07/31/11 868 W - + 6 - 9 Reader Mail

Been a while since we looked through our letters. Let's open the mail bag and see what the gas bag has to say. Most of these queries or comments have been edited for clarity, or rewritten to conceal the identity of the sender. Just being polite on the last point, since no permission has been asked to reprint their notes. Mail me, if you don't want your letter reprinted.

I came across your Cary Fire Department timeline and noticed that there was a mention of Ashworth Drugs under 1935… “Fire station is ordered moved to new location, in back of the Masonic Lodge at corner Chatham and Academy streets.  Lodge building later becomes Ashworth's Drugstore in 1977( August 24, 1935) cb”. I’m not sure if Chief Beck misspoke or not, but the drugstore actually became Ashworth’s in 1957. Just prior to that it was Adams’ Pharmacy.

Thanks for the correction. I will update that page at my next opportunity. That timeline, and others for other Wake County fire departments, was created in the early 2000s, as I was conducting historical research used in my Raleigh and Wake County Firefighting books. Alas, my priorities and attentions have since shifted, and those web-based timelines have been without updates for a while. Group editing and input would be great. Maybe I'll convert them to Wiki pages, someday. Let the collective take ownership and revise as desired.


In your posting about demolished stations, you stated that the original New Hope Station 1 was demolished before the current station was built. Are you sure about this?  I remember when I used to hang around that place in the late 1980s, and when the current meeting room (the two windows to the left of the entrance) used to be bay space. If I am not mistaken, the current meeting room and day room space, and the two bays on the far end of the station, are additions. Any way you can confirm this? 

Here's what I have recorded about the first New Hope fire stations: In 1956, the first fire station is "L" shaped building at corner of Louisburg and New Hope roads, with loaned / rented garage bay on the New Hope Road side. The first fire truck is stored there. In 1958 or abouts, a new fire station is constructed at 4615 New Hope Road. Same is a three-bay building with a blackboard (for writing down calls) and an entrance to the right of bays.


I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me, being you are the historian you are!  

What was the first fire department in North Carolina and the date?

What was the first fully staffed fire department in North Carolina and the date?

What was the first department to have paid staff in North Carolina and the date?

Any of the state's first volunteer fire companies can be cited as "first fire departments." New Bern in 1773, though that was the year they were authorized to create one. Unsure if it was actually formed that year. Salem in 1785. Fayetteville in 1791, which was the year chartered. Does that mean that an un-chartered fire company existed before then? Possibly.  

For historical context, we should equate fully staffed = career department formed. Charlotte was 1887, then Wilmington a year later.

Now, for paid staff, that's a toughie. Back in the day, the volunteer companies of the 19th Century had paid drivers and engineers on duty. But you might mean paid part-time staff in the more modern context. No idea on that one.


In any of your millions of factoids, do you have information regarding (1.) the price Raleigh paid for a Mack CF pumper and (2.) the price paid for a Pierce Enforcer/Dash, or whatever they are currently using?

#1 - 1982 - $108,000.  1975 - $48,924.  The first and last purchases were in 1970 and 1982, respectively.
#2 - 2010 - I don't have those numbers, but think it's between $400 and $500K. Probably closer to $400K.


I am interested in hearing about how you published your two books about Raleigh and Wake County Firefighting with Arcadia Publishing, in their Images of America series.  This is something that I am very interested in doing with our department, and I was wondering what you experienced when you were doing it.

Had a great experience and have much to tell. Anyone interested in hearing can just drop me a private message.


Here's a good thing to post on the blog, maybe generate some discussion and open some minds. It's Bill Gustin's Critical Components of Size-up.

Thanks. That's good stuff.


Here's another Tunnels to Towers Run, this one in Wilmington. September 11 at Veterans Park. Passing along, if you know of anyone interested.

Thanks. Looks like four in our state, so far. Charlotte, Jacksonville, Wake Forest, Wilmington. Visit www.tunneltotowersrun.org for more information.


[ General or specific question about buying a scanner, programming a scanner, finding pager tones, or other monitoring stuff. ]

For such queries, I refer readers to the great and knowledgeable Marshall Sherard, who reads this blog and is probably reading now. He can help with all things radio.

Wow Thanks Mike :) And yes I read this site daily and I am always happy to help folks out. My contact info is right after my name. Stay safe and stay cool folks!
Marshall Sherard KE4ZNR (Email) (Web Site) - 07/31/11 - 15:35


Q: Do you know of any venues suitable for selling fire models and other memorabilia? How about the weekend Raleigh fairground flea market? Any suggestions appreciated.

A: I know of exactly ZERO places locally for selling such stuff. Haven’t seen firematic stuff at any of the flea markets, that I can recall. Two years ago, the Chief of Western Wake and myself put our heads together, and held a firematic flea market in conjunction with an anniversary event of theirs. It was a one-day thing, for a few hours. We had minimal attendance. Some folks showed. Sold some stuff. I have mentioned the flea market idea again and again, around here. Still doesn’t seem to get much traction. Maybe we need to head north!
Legeros - 07/31/11 - 19:27

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