Last updated: October 20, 2020
Before 1980 | After 1980
- July-October 2020
Numerous and ongoing updates.
- April 2017
Updates on Rescue 2 history.
- March 2017
Still more updates, formatting, link to fleet history.
- February 2017
Adding two-alarm and other major fires, of
Adding more detailed information about
apparatus deliveries, companies in service, and truck/company
- January 2017
Continuing general updates started late last
See also Western Wake County fire departments family tree -
Cary Lumber Company burns.
Cary's largest building
burns. Grist mill and office building owned by F. R. Gray
and Brother contains the Gray Brothers grist mill, two flour mills
and one corn mill, a cotton gin, private offices, the post office,
two store rooms, a coffin establishment, three lodge halls, and
the Episcopal chapel. The Raleigh Fire Department is
summoned, and Fire Chief Frank Simpson brings the horse-drawn
and hose on a special train. (February 25, 1908)no26feb08
Demographics. Town has
645 people and 1.00 (?) square mile.
Western Wake Highway completed, linking Cary and
Raleigh. (August 20, 1920)
Town makes arrangements with Raleigh for "a
fire truck and crew of firemen to answer any alarms for fire
within the Town of Cary." (June 8, 1921)cb
First fire inspector appointed, Lloyd Matthews,
for Town to comply with State laws. (March 14, 1922)cb
First fire company organized after Town Alderman
appoint L. A. Cathey to organize same, so the town no longer has
to rely solely on neighboring fire departments for help. Town Board also
passes resolution to purchase fire engine. (June 6, 1922)cb
First fire engine purchase. Bid accepted for purchase
of first fire truck from American LaFrance Fire Engine
Company. (October 23, 1922)cb
Fire fire engine delivered.
American LaFrance chemical engine on Ford Model-T
one-ton chassis, equipped with two 35-gallon chemical tanks.
Registration #F-849, ship order #75740. (February 7,
First Fire Chief appointed, H. H. Waddell, with
D. C. Page serving as Assistant Chief. (May 1, 1923)cb
First firehouse, metal garage for
housing fire engine, purchased from C. D. Pruden
Corporation of Baltimore, Maryland. The location was described in
1935 as a "more remote location" from the main part of
town. (Spring 1923)cb
First water lines and fire hydrants placed in
Second fire engine purchased
from Nash Motor Company. Cost $1,100. New chassis for American
LaFrance chemical equpment? (September 10, 1926)
Fire department has 12 volunteers with Raleigh
FD member R. Lee Matthews acting as part-time training officer.
West Side Inn in Cary
The Raleigh Fire Department is contacted and
Engine Company 4 responds, unleashing a "speed burst"
with a 12-minute run. Firefighters arrive in time to save the
lower half of the two-story wooden structure. The town's
firefighting equipment is already in use. Select furniture is
saved and the kitchen is not damaged. The entire upper story is
destroyed, however, with only the frame work remaining. Cary is
located 10.17 miles from old Station 4 at 505 Jefferson Street in
Raleigh. The fire department's 12-minute run averages 60
mph. (May 5, 1927)no06may27, rt05may27
Six men named town firefighters:
- W. L. Jones
- L. E. Sturdivant
- T. F. Wilkerson Jr.
- Royce Ellington
- Marvin Breeze
- Robert Atkins.
The firefighters are not paid, but excused from paying
poll tax. (July 21, 1927)cb
Six additional men appointed to Fire Department:
- Arthur Womble
- S. T. Smith
- Jack Murdock
- H. R. Adams
- E. J. Byrum
- Pat Gray, Jr. (November 17, 1927)cb
Demographics. Town has
909 people and 1.00 (?) square miles.
1931 Chevrolet pumper purchased
from Peter Pirsch & Sons, specs TBD. Front-mounted pump
is fan-belt driven. (January 11, 1932)cb
Town board instructs L. R. Hunter to sell
chemical tanks from old pumper and purchase siren to alert
firefighters. (January 11, 1932)cb
Fire department accredited by North Carolina
Fire station moved. The building is
moved into the "main part of town" from a "more remote location" and
reported completed by September 12, 1935, in the next day's News &
Observer. On August 24, 1935, the town council ordered the fire
moved to its new location, behind the Masonic Lodge at
the corner Chatham and Academy streets. The lodge building later
becomes Ashworth's Drugstore in 1977. (August-September 1935)cb,
Town board authorizes Mr. Phillips to [re]organize a fire department.
For their services, the volunteer firemen are to be exempt from paying
poll tax. (August 24, 1935)cb
Town board calls special meeting to comply
with August 24, 1935, resolution, with following individuals
forming new fire department:
- M. R. Conner, Chief
- L. E. Midgette Assistant Chief
- C. R. Craddock
- Clyde B. Hawkins
- W. R. Matthews
- Norwood Northcutt
- Clarence Oakley
- Walter Pendegraph
- C. R. Penny
- Alf. Pleasants
- Ivan Ruth
- Alvin Sloan. (February 18, 1936)cb
Town Board grants permission for Chief Conner to
attend North Carolina Fire School in Wilmington, April 21-23. He is instructed by the Board to "economize on
all expenses." (March 1936)cb
Town Board gives permission for fire
department to join North Carolina Fireman's Association, and
purchase twenty badges for firefighters. (May 7, 1936)cb
Town agrees to pay for cleaning of firefighter's
clothing when soiled in line of duty. (May 7, 1936)cb
Town Board waives Captain Lee Matthew's dog tax
in exchange for services coaching fire department. Matthews is a
career fireman in Raleigh. (May 7, 1936)
Town Board authorizes Assistant Chief Midgette
to purchase fire hose. (December 8, 1936)cb
Law passed fining $25 anyone found guilty of
turning in a false alarm. (January 15, 1937)cb
Town Board authorizes expenses for one man to
attend fire school in Durham. (April 12, 1917)cb
Demographics. Town has
1,141 people and 1.00 square miles.
Town board authorizes two firemen to be sent as delegates to the
state firemen's association convention in Salisbury on August 26,
with town paying expenses. (June 7, 1940)tm
Department has fifteen members, plus Chief and Assistant Chief,
as noted in town minutes. (August 2, 1940)tm
Fire station site sale approved by town
board, to J. Glenn Hobby and wife, along with second tract,
for $550. Town also agrees to pay $5.00 annual rent, for use of site
until a new fire station is erected elsewhere. (April 17, 1942)
Fire station relocation. As
noted in town minutes on April 17, 1942, town officials were
apparently seeking to build a new fire station, as their approval of
the fire station site included mention of "regulations of the United
States Government with respect to the purchase of materials of
building a new firehouse elsewhere, will allow a new firehouse to be
built by the Town elsewhere." [Such restrictions on building
materials were one of the domestic impacts of the country's
involvement in World War II.] (April 1942)tm
Fire station note. The town
budget for Fiscal Year 1942-43 included $104 for "Guard on Fire
House." (July 30, 1942)tm
L. E. Midgette appointed Fire Chief. (June 1, 1944)tm
Town minutes: Delegation from the fire department appears before
the town board and requests that firemen be paid $3.00 for each fire
and $2.00 for each drill, and be required to attend at least six (6)
drills before receiving any pay for drills.They also suggest that
the town purchase a one and one-half inch fog gun [nozzle], install
a fire alarm system. issue helmets and suits to protect clothing,
[purchase] smoke masks, and build a firehouse. (June 6, 1946)tm
Town board receives report on improving the town water supply
from Richard H. Moore, Engineer. He notes that the town again finds
itself without "an adequate supply of water to furnish their
customers, and still maintain a reasonable excess for fire
The current town suppose consists of five deep wells, from 150 to
300 feet in depth, and that yield from seven to twenty GPM, for
combined total of 57.5 GPM. Water is stored in an elevated tank with
a capacity of at least 75,000 gallons.
On October 29, 1947, the town had only 10,000 gallons in the
tank, instead of at least 75,000 gallons. This was caused by the
failure of pumps in two wells. The pumps have since been repaired.
