Raleigh Fire Department History



Seven stations protecting 33.7square miles and 93,931 residents. 

Station 8 opened at 903 Kent Road, occupied a rented residence north of Seymour's Auto Service at the intersection of Western Boulevard and Kent Road. The rental rate was $100 per month. Engine 8 placed in service with a 1958 American LaFrance pumper and the crew from Engine 9, the second engine company at Station 1. Six men were assigned to each shift. Photos and more information. (April 1, 1960)rfd

Apparatus note: Tanker 2 placed in service at Station 2 with 1960 GMC / Alexander tanker. Photos and more information. (April 1, 1960)rfd

Apparatus note: Tanker 1 placed in service at Station 8 with 1960 GMC / Alexander tanker. Photos and more information. (by May 19, 1960)rfd

Carolina Builders warehouse at Dawson and Lane Streets burned. Fire reported at 6:41 p.m. from Box 41 by a passing motorist. One-story brick building, with 6,000 square-feet of floor space, serves as window-assembly plant. Smoke surged for several blocks before firefighters, "wearing gas masks," could "batter down the heavy doors and bring the smoldering blaze under control." Loss $41,000. E1, E4, T1, R1, E3. [MF] (September 23, 1960)rt24sep60, rfd

Apparatus note: Second service truck company placed in service as Truck 7 with 1922 American LaFrance service truck. Photos and more information. (October 25, 1960)rfd


McAllister Building Supply at 414 Dupont Circle burned. Fire reported at 12:05 p.m. by telephone. Loss $65,000. E1, E2, T1, E3, R1, E5, E4 at Station 1, E4 to scene for overhaul. Fire reported again that night and next day, one engine sent both times. [MF] (February 21, 1961)rfd

James H. Anderson building at 418 W. Peace St. burned. Fire reported at 4:10 p.m. by telephone. Loss $51,097.33. E1, E4, T6, R1, E5, T1, E3 at Station 1, E3 to scene for overhaul. [MF] (April 7, 1961)rfd

Apparatus note: Second engine company returned to service at Station 1 as Engine 10. (April 21, 1961)rfd

Apparatus delivered:

  • 1961 American LaFrance Series 900 pumper, later placed in service as Engine 1.
  • 1961 American LaFrance Series 900 pumper, later placed in service as Engine 5.
    Photos and more information. (March 1961)

Rainbow Cleaners at Glenwood Village burned. Fire reported at 2:26 a.m. by telephone. Damage included barber shop. Loss $62,259. E4, E6, T6, E3, R1. [MF] (April 7, 1961)rfd

Apparatus delivered: 1961 American LaFrance 900 Series aerial ladder, later placed in service as Truck 5. Photos and more information. (April 1961)

Rectory at Catholic Orphanage burns. Reverend Raymond J. Donohue started a fire on the roof while attempting to burn 14 wasp nests in the eaves. Fanned by a breeze, the flames quickly spread to the upper rooms and roof. Firefighters battled the 11:16 a.m. blaze for 30 minutes before bringing under control. Some 5,400 feet of hose were stretched to the nearest hydrant on Western Boulevard, a quarter of a mile away. The 20-room, two-story frame building was nearly a total loss. One firefighter, Walton Ferrell, was injured, spraining his back while holding a hose line. Building also housed the Nazareth branch post office. [UF] (July 13, 1961)no14jul61

Station 5 closed at 1914 Park Drive. Engine 5 relocated to Station 6 while new station was completed on same lot. Firefighters began demolishing the old station, with the bricks later used to build a smokehouse beside the drill tower. Photos and more information. (July 24, 1961)rfd

Apparatus note: Truck 6 removed from service as 1922 American LaFrance service truck retired. (July 24, 1961)rfd

Station 5 opened at 300 Oberlin Road, adjacent to former station located on same lot. The single-story station housed an engine and a truck company. Photos and more information. (September 26, 1961)rt26jul61, oh

Apparatus note: Second aerial truck company placed in service as Truck 5 with 1961 American LaFrance aerial ladder. Photos and more information. (by October 4, 1961)rfd

Fatal fire at 323 Hillsboro Street. Pre-dawn blaze killed one man and forced "20 other persons from their apartments." Fire reported 2:18 a.m. by telephone and "two and a half hours later, more than 100 Raleigh firemen had the blaze under control." Hillsboro Apartments building, a three-story concrete and wood-frame structure built in 1880 by merchant S. C. Pool, is "almost a total loss." Fire Chief Jack Keeter said "fire apparently started in the basement of the 14-apartment building located in the 300 block of Hillsboro Street across from the Women's club" and "flames apparently spread through the central part of the building between the old Will Wren home place structure front on Hillsboro Street and a newer addition on the back." Firefighters rescued three residents, one of who was taken to the emergency room and released. More than a " half a dozen ambulances" stood by on Morgan and Hillsboro streets as the fire raged. Fire was finally brought under control "about 6:30 a.m." One firefighter is injured, Johnny Turner, "veteran of many years of fire fighting," is "struck on the shoulder by a fire hose." He is treated for "strained muscles and bruises at Wake Memorial Hospital." Lawrence Collins, "janitor in the building for many years," was found dead in his basement apartment. The Firemen's Auxiliary Coffee Committee, made up of firemen's wives, also responded. "The stacks of sandwiches went down fast. All off-duty firemen had been called in, so there were quite a few on hand" reporteds accompanying "Women's World" column. Reported the Raleigh Times "a young blonde girl pleaded with firemen to let her go inside the burning Hillsboro Apartments building. 'There's something I have to get,' she insisted as Fire Chief Jack Keeter looked skeptical. The girl, Eve Prichard who works at Ivey-Taylors, is wearing housecoat and bedroom slippers. Just a short time before she had fled from her apartment to escape the flames and smoke. Her pleading was insistent, and the stern chief relented. The fire has been doused in the end of the house where the girl lived. Chief Keeter led the way inside. Another gallant firemen, observing all the water on the floor, gave the girl a ride on his back. The trio disappeared inside. Soon they came back. And Eve, still riding on the fireman's back, displayed her left hand. She was wearing her wedding band, the 'something' she had to go in and get." Loss $70,000. [MF] (September 16, 1961)no17sep61, rt18sep61, rfd

