07/06/13 358 W, 1 I - + 2 - 3 UPDATED: Wake Forest Fire Engine > Carolina Beach, 1936

July 6
And a photograph. This is from the New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives, from the Louis T. Moore Collection. He took this photograph between 1921 and 1940, the year of the great fire. The structure on the right is City Hall (as the sign notes), and the fire station is the small building on the right. As for the apparatus, is that the old Wake Forest fire truck? Good question. View an interactive version of the image. Or click to enlarge:

July 5
Found in a newspaper article today, the first fire truck owned by the town of Wake Forest ended up in Carolina Beach in 1936. The June 26, 1936, edition of the Star notes that the Carolina Beach Fire Department--which was undergoing a reorganization--now possessed "500 feet of hose and a LaFrance chemical and hose truck" that was "formerly used by the town of Wake Forest." The town also had a new water system, which provided "every cottage [with] hydrant protection."

The truck is presumably (but not certainly) a Westcott/American LaFrance chemical and hose truck that the Wake Forest Fire Department placed in service in the mid-1920s. As my WFFD notes note, it was old Westcott automobile that was converted by firefighters.1 The top was cut off, a hose bed added, a basket for the American LaFrance chemical tanks, and "provisions" made for carrying ladders. In 1935, the town purchased a 1935 Chevrolet/Barton pumper. After that point, they likely sold their earlier or earliest fire engine.2

Based on my recent Carolina Beach Fire Department research, the town purchased a 1944 American LaFrance pumper some years later. Believe that's the truck shown in this picture. What happened to the former Wake Forest rig? Nothing found as of yet.

1Westcott producted automobiles between 1909 and 1925, so the model year was no later than a 1925. See this Wikipedia page.
2Did the town have more than one fire engine by 1935? And/or might they have replaced the chassis of the Wescott, last confirmed in a 1926 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map? Don't know, but it's certainly not outside the realm of possibilities.

How the heck can this mystery be solved? Perhaps an enterprising soul will take time to peruse the town minutes from the 1930s, and find any references to the apparatus that was sold to Carolina Beach. Just takes time.
Legeros - 07/07/13 - 21:45

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