He recommends either extending the supply of well water, or using
a surface water source, either connecting to the Raleigh system, the
Apex system, or constructing their own. Board approves continuing to
use the well supply and, at a future date, when there's sufficient
property valuation, to hold a citizen vote for a bond, for other
improvements. (November 28, 1947)tm
L. E. Midgette appoitned Fire Chief. (May 5, 1949)tm
Fire department reorganized, as reported to town council on
August 5, 1949. (Summer 1949)tm
Firehouse lot on Academy Street
approved for sale by town board. To be sold at public
auction, and, if the sale price is "unsatisfactory to the board,"
the property to offered at private sale. (August 5, 1949)tm
Town board approves waiving license plate fees for all fire
department members, an action apparently customary [in prior
months/years? Or in other communities?]. (November 3, 1949)tm
Demographics. Town has
1,496 people and between 1.00 and 2.60 square miles.
Fire district adopted by town board. (February 2, 1950)
Fire station relocated to water tank
lot [located behind the Guess House at 215 South Academy?]. The move is approved by the town board on September
7, 1950. The completed relocation of the "shed" is reported to the
town board on October 5, 1950. On that date, the property is
directed by the town board to be sold. [ The lot is apparently
unsold as late as June 8, 1951, as the town board discusses the
advertising of the sale. ](September-October 1950)
James Lee Murdock appointed Fire Chief. (May 10, 1951)
Apparatus note: Town board approves purchase of a fire truck from
Durham for $750, contingent on the truck's availability. [ No such
truck is purchased. ] (April 17, 1952)
Fire station at 100 W. Chatham
street completed. Brick veneer and cinder
block building measures 30 by 20 feet, has one apparatus bay, and
is adjacent to Town Hall. Building costs about $4,000, which is
the amount in the budget for Fiscal Year 1951-1952. Site location
selected by town board on October 4, 1951. To be erected "next to
and immediately west of the old Post Office Building." (Summer
Fire department members appear before town board, requesting that
they be allowed to provide "rural service" to those living outside
the town limits, and in hopes of "getting some financial aid" from
those residents. Fire Chief proposes serving the area of Cary
Township, that no more than five fire department members provide
service at any given time, and that fire equipment "should always be
provided for the town." Fire Chief and Mr. Philbrick are appointed
as a committee, to work out the details for providing rural fire
protection. (August 7, 1952)
Fire station on Academy Street
demolished after lot sold to J. G. Hobby,
to raise funds for new fire station planned at corner of Cedar and
North Academy streets. (Fall 1952)
Fire engine fails at house fire.
Burning structure is reported
just beyond Town limits. 1931 Chevrolet pumper "is
pulled from the tin-roof shed" and arrives "in no time
flat" writes The State Magazine. Firefighters
lay a line into the well and switch on the fan belt-driven
pump. Water squirts all of ten feet and the firefighters
watch helplessly as the dwelling burns down.
subsequently meet with the Town Board and leave with a
proposition: if the volunteers raise $3,000 for a down
payment on a new fire engine, the Town will handle the remaining
balance. Intense fundraising follows and soon an order is
placed with the Seagrave Fire Engine Company in Columbus, Ohio.
Fire Chief is James L. Murdock. H. B.
Jordan is Assistant Chief.
Movie theater in downtown Apex burns.
Fire is discovered about noon. Entire inside of theater burns
out and quickly destroys a wood partition between the theater
balcony and the storeroom over a feed store next door. When the fire
appears to threaten the business district, fire departments in Cary
and Raleigh are summoned. The Cary fire department sends newly
delivered 1953 Seagrave pumper. With Cary and Raleigh's help, the
fire is brought under control. (April 4, 1954)
First Annual Fireman's Day held.
celebration is expected to attract more than 5,000 people. Mile-long parade starts at 3:00 p.m. along Highway 1, beginning at
R. O. Heater's home on Harrison Street and concluding at Cary High
School. The fire siren signals the start of the parade with a
single blast. From 4:30 to 5 p.m., a demonstration of the
new fire truck is conducted on the school athletic field.
barbeque supper is held at the school cafeteria, sponsored by the
Junior Order of the United Mechanics, Wake County 125" and a
square dance is held from 8:30 to midnight "on the parking
apron of the Piggly Wiggly and Ken Ben stores" reports a
newspaper article. A "$10 cash prize" is given by the
fire department for the "best picture taken at the
Nearly $500 of prizes are donated by local merchants
"to those holding lucky tickets" and are displayed
"in the Adams Building between the Cary Bank and Post
Office." Each store features a "special item for
sale" and everyone is eligible for a prize, "even though
he has not bought anything in a particular store."
The new Seagrave pumper is featured
during the day's activities. Tom Stewart, representing the Seagrave
Company of South Carolina, presents the truck to Mayor Waldo H.
23 (?) years, first Saturday in May is celebrated as Fireman's Day.
(May 2, 1953)no
New Seagrave pumper delivered. The 1953 Seagrave has a 750 GPM pump and 500 gallon
water tank, and a 12-cylinder, 202 HP motor. It cost $15,000 and is
driven from the Seagrave plant by two members of the fire
department, because the planned delivery date was later than the
scheduled Fireman's Day celebration. The bid is awarded on September
4, 1952, with initial arrangements for a "yearly rental-purchase
option." (April 1954)
Snapshot. As of May 5, 1953:
- Fire department has 21 volunteers.
- Fire Chief is James L. Murdock.
- Paul Matthews is Assistant Chief.
James L. Murdock appointed Fire Chief. (June 4, 1953)
Second Annual Fireman's Day held. (May 1954)
displayed at Fireman's
day. Work by firefighters started in Spring 1953. The 1931 Chevrolet/Pirsch
pumper receives a new engine, brakes, tires, paint job, 350 GPM
front-mounted pump, and 250 gallon booster tank. (May 1954)
displayed at Fireman's day. Built by firefighters using an
ex-military tractor and a converted gasoline tanker trailer, it carries 4,700 gallons and has a 350
GPM portable pump. It's assembled from donated parts and after more
than 4,000 man-hours of firefighter labor during the past four
The idea for the tractor-drawn apparatus came from
the Wake County Board of Commissioners, which set up funds to
purchase tank trailers for rural fire departments that obtain
tractors to pull them. Legal problems prevented the funds
from being used, but the Cary Fire Department went ahead
The tractor was purchased at Camp Lejeune as
military surplus, a 180-horsepower International truck tractor
with 10 forward speeds and two reverse speeds. The 4,000
tank is donated by Bryan-Cooper Oil Company of Raleigh and mounted
on a wheeled chassis by firefighters, who also install new tires,
brakes, and lights.
Mounted at the back of the tank is a 350
GPM portable pump that can be used to power water streams or fill
the tank. The inside of the tank is given a special coating,
so drinking water can be transported.
The tractor has a
1,500-watt AC generator mounted, ten new tires and tubes, and a
brilliant red paint job. The engine, brakes, and other parts
are overhauled. The bell from Cary's first fire truck, a
Model-T in 1924, is re-plated and placed on the truck.
The entire project is completed by the
twenty fire department members
without funds from the Town treasury. Instead, they're
assisted by a host of individuals donating equipment and other
things. (May 28, 1954)
Second 2 constructed on 100 block of Cedar
The 20 by 65 foot tin shed is erected
on a Town-owned lot, behind the present location of Rogers Motel.
Firefighters furnish the labor and obtain the materials for
building. Timber for framing is cut from another Town-owned lot. By
August 1954, as shown in News & Observer story, the building has
been erected and occupied. Firemen plan to add flooring and doors.
(Summer 1954)cfr, no__aug54
Cary Rural Fire Department, Inc. incorporated.