Boylan-Pearce department store 416 Woodburn Road in Cameron Village burned. Fire reported at 4:20 p.m. by telephone. Though fire was contained to stock room, more than 100 shoppers fleed the smoke-filled store. Blaze was brought under control within 15 minutes. One firefighter, Captain J. M. Hobby, suffered burns on his right hand. Loss $19,044. E4, E5, T5, E10, R1, T1. [MF] (December 13, 1961)no14dec61, rfd

Apparatus note: New automobiles purchased for " firefighters" during Fiscal Year 1961 at cost of $8,872.90. cad


Apparatus note: Squad company placed in service at 8:00 a.m. at Station 6 with 1948 Ford auxiliary truck. Two firefighters were assigned to the company. Squad was previously housed at Station 1. (January 17, 1962)rfd

Apparatus note: Truck 7 removed from service. (by April 8, 1962).rfd

Raleigh Rescue Squad profiled in the News & Observer on May 23, 1962. Described as comprised of "some 25 to 30 volunteers, led by Raleigh firemen Harold Jones and Ralph Hailey," and who "serve only on the Rescue Squad, each heading a 12-hour shift." Twelve other squad members are firemen who "serve on the Rescue Squad in their off-duty hours. Other members of the squad were railroad dispatchers, bus drivers, insurance men, store clerks..." The squad answered "a hundred or more calls a year," such as the Burlington Mills Finishing Plant worker who had climbed on top of an elevated coal bin to "shake down coal that had stuck to the sides of the bin." The worker lost his footing and fell through the hatch, ending up "buried up to his nose in coal." The rescue squad was called and soon called for "the big aerial truck and a doctor." The doctor was "lowered head-first through the hatch to give the man a shot to prevent shock." A hole was chopped "in the side of the bin" and the coal level lowered enough to allow rescues to tie a rope around the trapped worker. "Rolling stock of the Rescue Squad included two trucks, a white panel truck and a larger, van-type vehicle. Both trucks were equipped with an artificial resuscitator and an oxygen inhaler." The squad also had "two complete scuba diving sets which Jones and Hailey have been trained to use." In addition to "the hundred or more emergency calls, the Rescue Squad also answers 'standby calls.'" Explains Fire Chief Jack Keeter "'The Rescue Squad is used to stand by at fires in areas where there is danger of persons being overcome by smoke, fumes, or burned. They also stand by at schools during bomb scares... The boys are trained also to work with fire hazards in connection with atomic energy and in monitoring or checking radioactivity in an area..." (May 23, 1962)no23may62

Apparatus notes: Two automobiles, approved for purchase from Sir Walter Raleigh Chevrolet by City Council. (October 31, 1962)

Hayes Barton Baptist Church at 1800 Glenwood Avenue burned. Fire reported at 6:03 a.m. from Box 622 by a passing congregation member. Fire is controlled by 8:45 a.m. The sanctuary and old education building were destroyed. Three firefighters were struck by parts of falling roof and transported to Rex Hospital for emergency treatment: George Coats, burned on right hand and slight scalp lacerations; Leland Frazier, first and second degree burns on both hands; and Reginald Poole, small scalp laceration. Loss to the 34 year-old building was $477,455. E4, E6, T5, R1, Squad, E10, E5, E1, T1. [MF] (September 5, 1962)rt05sep62,rfd

Exhibition Building at State Fair burned. Three rows of display booths were destroyed. Engine 1, Engine 5, and Truck 5 responded as mutual aid to the one-story masonry and steel structure. See Fairgrounds Fire Department timeline. [MA] (September 22, 1962)no23sep62

Fire department vehicles at end of 1961-62 fiscal year: three cars, nine pumpers, three ladder trucks, two rescue trucks, one maintenance truck, one fire alarm truck, one squad truck, two tankers, and four reserve trucks.ar


First black firefighter reported for duty, the city's first black firefighter since the disbanding of the volunteer Victory Company in 1912. (February 14, 1963)yb84

Station 9 opened at 4465 Six Forks Road at 1:30 p.m.. Engine 9 assigned 1951 American LaFrance pumper. Tanker 9 placed in service with 1960 GMC / Alexander tanker. Photos and more information. (February 14, 1963)yb02+, rt30jan63, rfd

Station 8 opened at 5001 Western Boulevard, replacing rented structure at 903 Kent Road. Photos and more information. (After February 14, 1963)rt21feb63

Oak City Laundry at 436 S. Salisbury St. burned. Fire reported at 2:05 p.m. by telephone. Loss to the two-story brick building was $19,612. T1, R1, E1, E2, E3, E10. [MF?] (April 4, 1963)no, rfd

Station 4 opened at 2913 Wake Forest Road, replacing old station 505 Jefferson Street. Photos and more information. (April 12, 1963)rfd

Apparatus note: Truck 7 returned to service after firefighters build a new service truck using a 1963 Ford chassis. Parts included ladder mounts from 1922 American LaFrance service truck. Photos and more information. (by June 15, 1963)rt14jun63

Propane tanker crashed into two trees on curve between Boylan Avenue and Boylan Drive. Firefighters hosed down area as a precaution after roadblocks were set up. Accident occured about 6:45 a.m., injuring the driver. [UI] (August 7, 1963)no

Charcoal Steak House at intersection of Milburnie Road and New Bern Avenue damaged by fire. Glass panel was broken in restaurant lobby and gasoline was poured into building, then ignited. Fiberglass curtains inside the lobby window apparently prevented fire from spreading to the rest of the $180,000 building. [MF] (August 25, 1963)no

Camp Polk mattress plant and woodworking warehouse on Blue Ridge Road burned. Fire reported at 3:08 p.m. by telephone. Both buildings were destroyed by the wind-fanned flames. Engine 5 and Engine 8 responded as mutual aid with Fairgrounds Fire Department. Loss $46,500. [MF] (November 14, 1963)rfd

