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North Carolina's Capital City formed a full-time, fully-paid fire department in 1912. The volunteer fire companies were disbanded and the city assumed their horse-drawn equipment. Three hose companies were placed in service with three stations. By 1915, the fire department was fully motorized. In 1926, two more stations opened; in 1943, a sixth station was added. By 1950, the Raleigh Fire Department operated five engines, one aerial truck, one service truck, and a "squad."
Old Station 2
500 Fayetteville Street Mall
Opened 1932 / Closed 1969
Presently performing arts center
On August 14, 1932, a newly completed Memorial Auditorium was dedicated. The 4,000-seat, Greek Doric-designed structure included a two-bay fire station beneath the stage. Its predecessor, the City Auditorium, was destroyed by fire in October 1930.
The old City Auditorium was located adjacent to City Hall at the intersection of Fayetteville and Davie Streets. The blaze also destroyed many municipal papers including fire department records.
The fire station faced Fayetteville Street and both the stage and rear part of the building were designed for use as a fire school room and drill tower. Station 2 relocated there from 412 South Salisbury Street.
In August 1941, Station 1 moved into old Station 2. Due to limited space, both ladder trucks were moved to the auditorium, while Engine 2 was housed with Engine 1. In October 1953, a new Station 1 opened on South Dawson Street and Engine 2 was returned to service at Station 2.
On October 16, 1969, a new Station 2 opened at 263 Pecan Road. The old station space was most recently renovated in 2001, when the auditorium was expanded and reopened as the BTI Center For The Performing Arts.
Old Station 4
505 Jefferson Street
1926 / Closed 1964
Presently privately owned
On June 15, 1926, Raleigh's fourth fire station opened at 505 Jefferson Street. The 1,395-square-foot, single-story station was located in a neighborhood off Glenwood Avenue.
Engine 4 was placed in service with a 1920s American LaFrance pumper. It later operated a 1950 FWD pumper and a 1957 FWD pumper. Engine 4 also automatically responded to Station 1 to fill in whenever the downtown companies were dispatched to a fire.
In early 1963, construction was completed on three new fire stations: Station 9 at 4465 Six Forks Road, Station 8 at 5001 Western Boulevard, and a new Station 4 at 2913 Wake Forest Road.
Old Station 4 was sold at auction and remains privately owned. The building is also designated as a Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Old Station 4
2913 Wake Forest Road
1963 / Closed 1997
Presently commercial property
Engine 4 moved to 2913 Wake Forest Road on April 12, 1963. The 3,984-square-foot station also later housed one of the fire department's two 1960 GMC tankers.
On June 24, 1993, Station 4 relocated to 121 Northway Court. Old Station 4 was converted to a career center and also served as an office for the hazardous materials coordinator.
In April 1997, the facility closed. The building was subsequently sold.
Old Station 6
2519 Fairview Road
Opened 1943 / Closed 1948
Station 6 opened on March 3, 1943 in one
half of a rented building at 2519 Fairview Road. Built in 1936, the 4,400-square-foot commercial structure
also housed a pharmacy. Engine 6 was placed in service with a 1919 American LaFrance pumper purchased from Farmville, N.C.
In the summer of 1948, the city lost its lease and Engine 6 relocated to Station 5 on Park Drive. On July 25, 1949, a dedicated Station 6 opened a few doors down at 2602 Fairview Road.
The building presently houses a restaurant.
Old Station 8
1007 Method Road
Opened 1960 / Closed 1963
Presently grocery store
On March 31, 1960 at 11:55 p.m., two minutes after the City Council authorized an annexation in west Raleigh, Fire Chief Jack Keeter moved the second engine company at Station 1 to its new quarters at 903 Kent Road, presently addressed 1007 Method Road.
Engine 8 was placed in service with the crew and apparatus of Engine 9, a 1958 American LaFrance pumper. The rented residence also housed a tanker.
In February 1963, a dedicated station was completed at 5001 Western Boulevard.
Old Alarm House
Behind 220 South Dawson Street
1942 / Closed 1972
Presently used as weight room and storage
On August 12, 1941, construction started on a dedicated facility for the city's Gamewell electric-telegraph fire alarm system. The equipment had been housed at Station 1 on West Morgan Street until its demolition that summer.
Completed in 1942 and including materials salvaged from the old station, the 1,400-square-foot alarm house was erected in the rear of a lot purchased for a replacement Station 1. Due to a wartime shortage of materials and other reasons, the new fire station was not completed until 1953.
Beginning in 1965, the building also housed the fire department dispatchers. The "radio room" closed in the spring of 1972, when a new city/county emergency communications center assumed those duties.
The last box alarm was received on May 14, 1973. Within a year, the alarm system had been dismantled and the boxes, gongs, registers, and repeater were sold as surplus property.
263 Pecan Street
1969 / Closed 2004
Presently houses haz-mat apparatus
On October 16, 1969, a new Station 2 opened at 263 Pecan Street. The single-story building included a 1,395-square-foot repair shop in the rear, replacing earlier maintenance facilities at Memorial Auditorium.
On October 8, 2004, the fire department shop began moving into a new Support Services Center adjoining the city's Heavy Equipment Depot at 4120 New Bern Avenue.
The old garage presently houses haz-mat apparatus, relocated from Station 20 on November 5, 2004.
105 Keeter Center Drive
1954 / Demolished 2005
The fire department's first training tower was located at old Station 1 on West Morgan Street. Built in 1896, the tower and station were demolished in 1941.
In the summer of 1954, a new training tower was completed off Highway 15 South, now South Wilmington Street. The five-story, 2,000-square-foot structure included a standpipe system, safety net, and exterior escape.
Later additions to the grounds included fire pits and a smokehouse built from the bricks of old Station 5. Located at the present Keeter Training Center, the tower is slated for replacement. Demolition started on April 16, 2005.
Capital Hose House
One structure still standing from the Raleigh Fire Department's volunteer era is the original quarters of the Capital Hose Company at 117 West Morgan Street. The two-story brick building was constructed in 1887 in conjunction with the completion of a municipal water system. The first floor housed a hand-drawn hose reel on one side and the water company office on the other side. The second floor was a fireman's hall. The volunteer fire company moved across the street to 112 West Morgan Street in 1890. The 1,591 square-foot building is presently an office. The adjoining water tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other Early Fire Houses
Photos courtesy North
Carolina State Archives
original Station 1 at 112 West Morgan Street
opened in 1896. The two-story brick building
included a combination bell and hose tower and
originally housed the Rescue and Hook and Ladder
companies. Station 1 relocated to 412 South
Salisbury Street in 1941. The building was promptly
demolished, and the land sold to the state for an
addition to the adjacent Revenue Building. The
original Station 2 was located on
Fayetteville Street, on the Salisbury Street side of the courthouse lot.
Opened in 1870, the former Rescue Company quarters
were demolished in 1913. A second Station 2
at 412 South Salisbury Street opened in 1914. The
two-story structure closed in 1932 when Station 2
relocated to Memorial Auditorium. It reopened as Station 1
(left) in 1941, and closed again in 1953 when
Station 1 relocated to 220 South Dawson Street. The
original Station 3 was located at 135 East Hargett Street.
Built around 1898, the former Victor Company
quarters were demolished in 1952. Station 3
relocated to 13 South East Street one year earlier.
The original Station 5 (right) opened in 1926. Located at 1914 Park Drive, it closed in 1961
and was subsequently demolished by firefighters who
saved the bricks and soon built a smokehouse
adjacent to the training tower in south Raleigh.
Raleigh Fire Department
Raleigh Fire Department, Unofficial
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A version of this article was published on FireNews.net on April 17, 2005.