(November 1, 1954)sos
Town council approves the participation of the Cary Rural Fire
Department in the Wake County rural fire department sysatem, and
authorizes the use of the Chevrolet fire truck outside the town
limits effective November 1. (November 4, 1954)
Home on East Chatham Street burns. Residence of N. G. Gullie is damaged
but not destroyed.rt
Firefighters help Morrisville organize a fire
Fire department answers 27 calls during year,
including six in Wake County and two for mutual aid to Morrisville and
Apex. They reach Morrisville eight minutes after the
call is received.rt
Third Annual Fireman's day held.
starts at 3:00 p.m. New "emergency service truck for
Civilian Defense" is presented at 5:00 p.m. in front of the
"American Legion hut," with the presentation made by
Fire Chief J. C. Griffis to Cary Mayor W. H. Rood "accepting
the equipment on behalf of the town" reports the The
Raleigh Times. Activities at 9:00 p.m. include "and
card and coin game in one quarter of the town" and, in honor
of Mother's Day, all mothers are "taken for rides on the fire
truck." Children get their turns from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
(May 7, 1955)rt
Civil Defense rescue truck
displayed at Fireman's Day.
ex-military, GMC mobile machine shop, carries $8,000 worth of
equipment including 5,000-watt portable generator, 2,500-watt
generator, two-way radio, $600 resuscitator, block and tackle,
ropes, a portable oxygen acetylene cutting torch, in all "196
different pieces of equipment, all new." Same is also the
only Civil Defense rescue truck operated by a volunteer fire
department in North Carolina. (May 1955)
Robert Elder appointed Fire Chief, and T. H. Griffis appointed
Assistant Chief. Their appointments are effective May 15. (May 5,
1949 Buick Roadmaster purchased for Fire Chief. Vehicle is purchased used.
Station 2 expanded. Addition built
to house rescue truck. Town board approves funding for addition on
April 5, 1955.rt
Town board authorizes one-year trial of mutual plan, to assist
with firefighting in Raleigh, Apex, Fuquay, and Morrisville.
(January 4, 1956)
Fire Chief is Bob Elder and the Assistant Chief
is Bob Heater. (April 21, 1956)
Fourth Annual Fireman's Day is held.
attracts 5,000 people. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. Fire engines parade from Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh, and
Cary. "Musical airs" are furnished by the
"Drum and Bugle Corps from State College" and senior and
junior bands from Cary High School. Parade also features
"Girl Scouts, Wake County fire chiefs' cars, lots of floats
and cars carrying pretty girls" reports the May 7 edition of
Raleigh Times. Activities also include "Quizno"
from 6 until 11 p.m., a "legal cousin of outlawed
Bingo." Fireman's Day concludes with a street dance and
the music of "the Mills Brothers Hillbilly Band." (May 5,
New tanker displayed at
Fireman's day. The ex-military International Harvester,
2,500 gallon tanker is equipped with a 100 GPM pump. Rebuilding was
Jackie Hunter. (May 7, 1956)
Plans announced to build $75,000 fire station on 100 x 120 foot site
on southeast corner of Cedar and N. Academy St. Fund-raising
begins on Fireman's Day. Cornerstone bricks are auctioned
off for a total of $2,035.00. (May 7, 1956)
Proposal for paid fireman adopted by town board on August 23,
The person employed for this position
must be a white male between the ages of twenty-one and forty. He
must be a resident of Cary, N. C. and known not to have any physical
handicaps or mental conditions. Have a working knowledge of hand
tools and mechanical equipment. He must have three acceptable
letters of reference. This fireman will report and be responsible to
the Chief of the Cary Fire Dept.
The primary duty of this paid fireman
is to set the pattern for the expansion of the Cary Fire Department
in the paid fireman field. His duties will include keeping all fire
equipment in first class mechanical order. Each piece of fire
apparatus including the Chiefs Car and maintenance truck will be
washed, polished or waxed so as to be in parade-able condition at
all times. He shall return all equipment to service after each fire
and see that all coats and hose are dried before returning to
equipment. Each Monday and Thursday and more often if necessary,
each fire station
shall be policed and washed down. This shall
include washing all windows and disposing of all trash. Also as a
primary duty this fireman will receive all fire calls during the
times prescribed and listed below in Phase #1 and Phase #2 of the
Duty Hours. In Phase #1 and Phase #2 immediately after receiving a
fire call, the General Alarm will be sounded and the fire location
noted as required by Department Policy. As soon as the General Alarm
has been sounded and the fire location noted, the appropriate fire
apparatus will be started and standing by. This fireman will then
stand by for instructions from the Fire Chief or his representative.
During the hours 6:00 P.M. to 10:30
P.M. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at all Fire
Department Meetings or Functions the paid fireman shall wear a
uniform agreeable to the Fire Department members. It shall be his
responsibility to keep this uniform clean and pressed at all times.
||6:00 to 10:30 P.M.
||10:30 p.m. to 7:30
First Sunday each month off
Housing: This paid fireman must
maintain residence within one block of the No. 1 Fire Station, Cary,
Salary: The salary for this paid
fireman shall be $2,400.00 per year. This position will receive all
employment rights now enjoyed by other Town persons and shall be
subject to dismissal as other Town employees.
Phones: Station #1 (two way), Town Hall
(one way), Hobby's [store?] (one-way), Station #2 (two-way),
Fireman's Home (one way)
Fire department has 25 members and two fire
stations of September 22, 1956. Fire
Chief is Bob Heater.
Boyd Wilson Morris becomes first paid
firefighter. Newspaper advertisement for position authorized by
town board on September 6. Hiring authorized by town board on
September 20. (October 1, 1956)
Town receives upgraded fire insurance rating, from Class 8 to
Class 7. Reported at town board meeting on April 4, 1957.
Town board recommends hiring of Eley Stancil as
a paid fireman, as town employee. (April 18, 1957)
Fifth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Celebration starts at 2:30 p.m. with a parade including "the
Air Force ROTC marching airmen, the army ROTC drum and bugle corps
and the Army ROTC Pershing Rifles crack drill team, all from State
College" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh Times. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., "the fire department and the Civil
Defense rescue team" display equipment and "provide
entertainment for children and adults on the high school football
field." Starting at 5:30 p.m. is a fish-fry and at 6:30
p.m., a "gasoline-powered kiddie automobile will be given
away." Games and dancing are also featured, with activities
ending at 11:30 p.m. (May 4, 1957)rt
Appointments by town board on June 20, 1957, for fiscal year
- Fire Chief - W. E. Henderson
- Paid Fireman - Eley Stancil
Two-way radio system installed. Base station
installed in Station 1 with "stand-by receivers" at
Fire Chief's house, Town Clerk's office, and ready room at Station
2. Radio equipment also installed in all fire apparatus, the
rescue truck, and the Chief's car. The frequency assigned by the
FCC is 46.06 with a maximum output of 500 watts.
Town board receives report on November 21, 1957, that all radio
equipment has been installed.
Fire department has one full-time and 24
volunteer firefighters as of December 9, 1957. Fire Chief is W. E.
Henderson. Assistant Chief is J. P. Matthews.cfdr
As of December 9, 1957, fire department equipment consists
||1954 /1931 Chevrolet Pursch,
300 GPM, 200 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2"
hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose, four Indian tanks.
750 GPM, 500 gallon booster tank, 1000 feet of 2 1/2"
hose, 500 feet of 1 1/2" hose.
tandem tractor tanker - 350 GPM portable pump, 4,700 gallon tank,
500 feet of 2 1/2" hose, 250 feet of 1 1/2" hose,
one Indian tank.
||1955/19__ rescue truck
- 2500 watt generator, 5 kilowatt generator, complete set
Civil Defense tools and equipment.
tanker, 100 GPM power take-off pump, 2,500 gallon tanker, 200
feet of 2 1/2" hose, two Indian tanks.
||1949 Buick, two Indian
approved by town board to be hired as a paid firefighter, employee
of town. He had been serving as a "temporary paid fireman" since the
dismal of Eley Stancil in late October/early November. (January 23,
Sixth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Firefighters continuing fundraising for new fire station,
auctioning ten "green bricks" with the highest bidder to
have their name engraved in one of the first stones in the new
building, planned since 1956 and expected to be completed in 1961.
(May 3, 1958)rt
J. Paul Matthews appointed Fire Chief, for period of June 1 through
May 31. (May 8, 1958)
Town board grants permission for fire department to transfer fire
equipment from the old Chevrolet fire truck onto another chassis,
supplied by the Cary Rural FD, provided that the transferred
equipment remain the property of the town. [ Was this action taken?
TBD ] (November 6, 1958)
Fire department increases to 28 members.
Seventh Annual Fireman's day held.
Celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. with a parade. Other events
include a fish fry, door prizes, and a square dance "in the
Winn-Dixie parking lot on Chatham Street" reports the April
29 edition of The Raleigh Times. (May 2, 1959)rt29apr59
Fire Chief is Paul Mathews. Assistant
Chief is Earl Williams. (May 1959)
J. C. Griffis appointed Fire Chief. (August 6, 1959)
Construction started on
Station 1. Plans have been drawn for $75,000
building with basement and two stories. Funds have been
solicited during five years of fundraising. Firefighters
perform most of the work after hours. Completion is due in
Demographics. Town has
3,356 people and 2.60 square miles.
Eighth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Schedule includes "a parade at 3:30 p.m., supper
at the high school cafeteria from 5 until 8 p.m., games from 6:30
until 8 p.m., and a street dance from 8 until
midnight." Fried fish is served in the cafeteria,
prepared by firefighters, their wives, and members of the Fire
Auxiliary Association. Drawings are held for "various prize
merchandise" and an open house is held "at the emergency
shelter" set up at the Cary Methodist Church from noon until
4:30 p.m. (May 7, 1960)na, rt
Fire Chief is J. C. Griffis. R. B. Heater
is Assistant Chief. (May 7, 1960)cfdr
Firefighter Vernon Lee Thompson, 28, is killed and Firefighter
Willis Edward (Billy) Henderson, 32, is injured when their
tractor-drawn tanker overturns near Meredith College.
The accident occurs about 10:00 a.m., while they are turning from
onto a service road that runs between college property and the State College
animal husbandry farm.
Both are thrown from the open-cab apparatus.
is pinned under the cab and dies after gasoline leaking from the fuel tank
under the seat is apparently ignited by an electrical short. Henderson is
transported and admitted to Rex Hospital for cuts, bruises, and
firefighters and other rescue workers spend nearly two hours recovering
Thompson's body. The first wrecker sent to the scene is unable to raise the
truck. A larger, second wrecker is called and lifts the cab enough for
Thompson's body to be removed.
Both Thompson and Henderson were state
employees working at nearby Camp Polk prison farm and were en route to
extinguish the rekindling of a trash fire near the prison dump from the night
before. Henderson was driving about 15 miles an hour when the accident occurred.
Pavement markings stretched about 120 feet, created by the pressure of the
heavy, slowing truck. The cab of the tanker was destroyed; the apparatus was not
returned to service.
Funeral services are held on June 18 at Cary Baptist Church, with
burial at Cary Cemetery the same day. Thompson was a volunteer
member of the Cary Fire Department. (June 16, 1960)
J. C. Griffis appointed Fire Chief, J. H. Crumpler appointed
Assistant Chief. (June 23, 1960)townminutes
Mayor Waldo Rood suggests town establish its own
fire department, "a volunteer group to work under the
direction of a paid chief who would also be the new police
chief" reports The Raleigh Times and which "would
be separate from the present Cary volunteer department which
serves not only the town but the surrounding rural
area." Firefighters "could choose whether to come
with the town or remain where they are." The Town Board
subsequently adopts a resolution in support of the Mayor.
Townspeople and firefighters disagree with the proposal and
"a committee is appointed to work out the differences."
Fire department adopts new policy on July 6, 1960:
The Cary Fire Co. will routinely answer
fire calls only within the 2 and˝ mile radius as set up on the YRAC
Fire District map with the exception of calls for mutual aid by
other surrounding fire depts. However the Cary Fire Dept. requests
that the Chief, or highest ranking officer available. of the
department be endowed ·with the authority to dispatch at his
discretion fire equipment to distances up to 4 miles but only where
an inhabitable building is on fire or is seriously threatened by
fire, or where lives and/or valuable property is on fire or
seriously threatened by fire, or where life-saving services are
needed, resulting from natural or man made catastrophes, and so long
as the location of the request for aid is not within the area of
protection of another fire department.
Policy is presented to town board on July 7, 1960, for their
endorsement. This compels the town board to request a meeting with
the fire department officers, to "consider the entire matter of the
relationship of the town and the fire department." The meeting is
called for July 14, 1960.townminutes
Town Board approves purchase of "accidental
death and disability income insurance" for fire department
members, reports The Raleigh Times. Question of
insurance arose at town meeting one week ago, with eleven
firefighters threatening to resign unless the issue was discussed
immediately. After the volunteers "carried out their
threat," the Town Board immediately "sent a negotiator
to the fire station and a compromise was worked out whereby the
resignations were withdrawn on condition the board purchase the
insurance at a special meeting to be held soon after." (July
posting with detailed account of these events.
Fire department split into two entities, newly
created Cary Fire Department serving town, and Cary Rural Fire
Department serving unincorporated areas.
J. L. (Pete)
Murdoch is appointed Fire Chief of both departments. Paul Matthews
is appointed Assistant Chief of the town department and Willie Crumpler is appointed Assistant Chief of the rural
The 24 members of the fire department are split
equally between Town and Rural departments, with more men needed
"to build up both departments" reports the September 10
edition of The Raleigh Times. Applications are
available at the Town Hall and applicants must be between 19 and
40 years of age, in good health, and willing to follow all fire
department rules and regulations. Two "paid
firemen" are to be hired, so "at least one well-trained
fireman is on duty in town at all times."
Yet worked out is
the "division of property" as "some of the
equipment that has been used by the previous department is owned
jointly by the town and rural departments." Both
departments are expected to "fall short of the necessary
equipment when the property is divided." (September 15, 1960)rt10sep60
Hiring of Calvin Beck as paid fireman authorized by town board.
(November 10, 1960)townminutes
Construction on Station 1
abandoned during dispute among volunteer firefighters and
town officials. Basement has been dug and foundations have
been laid. Approximately $15,000 has been spent on the
Ownership of Station 1 site at 100 N. Academy
Street transferred to town. (January 1,
Town minutes: Board receives report from
Fire Chief that the Seagrave pumper is now equipped with equipment
belonging only to the town. Also, board authorizes up to $200 for
the purchase of uniforms for the paid firemen. The town has two paid
firemen, Calvin Beck and ____ Morris. (February 9, 1961)townminutes
James L. Murdock appointed Fire Chief. Also, Calvin Beck as Captain
and Jack Morris as Lieutenant. The position of Assistant Chief is
temporarily left open. (April 20, 1961)townminutes
minutes: Board adopts Ordinance Organizing the Cary Fire Department
as Chapter C of the town code section for Fire Protection and
Prvention. (April 20, 1961)townminutes
Board receives report from Fire Chief that the Cary Rural Fire
Department Inc. had elected as officers Fire Chief Paul Matthews,
Captain Calvin Beck, and Lieutenant Jack Morris. The board members
affirm that Murdock is still Fire Chief. Other organizational
matters are also discussed. (May 4, 1961)
Ninth Annual Fireman's Day held.
includes a parade, "bands, pretty girls, and lots of fire
units" reports a newspaper article. Three school bands
from Cary appear, along with others from "Knightdale,
Millbrook, Erwin" and "Corinth-Holders." Fire
units come from "New Hope, Apex, Garner, Swift Creek,
Fairgrounds Rural and the Raleigh departments. And, of
course, Cary's town and rural departments." "Perched atop a convertible," Molly Jo Waters, Miss
Cary, is "resplendent in a white dress" and "other
pretty girls rode the FHA float." (May, 1961)
Special meeting held with town council to discuss problems
related to the fire department organization and fire protection. The
CRVFD members then call a meeting and authorize a resolution to
proceed with a merger of the corporation into the town, and
operating under the supervision and control of the town. (May 9,
Town resolution adopted consolidating the services of the Cary
Rural Volunteer Fire Department and the Town of Cary. Reported as
having happened prior to the June 19 meeting of the Wake County
Board of Commissioners. (June? 1961)
Civil Defense rescue unit retired or usage scaled back. Reported
at meeting of Wake County BOC on May 11, 1962, that the unit has not
been active during the past year. (Summer? 1961)wakeboc11may62
Town minutes: Council adopts Fire Prevention Code, Edition of
1960, as recommended by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.
(August 10, 1961)townminutes
Town minutes: Council receives report from Mayor that Calvin Beck
has been appointed Fire Marshall. Also, council votes to continue
providing rural fire protection for residents of the new Yrac Fire
District, until the department is organized in the coming months.