Fire Prevention Bureau enlarged to six full-time personnel. yb84

Apparatus note: automobile purchased for "Fire Prevention" during Fiscal Year 1963 at cost of $1793.52 cad


Angus Barn at 9401 Glenwood Avenue burned. Fire reported 7:35 a.m. by telephone, by passing truck driver. Rural fire departments were dispatched from Morrisville, Six Forks, and Fairgrounds, along with Raleigh Tanker 9. By the time firefighters arrived, the roof has caved in and, by 8 a.m., "only the charred and cracked walls" stood above a "pile of cinders and twisted metal." Damage about $250,000. [MA] (February 7, 1964)no08feb64, rfd

Town and Country Furniture Store at 2128 Western Boulevard burned. Fire reported 3:12 a.m. by telephone, by News & Observer employee who was passing the building. Flames swept through the two-story cinder block structure early Sunday morning. When firefighters arrived, "flames [have] already eaten away much of the interior and were licking out through a service door at the rear of the structure." Flames were brought under control by 6 a.m. but are "blazing again late Sunday afternoon." Firefighters maintained a "24-hour watch on the building," which was "constructed some 15 years ago and was opened as the Club Bon Air, a plush supper club. About three years later, WNAO-TV and WKIX radio moved broadcast studios and administrative offices into the building. Town and Country Furniture Co. occupied the building six years ago when the television station suspended operations." E2, E10, E8, T1, R1, T5 for clean-up, E1 again at 2:27 p.m. for smoldering. Loss $103,616.25. [MF] (February 23, 1964)no24feb64, rfd

Fire Chief ordered to stop "using City firefighting equipment for pumping water to private swimming pools" after two previous years of assisting citizens who both paid for the water and a "$1 fee for the use of each section of fire hose." (May 1964)no05may64

Budget for 1964-65 included approval for:

  • Two additional Fire Inspectors, increasing the number to five
  • Four additional Fire Dispatchers, increasing the number to eight
  • One additional Fire Alarm Technician, increasing the number to two. (July 1, 1964)bd

Plane crashed at Raleigh Municipal Airport. Single-engine aircraft, only recently purchased, began losing power about 100 feet above the runway after taking off. Pilot attempts to turn around and plane nose-dived to earth. Pilot was killed, passenger, nine year-old son, survived. [AA] (August 1, 1964)no02aug64

Smokehouse erected next to drill tower, using bricks from old Station 5. Photos and more information. (by August 13, 1964)rt13aug64

Warren's Restaurant at 301 W. Martin St. burned. Three alarms. Fire reported at 4:45 a.m. by verbal alarm. The half-century old, two-story brick and frame building blazed for three hours after starting in kitchen of restaurant and spreading through air conditioning ducts. Adjacent offices also damaged.E1, T1, E10, T1, R1, E2, E3, E4, T7, T5, E4 filling in at Station 1. E10 returned twice next day for smoldering, plus T7 next day for clean-up. Loss $383,954.15. [MF] (October 1, 1964)rt, no, fp.

City Council authorized purchase of the "expenditure of up to $4000" for a foam truck and equipment. (October 5, 1964)rt06oct64

Raleigh competed with Winston-Salem during Fire Prevention Week to see which city has the least amount of fire damage. (October 4-10, 1964)rt

Portable Restaurant at State Fairgrounds burned. Raleigh provided mutual aid to Fairgrounds Fire Department and "rural departments from Cary and Apex." Damage was estimated at $100,000. Fire started out at night and was watched by thousands of spectators. [MA] (October 14, 1964)no14oct64

Fire Department reported as having problems filling vacant positions, with 15 slots still open. (October 29, 1964)rt

Jeffreys' Food Store at corner of New Bern Avenue and Tarboro Road burned. Fire reported 9:47 p.m. by telephone. Five firefighters "narrowly" escaped injury when the roof fell in. First alarm was sounded at 9:47 p.m. Only injury was suffered by a firefighter who stepped on a nail. E3, E7, T7, E10, R1. $39,000. [MF?] (November 10, 1964)rt11nov64, rfd

Fire Chief's car collided with another at intersection of McDowell and Jones Street. Chief Keeter, responding to a morning fire call, entered intersection "with the red light on his car blinking and the siren on." The driver of the other car was charged with a moving violation, for driving without her glasses. [AI] (Wednesday before November 20, 1964)no20nov64

Williams Hall and Withers Hall at State College burned. State Bureau of Investigation started probe, believe the fire intentional. [UF] (December 18, 1964)

Bryan Building at Cameron Village burned. Fire reported 5:25 a.m. by verbal alarm. Flames damaged one third of block-long, two-story, masonry and frame building on west side of Daniels Street, including Bryan Building. Fire was started in kitchen of Hofbrau (Restaurant) and, with the approval of Fire Chief Jack Keeter, was extinguished with the help of trailer-mounted foam generator that was towed by a salesman passing through Raleigh at the time of the fire. Cameron Village owner Willie York so impressed that he later purchased one for the fire department, with the provision that the unit was stationed at the nearby fire station. E5, E6, T5, R1, E10, E10, E4, T1. Loss $634,699. [MF] (December 2, 1964)cvhnoi, rfd

Vehicle purchase: Automobile for "Fire Prevention" during Fiscal Year 1964 at cost of $1774.77. cad


Lucille Hunter School at 1018 E. Davie St. burned. Three+ alarms. Fire reported 11:40 p.m. by telephone. Two-story brick structure. E2, E3, T1, E10, R1, E1, T7, E4 at 1 and T5 at 1, E5 at 1, T5, E4, E5, E10, T7 clean-up. Loss $283,000. [MF] (January 21, 1965)rfd

Apparatus delivered: First foam unit purchased, a 3/4 ton light truck with high-expansion foam generator purchased during Fiscal Year 1965 at a cost of $1708.88 (truck)and $2056.75 (generator). Photos and more information. (January 1965)cad

Dispatcher Roy High, one of four fire department dispatchers, was profiled in a Raleigh Times article on January 28, 1965. Details of the dispatching system included:

