12/07/11 438 W, 1 I - + 6 - 4 December 10, 1941

Three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the state's fire chiefs and police chiefs convened at the Capitol. They were addressed by the Governor, who announced his plans to invoke emergency authority and confer police power upon the Highway Patrol. He also addressed the possibility of air raids. "Nobody doubts but that, while there would be sharp resistance and gallant opposition, it would be possible for the Germans of the Japanese to send plans over our country." He asked that police and firemen also strive to keep public morale at a high level in the event of emergencies.

There were sessions conducted on civilian defense, including one conducted by State Fire Marshal Sherwood Brockwell. He was also the recently named coordinator of state defense against fire. Some 170 fire chiefs listened and took notes as Brockwell lectured on identifying and combating incendiary bombs. He was helped by Lt. Kenlon H. Brockwell, his son and Post Fire Marshal at Fort Bragg, and Capt. J. M. Munday, Drill Master of the Charlotte Fire Department. (If Munday's name seems familiar, he died on duty in 1955. He was an Assistant Chief and suffered a coronary.)

From the December 11, 1941, issue of the New & Observer: "Brockwell demonstrated the content of an incendiary bomb and explained the equipment needed and the procedure for extinguishing it. From a chart, he explained the appearance and effect of armor piercing, demolition, fragmentation, aerial mine, light and scatter aerial bombs. [He] also explained the action of white phosphorous and thermite, the formerly highly adaptable to sabotage, and offered ways of counteracting their flames." He explained thermite is used against oil deposits,  and urged special precautions in such places as Wilmington.

Fire chiefs were urged to coordinate their departments for "mutual assistance" in the event of raids. They were told that they should also depend on "mobilized, organized civilian aid." The attending police chiefs, meanwhile, discussed deputizing citizens in the event of emergencies. They were urged to "prepare lists of 'qualified and dependable men'" for same. The Governor the day before had issued bulletin to the mayors of North Carolina cities with over 5,000 people, describing how to organize Civilian Protection Committees. Bulletins to smaller towns were pending. (Auxiliary fire companies would be organized in a number of cities and towns, including in Raleigh.)

This photo appeared in the aforementioned News & Observer story with the headline "Fire Chiefs Hear Air Raid Lecture." Pictured left to right are Kenlon Brockwell, Sherwood Brockwell, and J. M. Munday. Click to enlarge:

News & Observer photo

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