(September 7, 1961)townminutes
Town minutes: Committee created to "decide upon all details of
transfer of property" from the "independent organization of the Cary
Rural Fire Department" to the town. Also requested is that ten
bricks "bearing the initials of donors" to the CRFD be "placed in
the cornerstone" of the new fire station building. (November 9,
Yrac Volunteer Fire Department organized by former Cary Fire
Department volunteers. See
separate history. (December 1, 1961)
Billy Henderson appointed [or announced as having been
appointed?] as Fire Chief, and Jack Winstead of Assistant Chief.
(December 7, 1961)townminutes
Tenth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Department is "wholly responsible for putting on Fireman's
Day this year" reports The Raleigh Times, though
"municipal fire department members" participate
individually and the town enters "its units in the
parade." Proceeds, however, "go to the new
department." Parade starts at 3:00 p.m. Street
dance is held from 8 to 12 p.m. "at the Winn-Dixie parking
lot." Prizes given away include "a Hereford steer,
boys and girls bicycles and other items donated by local
merchants." A grandstand "for special guests" is
set up "in front of the Baptist Church" and Buck Sloan
serves as announcer. (May 1962)rt
Town minutes: Council receives architect's report on requirements
for completing the building donated to the town by the CRFD. The
architect estimates a cost of $200,000 to complete [as originally
designed?], a cost of $85,000 for a fire station only, and a cost of
$90,000 for a separate municipal building. (May 10, 1962)townminutes
Apparatus purchase: Town council authorizes purchase of a new
fire truck "for which specifications had been submitted." They
direct $5,000 "now on hand" to apply to the purchase. [ Is any
apparatus purchased? Don't believe so. ] (February 7, 1963)townminutes
Eleventh Annual Fireman's Day held.
Celebration begins at 3:00 p.m. with a parade which includes
"fire equipment from a half-dozen or so Wake County
departments and an antique fire truck from the Chapel Hill fire
organization" reports the May 3 edition of The Raleigh
Times. Miss Cary rides in the parade, as does Miss Yrac,
whose identify is "kept secret until she appears." Door prizes include "a fat steer and a boy's or girl's
bicycle." A "country music band" provides
music for the street dance. Proceeds benefit the Yrac Rural
Fire Department, though members of the Cary fire department assist
with activities. (May 4, 1963)rt03may63
Calvin Beck appointed as the first full-time Fire Chief.
Salary is $4,587. He
joined the department in 1960, hired as a Captain and a Training
Officer, after serving in Durham and Chapel Hill. Beck, 36, is a
graduate of arson schools at UNC and Cornell University, and has
attended the state fire inspection school in Greensboro. He's also
an instructor with the N.C. Industrial Education Center Firemanship
School. (By August 1, 1963)cfdr, no01aug63
Apparatus purchase: 1957
Chevrolet service ladder truck. Purchase authorized by town council
on January 2, 1964, upon recommendation by Chief Beck that a
"utility truck be purchased for the purpose of carrying ladders and
equipment to fires." Council authorizes $2,000 be spent on the
Ladder truck stored at Public
Utilities building behind fire station. Hole is knocked
out of wall, for temporary housing of
the Chevrolet service truck. Fire engine is longer than the
concrete-block building, so plastic cloth protects front of the
apparatus which protrudes from the shelter.no22nov64
Twelfth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Activities begin with a 3:00 p.m. parade which includes
"marching bands from Apex, Wake Forest, Clayton, Knightdale
and Cary Schools, the first official appearance of Miss Cary, a
Miss Yrac and other fire department queens, fire apparatus from
all Wake County departments, a Model T fire truck, political
candidates, town officials, floats from various businesses in the
area, scouts, clowns, and a U.S. Marine display" reports the
April 29 edition of The Raleigh Times. Parade marches
"from Urban Drive down Chatham Street and onto Academy
Street." A fish-fry is held at the junior high school
cafeteria and street dancing in the Winn-Dixie parking lot. Music is provided by "Red Rose and the Dixie Mountain
Boys." And a 1964 "Ford automobile" is given
away as a door prize. (Saturday after April 29, 1964)rt29apr64
Fire department has three full-time and 15
part-time firefighters as of November 22, 1964.no
Town council authorizes construction of
the Academy Street fire station. Cited in December 18, 1964,
Raleigh Times story.
Donald "Don" Tripp hired as Fire Chief.
He's a Chapel Hill
firefighter, age 25. He's a graduate of the Charlotte Fire College,
Maryland State Fire School, the Fire Administration School at N.C.
State, and the Wilson IEC school. His salary is 4,632 annually.
Department has two other paid employees: Sherwood Thorton and D. R.
Baker. The resignation of Chief Beck is presented to town council on
December 21, 1964. (January 1, 1965)rt18dec65,
1965 American LaFrance pumper, 1000/750, open cab. "Emergency
purchase" authorized by town council on April 15, 1965. [ Was a demo
truck purchased? ] Town council told on May 6, 1965, that it would
be delivered in the "coming week."
Thirteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.
Event is sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a
parade at 3:00 p.m., followed by games, a fish-fry, a street
dance, and the "giving away of a color television set"
reports the April 30 edition of The Raleigh Times. During the parade, fire and police officials direct traffic
"from US 64 to NC 54." (May 1, 1965)rt30apr65
Town minutes: Council informed that Fire Chief has been
instructed to hire two additional firemen immediately, due to the
"shortage of paid firemen." (August 19, 1965)
Station 1 completed on 100 N.
Academy Street. Plans for the station are approved by town
council on April 8, 1965. Construction bid was awarded on May 6,
1965. Reported as having passed inspection, and final payment to
builder authorized on September 23, 1965, and that the fire
department would soon be occupying their new quarters. (September
Seaboard Railroad boxcar
on N. West Street, behind Suttons Service Station catches fire.
Alarm is reported at 10:30 a.m. by telephone. Engine 1
responds with six firefighters, who extinguish the fire with a
booster line. "Grease on brakes" is cited as the cause
of ignition. No damage is reported. (January 8, 1966)
Station 1 dedicated, with an open house held from 3:00 p.m. to
6:00 p.m. The event had originally been scheduled on January 30.
(March 20, 1966)townminutes
Fourteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.
sponsored by Yrac Rural Fire Department and begins with a
"square dance festival" at 2:00 p.m. reports the May 7
edition of The News and Observer. From 4 to 6 p.m.,
children are given "free fire truck rides." From 4
to 8 pm., a "fish fry" is held in the cafeteria of the
junior high school. Games, door prizes, and a "dance in
the school gym" are also held. (May 7, 1966)nt
Assistant Chief John W. Ward appointed as Acting Fire Chief, after Chief Tripp resigns on
October 14 for personal reasons. (October 15, 1966)
John W. Ward named permanent Fire Chief. (November 29, 1966)townminutes
Garage apartment at corner
of Ward and Cedar streets burns. Alarm is reported at
3:45 p.m. by both telephone and person coming to station. Engine 1, Engine 2, and Ladder 1 respond. Fourteen
firefighters battle blaze, one suffering first- and second-degree
burns on "hands, forearms, face, and small part of
back." Fire is confined to apartment, with $6500
loss. Cause is cited as "faulty oil heater." 1,400
feet of 2 1/2" hose and 800 feet of 1 1/2" hose
utilized. (December 11, 1966)
Fifteenth Annual Fireman's Day held.
than 5,000 people attend. Proceeds benefit Yrac Rural Fire
Department. Events include "free rides on the
department's big red fire trucks," a "gospel singing
contest," and "a dance in the junior high gym"
reports the May 8 edition of The Raleigh Times. Profits
will go to the rural fire department's "building and
equipment fund." (May 8, 1967)rt08may67
R. Lee Mathews hired as acting Fire Chief.
He's hired after
Chief Ward resigns on January 17. Matthews is a retired Asst.