  • when an alarm box was pulled on the street, a gong automatically sounded in every fire station. The number of beats corresponded to the box number
  • the veteran dispatcher knew nearly every box by heart. Most of the firefighters at a given station knew the box locations in their coverage areas
  • the dispatcher had a file of cards showing box locations and which companies answered first and second alarms
  • the ringing of a box alarm was also recorded on a tape-punch machine
  • when a telephone alarm was received, the dispatcher pressed a button that sounded two gongs in the station houses. This signal told the firefighters that a fire had been reported by telephone and a radio dispatch was forthcoming
  • the dispatcher had another file of cards listing street locations and which companies answered them
  • the same file has red tabs indicating that an invalid lived at that location
  • the dispatcher also received fire calls for 17 rural fire departments and could activate warning sirens prior to radio dispatches
  • the dispatcher also received fire calls from numerous private-owned and automatic alarm boxes at various commercial and industrial sites
  • the dispatcher had a third file of cards noting emergency contacts for businesses
  • the dispatcher also received all after-hours emergency calls for other City departments and maintained a list of personnel to be notified
  • the dispatcher also maintained the County Civil Defense equipment and conducted a test of same on the first Wednesday of every month
  • one wall of the "radio room" was a board containing the names of all fire department personnel with home telephone numbers, so off-duty firefighters could be recalled in needed. Colored tabs indicated whether someone was sick or taking vacation. Additionally, the fire department maintained a second radio system that could be operated by a generator in the event of a power failure. (January 28, 1965)rt28jan65

Apparatus note: Second engine company at Station 1 removed from service. Engine 10 was briefly returned to service between February 22 and 23, but remained out of service until March 21, 1969. (February 8, 1965)rfd

Apparatus note: Truck 6 returned to service with 1964 GMC service truck. Five firefighters were assigned to the truck company. Photos and more information. (February 8, 1965)rfd

Four buildings at State College damaged by six fires on same day. Holliday Hall was one of the buildings damaged by the intentional fires. [UF] (February 9, 1965)

Pullen Hall at State College damaged by fire. Intentional blaze caused minor damage. [UF] (February 1965)

Blazing telephone book discovered at Berry Dormitory at State College. [UF] (February 1965)

Pullen Hall at State College destroyed by fire. Two alarms. Fire reported 10:25 p.m. Another fire was spotted and extinguished in basement lounge of Brooks Hall. Watauga Hall, a girl's dormitory, was evacuated as hot embers strike the roof. Firefighters wet the roof of Watauga and other buildings, including Holladay Hall. Fire was apparently underway for sometime before reported to fire department after explosion was heard. Flames shot as high as 100 feet in the air from the three-story brick dormitory. Peele Hall also damaged. Two firefighters were injured, Captain Floyd T. Pipkin, who broke his leg while jumping a fence, and firefighter Charles A. Lloyd, suffered a sever cut after his foot was caught between the rungs of an aerial ladder being raised. A number of students were also injured, helping to carry filing cabinets out of Peele Hall. They were treated at the campus infirmary. Eighteen year-old ex-student was charged and later admitted to setting Pullen and seven other fires. E1, E5, T5, E6, T6. Loss $169,000. [MF] (February 22, 1965)yb84, rfd

Britt Company at 310 S. Harrington St. burned. Fire reported 1:55 p.m. from Box 334. Two-story brick building. E1, E2, T1, E6, R1, E5, E3, E4 standing by. Loss $161,500. [MF] (March 14, 1965)rfd

Fire department suffered second line-of-duty death when Paul A. "Pallie" Mimms died on duty during fire at 1908 Hillsboro Street. The line-of-duty death occurs when the 41 year-old Mimms fainted while operating a pumper and was pronounced dead on arrival at Rex Hospital. The fire at Norden Laboratories Inc. was discovered about 12:15 a.m.; Mimms was the driver of Engine 5. Mimms had been a fireman since 1951 and was buried at Montlawn Memorial Park on April 22, 1965. (April 20, 1965)no21apr65

Pender Manufacturing & Supply Company at 1522 N. Blount St. burned. Fire reported 9:50 p.m. from Box 632. Metal and brick structure. E6, E4, T6, R1, E1, T7, E3, E7 watching for sparks at Mayview Home, E9 standing by, E5 standing by, E4 returning to scene for smoldering. Loss $86,200. [MF] (April 21, 1965)rfd

Building at 423 Daniels Street burned. Fire reported at 11:52 a.m. The brick structure was damaged by an electric and gas explosion. E5, E6, T5, R1, T1, Foam 1. Loss $14,606. [UF] (May 6, 1965)rfd

Dispatcher / switchboard operator moved from front room at Station 1 to alarm house behind Station 1. (Spring 1965)rt21jun65

Steer Steak House at 1625 Louisburg Road burned. Reported 3:55 a.m. by telephone by passing motorist. Firefighters battled the blaze in a heavy rainstorm. Fire was started by faulty thermostat on deep-fat fryer. The restaurant was built in 1948 and operated for 10 years as Johnny's Supper Club. E7, E3, T7, E4, foam, R1, T1, T5 fill in at 1, E7 wet down next day. Loss $136,416. [MF] (July 28, 1965)no29july65, rfd

Woodworking shop at Camp Polk burned. Raleigh responded to assist Fairgrounds Fire Department. [MF?] (September 23, 1965)rt23sep65

Concession stands at State Fairgrounds burned. Fire reported 4:09 a.m. by telephone. Raleigh Engine 5 responded as mutual aid with Fairgrounds Fire Department. See Fairgrounds Fire Department timeline. (September 29, 1965)

Fire Prevention Week contest held between Raleigh and Durham. City with smallest amount of fire damage between October 3 and October 9 would receive trophy. For past two years, Raleigh has competed and won against Winston-Salem with losses of only $57 during Fire Prevention Week in 1963 and $236 in 1964. Also during this year's Fire Prevention Week: 45 garden clubs competed for four cash prizes, for best displays on eliminating home fire hazards; a display of old and new firefighting equipment on Fayetteville Street in front of the courthouse; a program pushed to identify homes containing invalids, providing stickers to mark those homes and adding their names to 315 already listed by fire department. Mayor Travis Tomlinson has also designated October 28 as Home Fire Drill Day. Radio and television stations would assist fire department and at 6:55 p.m. on that day, sirens would signal the home fire drill. (October 3, 1965)rt24sep65

