06/15/14 332 W, 2 I - + 9 - 3 Vintage Rescue Boats at Station 28

You're probably familiar with Raleigh's antique fire engines, which are seen in parades and appear at South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. They're shown on the Raleigh Fire Museum's rack cards and are well-known in the Capital City. There's a steamer (1905 American LaFrance), an early "triple combination" (1926 American LaFrance), and two Mack pumpers (1950 and 1982). Plus a new addition in recent years, though owned by the museum. That's a 1961 American LaFrance pumper.

But do you also know about the old rescue boats? These are a pair of wooden boats from 1953, mounted on a home-built boat trailer and originally operated by the Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad. That was city and county's first rescue squad, organized in tandem with the fire department and civilian volunteers that year. They were heavy and required six people to load and unload, and ten people to carry into hard-to-reach areas.1

The boats were replaced in April 1975, when Jeffries Auto Marina Service donated pair of fourteen-foot lightweight aluminum boats and trailers. The wooden boats remained on the roster at least a couple more years, referred in documents as "old rescue boats." They ended up stored at a city facility for decades until returned to the fire department in September 2008. See blog posting about same.

Here are pictures of the boats at Station 28, as well as the other apparatus stored there. The station's located at 3500 Forestville Road. Great place to visit.

Body recovery was one of the reasons the squad was formed, after the city received criticism after a Neuse River drowning victim wasn't recovered for a week. The rescue squad would perform numerous body recoveries over the years and decades, and often with the civilian squad members participating. For other "regular" rescue runs, such as emergency calls in the city, the squad was typically staffed by a dedicated Rescue Driver and a firefighter pulled from Station 1.

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