Chief of the Raleigh Fire Department with 37 years of service. A
Cary resident for many years, Matthews took the job reluctantly be
cause he really was enjoying retirement but came to help us out of a
jam and is doing a fine job of running things for us. He 's helping
us get reorganized, said Town Manager L. L. Lane. (January 21, 1967)mjl-blog
Town minutes: Council approves loaning the fire siren to the Yrac
FD, that had been recently disconnected in the Russell Hills
subdivision. (April 25, 1967)tm
C. Frank Ayscue hired as Fire Chief.
The twenty-four year-old
had served five years with the Henderson Fire Department. He served
until July 15, 1968, when he was hired as a firefighter for the City
of Raleigh. He retired from Raleigh as a Senior Firefighter in 1989. (May 1, 1967)mjl-blog
Town minutes: Council receives detailed report from Insurance
Rating Bureau, noting the additional equipment required to produce a
reduction in individual insurance rates:
- New hydrant on East Chatham between Academy and Walker
- Additional 900 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose
- Four additional volunteer firemen who work in the town
Also at the meeting, the Fire Chief requests that Council allow
the building of a training building on some property owned by the
town. Approved. (September 14, 1967)tm
John L. Dew hired as Fire Chief, after resignation of Chief Ayscue
on July 15. (July 30, 1968)
Town minutes: Council receives report that the fire department is
"fully staffed" with the employment of two new [additional?] men.
(September 12, 1968)tm
Billy Henderson hired as Fire Chief, after resignation of Chief
Dew on February 6. (February 7,
Apparatus note: 1953 Seagrave pumper "completely overhauled",
with repairs performed in town by a factory-training representative.
Apparatus note: 1965 Amercian LaFrance taken to Atlanta for major
repairs ($1,400), including installation of a metal hose bed cover
costing additional $500. (June 1969)tm
Town minutes: Council receives report that the "labor
situation" hasn't improved, and firemen were working on off-duty
days "mowing grass, grading and oiling streets, and spraying for
mosquitos." (August 28, 1969)tm
Fire department has five full-time and 17
Demographics. Town has 7,640 people and
6.01 square miles.
Town minutes: Council receives report that a new Fire Chief would
be reporting for duty as of August 1, 1970. [Did Chief Henderson
resign?] (July 9, 1970)tm
Town minutes: [Asst. Chief?] Frank Stancil appointed Fire
Inspector. (September 8, 1970)tm
Historic Page House
destroyed by fire as Town is preparing for Centennial celebration.
Fire starts at 2:30 a.m. in electrical wiring on the first
floor and has spread to the second floor by the time the first
firefighter arrives. The nearest fire hydrant on Academy
Street proves dry and before another hydrant can be located, the
fire truck's 500 gallon water tank is emptied. Firefighters
race to the next hydrant, near the Yrac fire station, laying 2000
feet of supply line. By the time more water is flowed,
flames are almost through the roof. By dawn, only a handful
of charred timbers of the main house and a lone smokestack are
standing. (September 22, 1970)aac
Town minutes: Council told that town is still "negotiating with a
prospective fire chief." (October 22, 1970)tm
Fire department has six full-time and 19
Terry L. Edmondson hired as Fire Chief, after resignation of
Chief Henderson on January 3. (January 4,
Facility note: Council awards contract to architectural firm for
proposed new fire station. (January 28, 1971)tm
Apparatus note: Council approves immediate purchase of additional
fire truck, after advised of an "emergency situation", because the
engine of one truck had "blown up" and the American LaFrance company
had loaned a truck to the town. (May 27, 1971)tm
Donald McLamb is Assistant Chief. (May
Town Safety Committee makes recommendations for
improvements to fire department.
Report cites "growing pains" and the results of
a four-week inquiry into "all phases of the Fire
Department." Recommendations include:
- becoming a
"fully paid department when funds are available"
immediate installation of a new radio system
- building an addition to the
"present Central Fire Station"
- drill scheduling
- creating a "Code of Conduct" that should
emphasize "drinking habits, driving habits, and any other
personal habits which would reflect on the individual, the Fire
Department or the uniform." (September 23, 1971)
From blog post:
In September 1971, the Town of Cary Safety Committee released a
report with recommendations for improvements to the fire department. CFD like
other town departments--indeed, like the community itself--had experienced
growing pains. From 1960 to 1970, the town population explosion 121.4%, with
expected 14% growth each year from 1970 to 1980.
The fire department was presently protecting 7,500 residents and
property valued at around $30,000. They had a full-time fire chief, Terry
Edmundson, hired January 1, 1971. And he had brought new ideas to the
department, though, as the report noted, "there were naturally some questions
raised for changing of old procedures or techniques." He established guidelines
and rules and regulations that both paid and volunteer members were to adhere
to. And failure to meet those standards resulted caused problems, including the
dismiss of one fireman.
On the other hand, noted the report, the fire department had been
built up through the years by volunteers who "built up loyalty and pride [to]
the present [department]." And some of those members were not measuring up to
the high standards set down in years past. Thus, said the report, the Chief, the
volunteer firemen, and paid firemen had "failed to communicate with each other"
and this caused a morale problem.
Thus Mayor Fred Bond requested that the Safety
Committee--consisting of Councilman Thomas Griffis, Chairman, and Russell
Secrest--to "make an inquiry into all phases of the fire department." The
investigation took about four weeks, and the committee talked with most of the
paid and volunteer firemen.
They found, in general, that there was a "conflict in
personality" on a "number of incidents" [instances?], a "lack of communication"
between the chief and the firefighters, and "the absence of an organizational
structure." Though there was a structure present, it had "failed to prove
itself" as effective. And which made sense, as the Chief had only been employed
for a short time, his Assistant Chief was "from the ranks of the volunteers,"
and the two lieutenants had a "minimum amount of administrative training."
Thus, upon concluding their investigation, the committee made a
list of recommendations. Those are below. They also made recommended some
immediate actions to the Town Manager and the Fire Chief. One of those was that
Chief Edmundson was to immediately cease using his personal pick-up truck in any
capacity with the fire department. He was to park away the truck away from the
fire station, and "do everything possible to remove red lights, radios and other
[identifying] emblems," so it couldn't be identified as "official Cary Fire
Also, Chief Edmundson was living at the fire department at that
time [!] and was instructed to immediately find living quarters away from the
For the department in general, their recommendations were:
1. After interviewing both volunteer and paid firemen, their
opinion was that a fully-paid [career] fire department should be created "when
funds are available."
2. When there's a promotional opening, all qualified firemen
"should be given a written examination" and the promotion based on "their
qualifications and examination."
3. Rules and Regulations should be updated, each member furnished
a copy, and one or more meetings held to review the rules with the members.
4. Minimum salaries should be "raised upward as soon as possible"
and which will "assist in employing trained personnel."
5. The addition to the "Central Fire Station" should be completed
as soon as possible.
6. A new radio system should be installed immediately.
7. The Fire Chief should hold a staff meeting at least once a
month with himself, the Assistant Chief, and his Lieutenants, to keep them
"informed on activities, policies, and problems within the department."
8. Volunteer firemen should not be permitted to be members of
other fire departments or police departments.
9. Volunteer firemen who fail to meet the "minimum drills and
meetings" for two successive month, without excuse, should be removed from the
10. All drills should be conducted when scheduled, and there
"should be serious consideration before cancelling" any.
11. A code of conduct should be established "setting forth
[expectations for] personal habits." It should emphasize "drinking habits,
driving habits, and any other personal habits which would reflect on the
individual, the fire department, or the uniform."
Fire department has nine full-time and 18
volunteer firefighters as of September 23, 1971.
Town minutes: Council informed by Fire Chief that Charles W. Frye
has been appointed as Fire Inspector. One month earlier, at the
September 23, 1971, town council approved that the Fire Chief be
allowed to appoint a fire inspector with the assistance of the Town
Manager, and with recommended rank and pay of Lieutenant. (October
- 1971 American LaFrance pumper delivered, 1000/500.
- 1953 Seagrave pumper refurbished.cfdr
Two-way radio equipment replacement program
started. Radio system also tied into County-wide radio system.
Fire department begins dispatching Cary Area Rescue Squad. (Mid-August, 1972)
Cary Area Rescue Squad starts service.
call is answered at 4:15 p.m. on August 11, 1972. Fire
Department discontinues rescue service. Rescue squad is
formed by firefighters from Yrac, plus one Cary firefighter. First
rescue squad Chief is Jerry Adams. (August 1972)aaac
Station 1 expansion completed.