Capital Mercantile Company at 313 W. Martin Street burned. Fire reported 7:02 p.m. by firefighter Harold Jones, who saw smoke while standing behind Station 1. Two-story brick building. Blaze charred interior of the first floor which houses the wholesale dry goods company. E1, E3, R1, E2, E4, T1, E6 at 1, T7 at 1. Loss $83,212.67. [MF] (October 11, 1965)no13oct65, rfd

Annual training for Wake County volunteer firefighters held at Station 1. Classes were held for four days from 7 to 10 p.m. Future Raleigh Fire Chief Sherman Pickard from the state department of insurance supervised same. Courses offered: Fire Rescue, Volunteer Fire Department Administration, Fire Prevention Practices, Pump Operations, Structural Firefighting Tactics, Gas Control Fire and Breathing Apparatus. Some 200 volunteer firefighters were expected to attend. (October 18, 1965)rt18oct65

Apparatus note: City Council approved "repairing and rebuilding" of Engine 2, Engine 3, and Engine 4. (October-November, 1965)

Tenth anniversary of Sunday School classes celebrated. (November 7, 1965)las

Walker-Sizer Dental Company warehouse at 220 W. Davie Street burned. Fire reported 1:16 p.m. by telephone. Started by workman's torch. E2, E1, T1, R7, T7. Loss $88,000. [MF?] (December 8, 1965)no09dec65

Garage of firefighter Oscar Summers at 710 E. Franklin Street burned. Summers responded on the truck company that answered the call. The garage was destroyed. [UF] (December 28, 1965)no29dec65

Apparatus delivered: Second foam machine, donated by Willie York. Cost $2,100. Machine has 30 inch fan that blew mixture of water and detergent at rate of 35,000 square-feet a minute. Foam Unit 5 placed in service. Photos and more information. (December 1965)rt31dec65


A&P Food Store at 800 N. Person Street burned. Fire reported 8:15 p.m. from Box 13. Smoke from one-story brick structure is visible from "as much as 15 blocks away" and flames leap "100 feet into the air" at times. Fire controlled by midnight. E3, E7, T7, E4, T1, R1, E1, E5 at 1, T5 at 1, T7 for clean-up. Loss $205,000. [MF] (February 22, 1966)rt23feb66, rfd

Vehicle delivered: New Chief's car and new maintenance truck. (March 1966)cn

Building at 220 E. Martin Street burned. Two+ alarms. Fire reported 10:13 p.m. by telephone. Joy's Grill and Taylor Radio Shop. E3, E2, T7, E1, T1, R1, E4 at 1, Foam 1, E5 at 1. Loss $31,250. [MF] (April 2, 1966)rfd

White Oil Company at 1115 W. Lenior St. burned. Two+ alarms. Fire reported 9:25 a.m. by telephone. One-story brick structure. E1, E2, T6, E4, T1, R1, E5 at 1, T5 at 1, E4 at 1. Loss $18,000. [MF] (April 16, 1966)rfd

Eight railroad freight cars derail and burn just south of Wake Forest. Raleigh's foam unit responded outside of the city for the first time. [MA] [RA] (April 23, 1966)no24apr66

R. E. Quinn furniture store at 108 E. Martin Street burned. Fire reported 9:45 p.m. from Box 23. "Spectacular fire" Friday night threatens "entire block in downtown Raleigh." Damage to the three-story brick and frame building and contents is estimated at $500,000. "Two adjoining furniture firms, Rhodes, Inc., at 301 S. Wilmington St. and the Carter's Inc. branch store at 112 E. Martin St.," suffer several thousand dollars in "water and smoke damage." Flames shot more than a hundred feet into the air and sparks showered the entire block. The first piece of apparatus arrived at 9:48 p.m. Fire Chief Jack Keeter noted "the entire front of the ground floor at Quinn's blew out as firemen were hooking up their first lines of hose. 'Pressure from the heat built up in the building and blew all the windows out of the front'." Firefighters battled the blaze with "nine companies, which included six pumper engines and three ladder trucks." At 10:45 p.m., "the power lines along Martin Street shorted out, blacking out all street lights for two city blocks." The furniture store had caught fire only once before in the 44 years "the firm had been there. The other fire occurred about 40 years ago" but, advises the manager, "was 'nothing compared to this one.'" E1, E3, T1, T7, R1, E2, E4, E5 at 1, T5, T6 at 1, E5, E6 at 1, E6, E7 at 1, T7 clean-up, E3 for rekindle. Loss $180,500. [MF] (May 27, 1966)no28may66, rfd

City firefighters have no limits on calls, reported a News & Observer article. Fire Chief Jack Keeter said "'Where a community has its own fire department,' we don't send help until we're 'asked to do so. Then it's a go.'" In the past, the Raleigh Fire Department had sent "fire trucks and men to help fight fires in Smithfield, Garner, Clayton, Apex, Sanford," and Cary. Keeter says he's never sent firefighters to Durham "'but we would if [they] called'." The Raleigh Fire Department didn't bill property owners "outside the corporate limits." and, unlike many other fire departments, "firemen turn chairwomen after the blaze is out and help clean up the premises, unless the building is destroyed." Firemen are "on the payroll anyway, so it doesn't cost taxpayers anything for the cleaning and swapping they do after the fire has been put out." Firefighters in many other cities "feel it's beneath their dignity to shoulder a mop and a pail." (May 1966)no

Budget for 1966-67 included approval for one additional secretary, increasing the number to two. (July 1, 1966)bd

Apparatus delivered: 1966 Chevrolet panel truck, placed in service as Rescue 1. Photos and more information. (August 18, 1965)rfd

Fire department softball team won championship of AA Industrial League. (August 25, 1960)


