03/10/08 437 W - + 15 - 9 Random History of RFD

The rent of the house on Method Road, used as Station 8 in the early 1960s, was $100 a month commencing April 1, 1960. It was located north of Seymour's Auto Service... In 1969 on an unspecified date, the Public Works Committee recommended that the same architectural designs used for Station 4, Station 8, and Station 9 be used for any new fire stations to be constructed. Recommendation approved. No kidding... The fire department work week was reduced to 66 hours effective February 1, 1970. This action required 24 additional men: 6 captains, 7 drivers, and 11 privates... The bid amount for the first Mack CF pumpers was $33,580.52 (per truck), plus $3,400 for additional equipment. Five bids were received, unknown which other apparatus makers... By 1971, the price of a Mack pumper had increased to $40,928... The Six Forks Road Volunteer Fire Department was contracted by the city in 1960 to protect city territory north of Crabtree Creek, for $350 a month, until a fire station could be built... City minutes from 1961. "The Council was informed that firemen tore down old Fire Station No. 5 to make way for the new station, thereby saving the City considerable money, and that the material will be used to building a smoke house back of the present fire tower for training firemen. The Council expressed appreciation and commended Chief Keeter and members of his department for their cooperation"... The bidders for a 750 GPM pumper in 1949 were Howe, Pirsch, Oren, Mack, American LaFrance, Maxim, Ward LaFrance, and Seagrave. The award went to Mack, for $13,300... Bids for the tiller in 1957 were submitted by only two companies, American LaFrance and Seagrave... City minutes from 1958: "The City Manager reported that the cooking range at Central Fire Station was worn out and after investigation it was recommended that it be replaced by a heavy-duty restaurant type stove, and he requested the Council to authorize a transfer of $675 within the department for the purchase of the stove"... The expense of supplying air conditioning to the fire stations was approved in 1971... In January 1951, construction of an additional room at Station 4 was approved. It would be used as a kitchen, with firefighters providing the labor... City minutes from 1953, regarding acquisition of a Civil Defense rescue truck for the fire department: "the truck must be considered as a piece of stand-by equipment subject to call to Norfolk, Virginia, in the event of an attack by enemy forces"... The bid price in 1926 for a new American LaFrance pumper was $12,500. The city received a $1,500 discount, for trading an old Type 12 pumper... Salaries in 1947-48 included $2,700 for Asst. Chief A. B. Lloyd, $2,460 for mechanic May T. Parker, $2,040 for the newest firemen, and $1,560 for each of the three telephone operations.


Speaking of history and the current lack of working fires in Raleigh within the last week or so…in your research throughout the years, have you noticed or discovered a similar lull in working fires? I’m also wondering how the number of working fires in today’s time compare to the number of fires in yesteryear…more, less, about the same? As always, just curious.
RFD574 - 03/14/08 - 18:34

That is an interesting question, and one that’s difficult to answer. My historical data is too spotty to fully answer the question. But we can make some observations.

In 1925, there were 8 working fires that used 3 or more lines. That year, RFD answered 338 calls. So, those 8 fires represented 2.4%.

In 1930, there were 6 working fires that used 3 or more lines. Out of 458 calls, they represented 1.3%

In 1935, there were 7 such fires. Out of 562 calls, they represented 1.2%

In 1949, there were 4 such fires. Out of 698 calls, they represented .5%

Call volume rising, and fires requiring 3 or more lines dropping. But itís just a sampling, and not necessarily with 100% valid data.

Last year, RFD answered nearly 35,000 calls. Letís say 40% of those were non-EMS calls. And using those early 20th century percentages, letís compute 1.5% of 14,000, or 210.

Last year, were there 210 fires that required 3 or more lines? That would be comparable to the 1930s, roughly, vaguely, possibly.

Ask again in another year or two, as I am always adding to my historical data.
Legeros - 03/14/08 - 19:34

Paul has the capability to gather fire info from our Firehouse – giving a reasonably accurate accounting of working fires. The 3 or more lines part may be slightly more difficult to break down though.
goose - 03/14/08 - 21:22

Here’s a fire report form from 1931, http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/raleigh/h..

In days of old, when knights were bold, these forms were tallied in a oversized ledger books, with multiple columns of data. I’ve done one round of transcription, recording all fires using three lines or more. e.g., major or pretty good-sized fires. Someday I’ll return and record all fires, or, heck, all calls.
Legeros - 03/15/08 - 07:17

Remember personal info?

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