The $78,000, two-story, 5,200 square-foot addition will
add additional apparatus room, larger sleeping quarters, a large
training room, and more storage area to Station 1. Contract
approved by Council on December 1, 1971. Contract signed in February
1972. Construction bid awarded on April 13, 1972. Council receives
report on May 25, 1972, that work will start next week, and should
be completed in August. Council receives report on September 13,
1972, that fire station should be completed next week.
Fire department has 12 full-time and 10
- 1970 Ford 1/2 ton pick-up truck
purchased. Later equipped with "dry
chemicals for fighting fuel or gasoline fires."
- Chief's car purchased. cfdr
New radio base station and new mobile radios
Snapshot. Fire department roster in May 1973:
- Chief - Terry
- Lt. Charles W. Frye
- Lt. James A. Moss
- Lt. Dewey Poole
[Also Paid?] Firemen:
- Curtis W. Canada
- Donald E. Daniels
- Frank J. Defulgo
D. Ellington III
- Roy W. Ferguson
- William J. Hanrahan
- Michael L.
- Richard E. Sumler
- Billy Collins
- Wm. E. Dorsey
- Joel Eatman
- Willis E. Henderson
- Bruce Horne
- Robert V. Godbold
- Carlton Ruth
- Walter F. Stancil
Source: Town minutes
Fire department has 14 full-time and 14
volunteer firefighters, three pumpers, one equipment truck, one
pick-up truck, and one car.cfdr
Fire department hires full-time fire prevention
New programs involving fire department including
servicing and maintaining all fire hydrants and reviewing all site
plans for future town development.cfdr
Fire department has 15 full-time and 11
volunteer firefighters as of January 3, 1974.
House fire at 604 Queens Ferry Road
kills woman. Fire is reported at 3:46
a.m. Firefighters find Marilyn Powell, 41, "lying
'between the stove and the back door in the kitchen, just 36
inches from the back door" reports the January 18 edition of
News and Observer. Mrs. Powell's twin teenage sons
escape. Police officer arrives and attempts rescue, shooting
through lock of outside door to bedroom, but cannot enter because
smoke is too thick. (January 17, 1974)no18jan74
Twenty-second Annual Fireman's Day held.
Hundreds attend the celebration that begins at 4:00 p.m. with
"a special firefighting and rescue demonstration given by
members of the Fire Department and the Cary Area Rescue
Squad." Also included is a "fish-fry dinner" and a
"basketball match between the Cary Fire Department and the
Cary Police Department" reports the May 8 edition of The
Raleigh Times. Admission to the ball game is a $1
donation to the fire department. Police officers defeat
firefighters 39-34. Door prizes "given away at
halftime" are "an RCA color television, a Honda
motorcycle, a 10-speed bicycle, and a Singer sewing
machine." Earlier, firefighters sold tickets for
chances to win the prizes. Coincidentally, none of the four
prizes are awarded to Cary residents. (May 8, 1974)rt108may74
House fire at 1016
Wilshire Drive kills three girls. Fire is reported at 3:45
a.m. and is caused by careless smoking. Other occupants
escape. Fire begins in "downstairs area" and sends
"heavy smoke into the upstairs area" where the girls are
sleeping, reports the June 10 edition of The News and Observer.
Killed are Susan Hagwood, 6, and her half sisters Shirley
Hathaway, 15, and Elizabeth Hathaway, 16. All three girls die of
smoke inhalation, Wake County Coroner Truman Rhodes later
reports. (June 9, 1974)no10jun74
Snapshot: Fire department has 17 full-time members and 12
volunteers. (July 11, 1974)tm
Town Public Information Officer issues press
release requesting citizens make "no non-emergency
calls" to the fire department "for at least ten minutes
after the siren has been silenced," after automobile fire on
December 17 results in multiple calls from news reporters and
other people, tying up telephone lines needed by the dispatcher.
(December 26, 1974)pr
Land for new Station 2 purchased.
Town agrees to buy "slightly over half an acre" at the Cary
Village Shopping Center, reports the May 30 edition of The
Raleigh Times. Station expected to be operating by March,
1976. The Fire
Insurance Bureau told the town in 1970 that it would need a second
fire station by the time its population reached 13,000, the Fire
Chief tells the newspaper. (July 15,
Fire Chief Terry L. Edmundson resigns "amid
allegations that he made false alarm telephones to his own
department" reports the August 2 edition of The News and
Resignation accepted on July 29, the Town Manager reports to council
on August 7.
Two calls on July 28 report fires at the South
Hills Motor Inn and Helmold Fire. Voice similarities are
noted and a Southern Bell operator tells fire officials that the
second caller's number was traced, and was made from Edmondson's
home. Edmondson was initially suspended for two weeks without pay.
The fire chief cited the charges and previous frustrations as his
reasons for resigning. Town officials declined to conduct an
investigation. Captains Dewey W. Poole and Macon W. House are appointed
acting chiefs. Edmundson is subsequently hired as Fire Chief of
the Raleigh-Durham Airport fire department. (July 28, 1975)cn13aug75, no02aug75
Fire department has 17 full-time and 13
volunteer firefighters as of August 1, 1975.
Ned Perry hired as Fire Chief after resignation of Chief
Edmundson on July 28, serves until
Perry is 17-year veteran of the Raleigh Fire
Department, with the rank of Captain. He's also president of the Raleigh
Firefighter's Association. The salary for the position is
$15,828. (October 6, 1975)
Bicentennial colored fire hydrants, painted red, white, and blue,
and located on portions of Chatham and Academy street, are approved
by Town Council. Fire Chief Ned Perry
protests, showing the Town Council "pictures of
unattractively decorated" hydrants and noting "problems
firemen could have" if the hydrants are not painted
carefully. (Thursday before October 15, 1975)cn15oct75
Fire department begins monitoring CB channel 9,
the emergency frequency, after receiving base station donated by
Cary citizen Larry H. Royster. (January 1976)cn
McDonald's restaurant at
Cary Village and next to Station 2 site burns. Two
engine companies and one ladder company respond from
downtown. The early morning fire, reported at 12:45 a.m.,
apparently starts "from a wire behind the basement electrical
panel box" reports the February 4 edition of The Cary News. Heavy smoke on second floor alerts "a passing motorist who
turned in the alarm." Extensive damage is done and
firefighters remain on the scene until 2:00 a.m. (January 28, 1976)cn04feb76
Brush fire burns 40 to 50 acres of
land between Highway 54 and Hillsborough Road
"from the WPTF towers to Wayside Furniture" reports the March
3 edition of The Cary News. Nine fire
departments assist the Cary Rural Fire Department, while Cary town and
Apex respond to another woods fire in the 900 block of West
Chatham Street. Cary Rural Fire Department Fire Chief
David Weaver believes first fire was actually "five different
fires which were ignited by sparks from the brakes of a passing
train." (March 3, 1976)cn03mar76
Last Fireman's Day held.
annual event is sponsored by both Cary and Yrac fire
departments. Celebration starts with "games at the Cary
Office Center on Walnut Street" reports the April 28 edition
of The Raleigh Times. Same consist of an
"inter-department water fight" and a "bucket
brigade race." Next is a "famous flounder fish
fry" from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cary Elementary School. "Quizzo" starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Academy Street fire
station with hot dogs "available for
refreshments." Live music starts at 8 p.m. "in the
parking lot of the Fidelity Bank across the street from the
Academy Street fire station." Morning Dew
performs. Door prize drawings are held at 10:00 p.m. with
"dollar chances" sold for "prizes consisting of a
Teaberry C.B. radio, microwave oven, outdoor gas grill," a
ten-speed bicycle, and a skateboard. (May 1, 1976)rt
1976 Ford/American LaFrance pumper, 1250/500. Bid awarded to
C.W. Williams & Company of Rocky Mount on September 26, 1974, for
cost of $40,746.00. Delivery within fourteen to sixteen months after
contract award. Apparatus was
UL tested on May 17, 1976, and acceptance tested on July 15, 1976.
Town council receives report on July 8, 1976, that Chief Perry and
Captain Poole were en route to New York, to pick up the new truck.