Public hearing held to enlarge Raleigh's "primary and secondary fire districts." City Planning Director A. C. noted the present fire district had "not been revised since the 1930's" and "most fire underwriters recommend that it be changed every few years." The present primary fire district covered an area "centering around Fayetteville Street and [did] not even include the Municipal Building" and was bounded roughly by "Hillsborough Street and New Bern Avenue on the north," "Cabarrus Street on the south," "Blount Street on the east," and " McDowell Street on the west." The district also included "several blocks bounded by Salisbury Street on the west, Wilmington Street on the east, South Street on the south, and Cabarrus Street on the north." The proposed expansion would add an area "roughly bounded by Lane Street on the north, Harrington Street on the west, the Southern Railroad tracks on the south, and Person Street on the east. The Person Street side would be manipulated so as to include the Federal Building slated for construction within the next few years." This area would also be surrounded "almost completely by a secondary fire district" except for "the part of the proposed primary fire district which would border on the Southside redevelopment area." The size of the primary district would be more than doubled. Bulk storage of flammable or explosive materials above ground level was not allowed in buildings within the primary fire district, and the buildings must have a one-hour fire rating. Restrictions would also apply to buildings in the secondary district, though not as strict. Bulk storage of flammables and explosives would be allowed, for example. (September 5, 1967)no05sep67, no18jul67

No major fires reported.


Raleigh Firemen's Club, Inc. organized. Began as discussions among department members in 1967. They wanted to develop a facility outside of the fire stations that could be used both professionally and socially, to develop and cultivate a greater spirit of companionship between members of the department. Discussions were held on how to develop long-range plans. After consulting a lawyer, the group organized as a club and incorporated on February 2, 1968. The first officers were John Hester as President, Augustus Woodlief as Vice President, Ned Perry as Secretary, Lealon Frazier as Treasurer, and Ellis Beasley as Sergeant-at-Arms. The charter members were Hester, Woodlief, Perry, Frazier, Beasley, Lewis Bartholomew, Ollie Blake, James Ellis, and Reggie Poole, and all of whom served as the original Board of Directors. That year, 113 of 180 firefighters joined. Also in 1968, the club purchased 11.74 acres of land on what was named Six Forks Road about eight miles north of Station 9, near the site of the proposed Falls Lake reservoir. They began clearing the land, and soon constructed picnic tables and a large wooden shelter. In 1972, the Army identified 3.63 acres of the club’s property for the Falls Lake project. The land was sold in 1975, and the money was used to help develop the clubhouse.  By this time, a large area of the property had been cleared, a well dug, and a parking area established. A site for the building had also been selected. The $40,000 clubhouse was completed in early 1978. The one-story metal building included a meeting room and dance floor, a kitchen, and restrooms. The names of some of the firefighters who helped finish the building were etched in the sidewalk and are still visible as of 2012: Hubert Altman, Wilbur Beasley, Wade Boyette, Ronald Bunch, Lewis Choplin, Dudley Gill, John Hester, Harold Jones, Ben Johnson, Charles Kelley, C. A. Lloyd, C. T. May, Ronald Ricks, Bill Sykes, and Drewey Williams. The clubhouse is presently addressed as 12601 Bayleaf Church Road. (February 2, 1968)yb84, sos, chb

Riots erupted after announcement of assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Riots erupted about 9:15 p.m., a few hours after the announcement, beginning with a group of "50 to 75" students from Shaw University that "marched north on Fayetteville Street smashing store windows and overturning automobiles" until being turned back by police. Subsequent incidents included several fires "set by fire bombs during the pre-down hours Friday morning." Automobiles were also set afire in Weavers Brothers used car lot across South Street from Shaw University. Two fire bombs were thrown at Jeffrey's Grocery at 500 E. Martin St., "one at 9:25 p.m. and another at 9:45 p.m." Both ere extinguished without serious damage. M.H.'s Grocerteria at 620 W. South St. sustained minor damage to the roof after a fire bomb was thrown onto the building at 8:50 p.m. "The bomb burned itself out before firemen arrived." At 9:45 p.m., "someone threw a fire bomb through the window of the Playboy Club in the 400 block of S. East Street." Someone inside threw the bomb back out before "any more than slight damage occurred." Mayor Travis Tomlinson ordered curfew for entire city "from 1 to 6 a.m." on Friday and declareed city in a "state of emergency." Between "500 and 700 National Guardsmen were called into Raleigh." [UI] (April 4, 1968)no

Raleigh Rescue Mission warehouse at 217 Lee Street burned during first night of unrest. Fire reported at 11:48 p.m. The one-story frame structure was used for storage and contains furniture, clothing, appliances, and other supplies for distribution to needy people in the city. The building collapsed around midnight. "Firemen [say] it appears to have been set deliberately" and "was burning in three separated areas." One firefighter, Bobby Mitchell, a volunteer firefighter, was burned on his left arm and hand. A dwelling also caught fire. Loss $55,500. E2, E3, T7, E1 stand by, E4 stand by as fill in. [UF] (April 4, 1968)rfd

Dixie Motor Parts at 902 S. Wilmington Street burned during first night of unrest. Fire reported at 1:58 a.m. by telephone. Police reinforced firefighters who were bombarded with rocks and other objects at the scene. "Fire officials say the blaze began when a fire bomb was set off in the building, which is located behind Memorial Auditorium." One fireman was injured. H. K. Hodges was "struck on the head by a rock." Engine 1 and Engine 4 responded. The building sustained $1,000 loss. Other reports of fire bombs "or Molotov cocktails" included Thomas' Grocery, a "white-owned store at Swain and Hargett Streets," damaged by a fire bomb "ignited about 2:42 a.m. Friday." Police officers also removed a fire bomb from an A&P Grocery store off Garner road late Thursday night. Answering a burglar alarm, the officers found "a hold had been knocked in a window and a firebomb had been placed in a trash can filled with paper and other debris. They extinguished the fire before it caused any damage to the store." [UF] (April 4, 1968)no, rfd

