)mjl-blog
1996, Fire station roof is
blown off during Hurricane Fran. Lands in parking
lot next door. (September 6, 1996)fdr
1996, town hires third
1996, town assumes
responsibility for fire code enforcement in Town Planning Department's
1996, rural apparatus
mini-pumper body remounted onto 1996 Ford Chassis.fdr
apparatus purchase: 1997
Pierce Saber pumper, 1500/500. Cost $249,807. Replaces 1979 Chevrolet pumper.fdr
apparatus purchase: 1997
Freightliner/EEI pumper-tanker, 1500/1250. Cost
$200,861. Replaces 1974 Ford Pumper and 1978 Ford tanker.fdr
Wholesale and Salvage at 124 W. Vance Street burns. Both of
Zebulon's fire departments battle the eight-hour blaze along with
Wendell, Knightdale, and Hopkins. Damages are estimated at $100,000,
though the fire is prevented from spreading to other buildings. Over
100,000 gallons of water is used. (May 29, 1998)fdr
1998, town hires fourth
1999, fire departments begin compensating
one volunteer to stay overnight at fire station.fdr
1999, rural department begins providing
First Responder service.
2000, town and rural fire departments merge.fdr
2000, fire department assumes
responsibility for vehicular extrication after Zebulon Rescue Squad
moves to provide only patient care.fdr
2000, fifth and sixth full-time
firefighters hired. 24 hour coverage begins with one person per
2000, sleeping quarters
added to fire station.fdr
nightclub burns. Thad's Studio 39 gutted in early-morning
blaze. Fire takes two hours to extinguish. (Friday before November 24,
2001, fire department receives ISO
upgrade to Class 3 within corporate limits and Class 3/9 in County
2002, seventh full-time firefighter
Part II - Additional Notes -
2007 - Apparatus deliveries:
2008 - New patch adopted. (Summer-Fall 2008)
2009 - Apparatus deliveries:
2009 - Apparatus note:
Ladder 95 removed from service,
sent to KME for rehab.
2010 - Apparatus delivery:
Ladder 95 returns from rehab.
Delivered July 6, 2010.
2013 - Christopher C. Perry appointed as Fire Chief.
Formerly Asst. Director of Emergency Services for Johnston County, and
volunteer Assistant Chief in Zebulon since 1998. His father Fire Chief
Sidney Perry retired February 2013.
2013 - Apparatus delivery:
2009 Pierce Contender
Formerly Wake Forest Tanker 2, delivered to
Zebulon FD on October 1, 2013. Repainted and re-lettered and placed in
service as Pumper 92 shortly after November 5, 2013. The truck includes
a plaque reading "This truck is dedicated to the members of the Falls
Fire Department who served the citizens of the Falls Community from 1970
to 2012 and where this truck originally served as Tanker 217. Dedicated
by the Zebulon Fire Department, November 2013."
2013 - Apparatus note:
Freightliner/EEI, old Pumper 93, sold to Welton FD in Iowa, circa June 2013.
Part III - More History
Zebulon's Ladder Getting
January 28, 2010 -
Where’s Zebulon’s ladder truck these days, you ask?
It’s being refurbished by KME, and has been at the factory since
November. The project cost approximately $260,000, exclusively town
funded. KME was awarded the job because they operate the Grumman
plant where the truck was originally constructed.
Ladder 95 is a 1987 Grumman Aerial Cat, 102-foot
platform with a 1,500 GPM pump. It was the first aerial apparatus in
the county1, and was bought after Glaxo pharmaceuticals built a
plant in town.
The majority of the refurbishments are mechanical or
safety-related. Below is the expected work list, though that could
change as major unexpected costs could result in removed items. Note
also that cab work is minor. Wendell is currently providing aerial
coverage to the town. The apparatus is expected back in April or
Remove ladder, turntable, console, valve bank.
Disassemble ladder, sandblast, inspect, paint and reassemble.
Includes new wires, cables and hoses in ladder sections.
recertification, and proof load test.
Replace current hydraulic
hoses, clean and re-seal reservoir, new hydraulic oil.
aerial lift cylinders.
Rebuild slave cylinders.
Remove outriggers and cylinders, sand blast,
inspect and paint.
Rebuild down jack cylinders and/or extension
Rebuild ladder extension cylinders.
controlled nozzle (from lower stations) on platform. Current nozzle
Install IQAN outrigger and ladder control system (auto
Add rubber grip to all handles.
New ladder intercom with radio interface.
Spot/Flood light upgrade.
New style swing motor (controlling left
to right movement, more precise).
Additional access steps on
Redo/rework braking system.
Complete engine service.
Replace west-coast side
view mirrors with newer style with better coverage.
LED lighting package (warning and DOT).
Three-point seat belt installation (replacing
current lap belts).
Repaint, re-stripe, re-letter.
Gear box overhaul.
Replace steel tank with poly tank.
Zebulon Fire Chief Named Fire Chief of the Year
February 8, 2012 -
At the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs'
Mid-Winter Conference, Zebulon Fire Chief Sidney Perry received the
2012 Career Fire Chief of the Year Award. It was presented by Wilson
Fire Chief Don Oliver, who was last year's recipient. The 2012
Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year was awarded to Fire Chief Freddy
Johnson of the Stoney Point Fire Department in Cumberland County.
Chief Perry, shown below with his son Asst. Chief
Chris Perry, is currently the longest-serving member of the Zebulon
Fire Department with 44 years and counting. He served as Asst. Chief
from 1978 to 1980, and as Fire Chief from 1980 to present. He was
the town's first career Fire Chief, and has transformed the fire
department from an all-volunteer organization to an ISO Class 3/9
rated department with 14 career members and 16 volunteers.
Over the course of his career, he's served as
President, Vice President, and Secretary of the Wake County
Firefighters Association. He's held many positions on committees
with the Wake County Fire Commission. He's also served on the North
Carolina State Firemen's Association board in 1988.
addition to his extensive fire service participation, his community
involvement has included serving the town of Zebulon as a police
officer, public works employee, and Public Safety Director for Fire
and Police. Before his appointment as a career fire chief, he served
the town for many years as a U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier.
He's served in the North Carolina National Guard, and is very active
with the Zebulon Baptist Church
He has also inspired his sons
Chris and Adam, who have both pursued careers in the fire service.
They're members of the Johnston County Fire Marshal's office and the
Raleigh Fire Department, respectively.
Chris Perry Named as New Zebulon Fire Chief
January 2, 2013 -
Zebulon Town Manager Rick Hardin has selected
Christopher C. Perry to be the next Zebulon Fire Chief. He will
assume his duties on March 1, 2013. Chief Sidney Perry, absolute
relation, will be retiring February 28, 2013. Chris Perry has been a
member of Zebulon FD since 1986, when he joined as a volunteer. He
was hired the town's first full-time firefighter in 1990. He was
promoted to Captain in 1992 and to Assistant Chief in 1998. He has
held that rank since that date.
Chief Perry worked for Wake County Fire Services
from 1992 to 2008. He was one of the original three members assigned
to WC1, and later supervised the program. His last position was
Chief Deputy Fire Marshal, responsible for WC1 and fire department
assistance. In 2008, he moved to Johnston County and was hired as
Fire Marshal. In 2010, he was promoted to Asst. Director of
Emergency Services. The position still included his role as Fire
He's also currently serving as the Second Vice
President on the North Carolina Fire Marshal's Association, and has
served on the board of the Wake County Firefighters Association for
Links and Sources
See Wake County Fire Chiefs
County apparatus register (pdf).
Raleigh Fire Museum photo albums.
Last updated: September 30, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Michael J. Legeros