Council receives report on July 22 that truck has been tested and is
ready to be licensed and put into use. (July 1976)cfdr,
Station 2 opens on 875 NE Maynard
- The one-story, 4,103 square-foot (current size) facility is
located on 0.41 acres.
- The facility costs just over $200,000,
including land and landscaping.
- Builder Scotia Construction Company of Cary.
- Council receives report that station is nearing completed on
June 10, 1976, and should be finished next week.
- Station inspected by town officials on June 23, 1976.
- Council receives report on July 8 that station is not
quite ready for occupancy.
- Council receives report on July 22 that station is ready for
- Council receives report on August 11 that station has been
- Ceremony and open house held on
December 5, 1976.
Sources: WCRER, Town Minutes
Snapshot: Fire department has 26 full-time employees and
11 auxiliary firefighters, four pumpers, and one ladder truck as
of December 5, 1976.
Cook Out restaurant at 500 Chatham Street
burns. Fire is reported at 3:28 a.m. and firefighters arrive
one minute later to find wooden A-frame structure fully engulfed
in flames. Fire is under control within ten minutes, but
thirty-four firefighters remain on the scene for three
hours. More than a dozen cans of pain stored on the second
level of the one-story structure may have helped the fire spread.
the building, valued at $35,000 and $18,000 worth of cooking
equipment, are a total loss. Fire is believed started by ignition
of several quarts of floor cleaner, perhaps by severe winds
causing an electrical shortage. (March 23, 1977)rt23mar77
Land for Station 3 purchased on Kildaire Farm Road. Located near the intersection with the proposed location
of Cary Parkway. The property costs $3,180. Eighteen months
later, town officials discussed moving the station site, due to
rising estimated expenses in the planned station construct.
Architect William Keener tells officials that the current lot will
require more filling, grading, and shaping than originally
anticipated. The parcel is subsequently rejected for the project,
and a new site is purchased in October 1984, at 1807 Kildaire Farm
Road. (March 1977)cn16aug78
Raleigh Times reports on organizational updates since the hiring
of Fire Chief Ned Perry:
- Firefighters organized into three platoons, instead of two.
- Work week shortened from 72 to 60 hours.
- Plans to assign a paid firefighter staff the ladder truck.
- Plans to house the ladder truck, to protect from wind and
weather. Currently, the truck is parked in the lot across the
street from the firehouse.
- New program started, where department members visit schools,
churches, and businesses, to help firefighters have faster
access to buildings during emergencies.
- Firefighters organized into two companies, with each company
responsible for responding to one-half of the town. (May 30,
Siren removed from Station
1. (July-August, 1977)yfd
Apparatus note: 1957 Chevrolet
service truck designated as surplus town property. (August 11, 1977)tm
GMC/Alexander service truck.
- Fleet #922. Cost $27,000.
- Body designed by Fire Chief Ned
Perry and built by Alexander Welding of
Raleigh. Enclosed body style keeps ladders dry, freeing
firefighters from having to clean equipment after runs during
rain. Compartment doors are also lighted and the
compartments are custom-fit for the equipment.
- Bid awarded February 10, 1977.
- Note: Model year
previously cited as 1975. Alt. delivery date November 8.
- Reported to Council on September 8, 1977, that the new
ladder truck had arrived.
First female joins as volunteer firefighter.
Freight train derails near
Old US.1 just west of Cary. Four empty coal cars on a
Seaboard Coast Line train derail in afternoon accident. No
injures are reported. (February 2, 1978)no03feb78
Distraught man kills self and
wife with bomb at Cary Village Shopping Center.
Blast occurs about noon in conference room of law office,
after Jerry Ronald Sowers, 32, threatens to "blow up himself
and everyone in the building" unless allowed to talk to his
wife alone at a 9 a.m. meeting to discuss a separation
agreement. Opening his vest and revealing a six-inch device
covered with gray tap, Sowers first demands to take his wife out
of the building.
Later, holding a battery in one hand and a
bare wire in the other, he demands to spend an hour with his wife
alone. About 10 a.m., his lawyer persuades Sowers to have
the talk in the conference room. The building is evacuated
about 10:30 a.m. Police grant Sowers his requested hour at
Minutes later, both Sowers and his wife, Anne
Elizabeth Sowers, 36, are killed instantly. Fire Chief Ned
Perry estimates the force of the explosion equal to "several
sticks of dynamite." Investigators later say they may never
be able to determine if the bomb was accidentally or intentionally
triggered. (May 11, 1978)no12may78, no13may78
Joyce Finnerty hired as first fire educator. The thirty-one year
old Cary resident is only one of three fire educators in the state.
Her first priority is expanding the fire department's school
education program. She's also planned to receive training and serve
as an active firefighter. (October 1978)cn11oct78
Apparatus note: 1953 Seagrave pumper assigned to
brush fire duties.
Apparatus note: 1979/1963 Dodge brush truck placed
Former Air Force ambulance is purchased
as military surplus for $700 in
1978. The low-mileage vehicle (11,000 miles) is obtained from
an Army Surplus Depot and rebuilt by firefighters, with
consultation of town mechanics. The conversion into a brush truck
$1,500. Work is done at both fire stations and at the Town Shop. (May 10, 1979)
Fire department accepts applications for four
First step in application process is passing an
aptitude test administered by the Employment Security Commission.
Once past that hurdle, applications face a series of fire
department tests including carrying a specific amount of weight
for a certain distance and carrying a hose up a ladder. Once
hired, incoming firefighters learn to maneuver with equipment and
are expected to begin a physical exercise program. During a
four-week orientation phase, rookies must learn every piece of
equipment on a fire truck. There's also a written exam and
dexterity tests. At the end of four weeks, the firefighter
is assigned to an officer and company and can officially be called
a Firefighter I. The starting pay range is from $10,005 to
$13,250. (June 1979)cn06jun79
Town gets 911 emergency telephone service,
becoming first Wake County community to adopt the shorter number.
Begins operating on Monday, October 8. Anyone with a 467 or 469
exchange can use the number. The old number was 467-6101. Calls are
answered in the town emergency communications center, in the lower
level of the town hall.
(October 8, 1979)no05oct79
Town revamps pay schedules for all employees,
bringing salary levels in line with comparable municipalities.
Fire hydrants changed to national standard threads.
Threads changed on 900 fire hydrants in town during a seven-day
period. The project costs about $41,000. To expedite the program each
hydrant is assigned a number. The town is then divided into
quarters, and then into routes. Firefighters are divided into teams
to install the threads on the hydrants, hoses, and trucks. The
existing threads originally matched Raleigh's, and for the assumed
purpose of mutual aid, if Raleigh responded to Cary. The threads
later evolved into a different "Cary thread," and both types were in
use. By changing to national standard, there were several benefits:
developers could purchase fire hydrants without special ordering.
Such hydrants would be delivered faster. And the fire department
could order new hose couplings faster, without customization. The
new equipment was provided by Zimmerman and Evans Fire and Safety in
Greensboro. (December 1979)cn02jan80
Snapshot, from Comprehensive Fire Management and Fire
- Engine 1 - 1971 American LaFrance, 1000/500 - Station 1
- Engine 2 - 1965 American LaFrance, 1000/750 - Station 2
- Engine 3 - 1975 Ford/American LaFrance, 1250/500 - Station 1
- First back-up
- Engine 4 - 1953 Seagrave, 750/500 - Station 1 - Second
- Truck 6 - 1976 GMC service truck - Station 2
with 16 foot (1), 20 foot (1), 30 foot (2), 35 foot (2), 45 foot
- Brush 9 - 1963 Dodge - Station 2
- Car 1 - 1976 Plymouth Fury - Fire Chief
- Car 2 - 1977 Plymouth Fury - Fire Marshal
- Car 3 - 1972 Ford pick-up - Multi-purpose, also response
Continue reading 1980 and later
||Calvin Beck, History of Cary Fire
||Cary Fireman's Day records
||Fire or Alarm Record
||Legeros Fire Blog
||News and Observer
||News and Observer Index
||NC Secretary of State
||The State Magazine
||Wake County Fireman's Association records
||Wake County real estate records
||Yrac Fire Department records
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