Vacant house at 515 S. West Street burned during second night of unrest. [UF] (April 5, 1968)

Green Brothers Seed Company warehouse at 1431 S. Blount Street burned during fourth day of curfew. Fire reported at 4:38 p.m. The one-story frame building measured "220 by 110 feet". The fire also burned "tractor-trailer trucks at the R-C Motor lines yard next door" and also threatened "two large and highly explosive chemical tanks at the Ralston Purina Co. plant on the west side of Blount Street." Also damaged was the Textile Research Services building at 1501 S. Blount Street, which also caught fire. Police and National Guardsmen blocked off "Wilmington Street at South Street to keep people away from the blaze." Loss $450,000. E2, E3, T7, E1, E4 at 1, E5, E4 to relieve T7, E6 to relief, E7 to E4 and T6, E2 to water down debris next day, E2 for flare up one day later. [MF] [UF] (April 7, 1968)no, rfd

Forty fires occurred by midday Monday. Chief Keeter says "as of midday Monday, 40 fires [have] occurred since the disorder broke out here. Most [are] blamed on firebombs or other deliberate acts." [UF] (April 8, 1968)

Shamrock Apartments in the 700 block of St. Mary's Street burned. Fire reported at 6:30 p.m. One of two units under construction was destroyed. The apartments were bounded by the Broughton High School gym, the Raleigh Apartments, and Wedgewood Apartments. Loss $100,000. [MF] (April 9, 1968)no10apr68, rfd

Fire started at Central Prison by rioters. The incident started on April 16, 1968, as a peaceful protest by 500 inmates in the prison yard. It later turned into a violent riot that saw six inmates killed and 77 inmates injured. Law officers were also injured. The rioters started fires and burned a building. The fire department was dispatched at 12:10 a.m. on August 17, alerted by telephone. Engine 1 and Truck 1 responded. Fire Chief Jack Keeter directed firemen to use three lines of 2 1/2-inch hose, with the "big ladder" placed against the top of the prison wing, and the hose stretched to the roof overlooking the prison yard. The hose was used to wet down the prison chapel, in the event that it was set on the fire. The clothing building, however, had been burning for more than an hour and was beyond saving. The fire caused $123,000 loss. [UF] (April 16-17, 1968)rfd, no18apr68

Sportland Bowling Center burned. Fire reported at 7:33 a.m. by telephone. Only the outside walls were left standing of the one-story frame-and-brick structure built in 1959. Firefighters stretched a hose across North Boulevard, resulting in four hours of traffic delays. Smoke was visible 18 miles away in Rolesville. $400,000 loss. E7, E3, T7, E4, R1, E1 to relieve E3, T6 to relieve T7, R3 to pull down wall, E2 to relieve E1, E7 wet down debris next day. Fire started when grease on the grill caught fire. Crews fought the fire for more than two hours before controlling, including one the roof before they were withdrawn minutes before the roof collapsed. [MF] (May 20, 1968)rfd, no21may68

Apparatus note: Tanker 8 moved to Station 4. (Around August, 18, 1968)rfd

Brush fire near Central Prison threatened homes. Fire along tracks of Seaboard Coast Line Railway west of Central Prison threatened "a number of homes on Ashe Avenue" and burned "over several acres" before being brought under control. Assistant Chief John W. Godwin said the fire, "one of three fires along the railway tracks during the day, started off Harrison Avenue and burned to Ashe Avenue." The other two fires occurred "along the railway tracks in the vicinity of the Beltline bridge and the Method area." Firefighters received the alarm at 2:35 a.m. and fought the fires for 2 1/2 hours before "bringing them under control." [UF] (October 3, 1968)no04oct68

Raleigh Stockyards on US.64 just west of Knightdale burned. Raleigh Fire Department responded as mutual aid. See Knightdale history. [MF?] (November 28, 1968)glf

Spire atop First Baptist Church on corner of Wilmington and Morgan streets removed by firefighters after shaking loose during strong winds. Firefighter Ronnie Atkinson was strapped to aerial ladder and raised to the 100-foot steeple. [UI] (Wednesday before December 5, 1968)no

Esty Hall at Shaw University burned. Fire reported at 3:27 p.m. by telephone. The blaze at the 97-year old dormitory destroyed "one room and damag[es] a hall, an attic, and one other room." First hydrant connection was dry, due to apparent disconnection by campus workers without notifying fire department. Fire was controlled within 15 minutes. Loss $115,000. E1, E2, T1, T7, R1, E4, E5, E3, E7 at Sta 1, T5. [MF] (December 14, 1968)no14dec68


Firefighter residency requirements changed from prior requirement of living within city limits to anywhere in Wake County, provided they reside on a paved road and that their telephones are connected to the Raleigh exchange. (February 1969)yb84, no04feb69

McCrory & Company at 226 Fayetteville Street burned. Two+ alarms. Fire reported at 4:38 a.m. from Box 21. Three-story brick building. Loss $225,521. T1, T7, E1, E3, R1, E2, E4, E6, T6 both at 1, T5, T6, E5 at 1, E8 at 5, E4 at 1. Fire started in the boiler room in the basement. Crews battled the blaze for three hours during the early morning subfreezing temperatures. Smoke damaged was reported in two adjoining buildings. [MF] (February 10, 1969)rfd, no11feb69

Broughton High School at 723 Saint Mary's Street burned. Two alarms. Fire reported at 2:05 p.m. by telephone. Principal John N. Norton [estimated] that all of the students were evacuated from the building in less than two minutes after the alarm was sounded. Asst. Fire Chief John W. Godwin [said] the rapid spread of the fire [was] very unusual" and is possibly "the work of an arsonist." Fire started in room used by students who drive school buses, located in an "east wing of the building which was once the school auditorium, but had been converted to classrooms, the buss driver's room and a lounge." All eleven rooms on the first floor in that wing were either "gutted or charred." Smoke damages extended "all over the first floors and into some of the rooms on the second and third floors." Basement rooms "under the old auditorium" suffered heavy water damage. Fire was discovered by teacher. Fire department arrived on scene at 2:08 p.m. "'I could see smoke boiling up from Hillsborough Street,' Chief Godwin said at the scene, 'and when I arrived, fire was coming out of two of the windows on the north side.'" Firefighters had extinguished the fire in the first floor rooms when flames were discovered "in the roof of the wing beneath the tile roof covering." Chief Godwin said "six companies and the rescue squad answered the alarm." Loss $230,724.04. E5, E1, T5, T6, R1, T7, E4. [MF] (February 20, 1969)no21feb69

