10/09/11 416 W, 6 I - + 11 - 2 Fuquay Springs Engine 1

This vintage beauty was parked in front of the Fuquay-Varina Fire Department yesterday for the occasion of their open house. That was held at Station 1, located smack downtown. The building was recently renovated, though is still lettered on one side "Fuquay-Varina Fire Departments," plural. That's a reference to when both a town and rural fire department operated from the same building. Heck, maybe they're still separate entities on paper. 

Fuquay-Varina was once two towns: Fuquay Springs, renamed from Sippihaw in 1902 and incorporated in 1909, and Varina, which opened a post office in 1880. Can't find an incorporation date for the latter, however. The towns maintained separate identities and post offices until 1963, when a great group hug created the town as named today.

Fuquay Springs had a fire department, and the pictured engine, a 1945 Mack Type 45 pumper, was purchased in 1946. This followed a major fire on March 7 of that year that burned the town's main block. Angier, Apex, Dunn, Lillington, and Raleigh came to assist with that one. Town officials ordered an immediate upgrade of their firefighting capabilities. 

What about the early history of both Fuquay Springs FD and Varina FD? That one's a toughie, and some years past the point that Yours Truly was conducting his research in that area. My documented data is contained in this timeline, but it's missing information for the 1920s. The department's history page cites 1925 as the origin year. More research is definitely needed.1 Maybe it's already been done. Meanwhile, click to enlarge the below photos, or see more shots from yesterday's event.

1Based on the age of both towns, the progress of fire protection probably went something like this: fire equipment was privately or municipally obtained at some early point in each town's history. At a later time, a formally organized fire company or fire department was established. Maybe in just one town, maybe in both. (If memory serves, I have seen at least one reference to a Varina FD in some old article, somewhere. Don't remember where.) Membership and effectiveness of the fire departments(s) probably waxed and waned. Then there'd be a big fire, and things would be improved. When the rural department was created in 1954, it bore the name Fuquay-Varina. The towns were still nine years away from merger. Does that suggest that a joint Fuquay-Varina Fire Department, based in and likely funded by both towns, was already in operation? Probably, and that's what my old research notes seem to indicate.

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