Jimmy's Upholstering Company at 5 Glenwood Avenue burned. Fire reported at 1:35 p.m. Blaze started in the rear workshop area of the large brick commercial building. Extensive damage was done to "the right side of the structure." In addition, "heavy smoke and water damage" were sustained in the left side of the duplex-like building. "Firefighting efforts [continued] through most of the afternoon." The firm had closed for the day when the fire started. Loss $37,254.75. E1, E5, T5, T6, R1, T1, E1 next day for embers. [MF?] (March 15, 1969)no16mar69, rfd

Apparatus note: Second engine company at Station 1 returned to service as Engine 10. (March 21, 1969)rfd

Statesville Flour Mills Company warehouse on S. Blount Street burned during forty- minute period of firebombing. Also gutted was a nearby office building. Three other businesses were also set afire by Molotov cocktails. First fire was reported at 9:53 p.m. after someone threw "a soft drink bottle filled with inflammable liquid" through the window of Hudson-Belk Furniture Company on S. Wilmington Street. At 10:12 p.m., a firebomb was thrown the window of Honeycutt's Grocery Store at the corner of East and Cabarrus streets. At 10:18 p.m., the alarm for the flour mill was turned in from Box 223. At 10:30 p.m., another fire bomb was thrown into Weaver Brothers Rambler at 223 W. Lenoir Street. At 10:31 p.m., another fire was reported in the office building of the Robertson Chemical Company near the flour mill. Fires occurred on a day in which "a request from Negro civil rights marchers that they be allowed to set up a tent city in a city park" met with opposition from members of the City Council. Also during the day, police released a statement saying "an investigation of Negro charges of police brutality in the arrest of a Negro woman last week produced no reasons for any suspension of the arresting officer involved." Loss at the Flour Mills is $108,500, with Engine 2, Engine 10, and Truck 7. [UF] (May 5, 1969)no06may69, rfd

Wake County ABC Board offices at 418 1/2 McDowell Street burned during night of "sporadic assaults on property" that erupted "after a Clayton white man" fired a pistol "from an automobile on Fayetteville Street as some 150 black demonstrators" were marching past. Alarm was turned in at 1:53 a.m. after a firebomb was apparently thrown into a second-story window. The contents of a bookkeeping room were damaged, with several items destroyed including "light fixtures, an adding machine," and "a calculator machine." [UF] (Friday before May 10, 1969)no10may69

Fire Chief Jack Keeter asked City Council to include funds in 1969-1970 budget for "46 more firemen, two more fire instructors and two additional fire trucks." The added manpower, said Keeter, could cut the department's "'present 73-hour work week to 60'. 'Most all fire departments in North Carolina are working considerably less hours a week than we are.'" The Chief noted Durham's fire department was "planning to implement a 56-hour week" and that Charlotte's firefighters worked "52 hours a week." The fire department presently had "182 firemen, one under the number prescribed by the city." Chief Keeter requested "$50,000 be included in the new budget to buy one pumper and one ladder fire truck to 'service Brentwood,'" the subdivision in North Raleigh that was annexed on June 1. "The fire department's total request for the upcoming fiscal year is $1.7 million. The department's present budget is $1.2 million." The Chief also told the Council that "'500 out of 554' street box alarms received by the department during the current fiscal year 'were false alarms' and that 'most cities are going to a telephone alarm system.'" (June 25, 1969)no26jun69

International Association of Fire Firefighters local chapter 548 re-chartered, named Raleigh Firefighter's Association Local No. 548. The Local ceased operations in 1959, when the North Carolina General Assembly outlawed the rights of firefighters and police officers to belong to unions. In 1968, the state statute was ruled unconstitutional in federal court. Collective bargaining, however, remained prohibited between municipalities and labor organizations. At the time of the June 10 application, the Temporary President was Ned Perry, the Temporary Vice-President was B. T. Fowler, and the Temporary Secretary and Treasurer was Maylon Frazier. The application included the names of 173 charter members. The charter fee was $25.00. The initiation fee was $1.00 per member. The per capita tax was 85 cents (active), and 42.5 cents (retired). Among their activities during the seventies and early eighties included participating in a city employee coalition that asked citizens to support a pay increase, working for two years to win creation of the First Class Fire Fighter position, and supporting a bill that altered the role and composition of Raleigh’s Civil Service Commission. (by October 1, 1969)rpffa records, chb

Station 2 moved to 263 Pecan Road. The single-story station included a maintenance shop in the rear. Both were previously housed in the basement of Memorial Auditorium. Photos and more information. (October 16, 1969)yb84

City council approved recommendation by Public Works Committee that the "same architectural design used for the Wake Forest Road, Western Boulevard, and Six Forks Road stations be used for any new fire stations to be constructed." ccm 


[AA]   Aircraft accident
[AI]   Apparatus incident
[EF]   Early fire
[HM]   Haz-mat incident
[MA]   Mutual Aid
[MF]   Major fire
[RA   Railway accident
[TF]   Tanker fire
[TR]   Technical rescue
[UD]   USAR deployment
[UF]   Unusual fire
[UI]   Unusual incident
[WE]   Weather event


ar   City of Raleigh Annual Report
bd   City of Raleigh budget documents
cvh   Cameron Village: A History 1949-1999, Nan Hutchins, Sprit Press, 2001
cad City of Raleigh Auditor's Office
ccm / cm   City Council Minutes / City Minutes
ccor   1792-1892, The Centennial Celebration of Raleigh, NC, Kemp D. Battle, Edwards and Broughton, 1893
cer   Chief Engineer's Report
dah   North Carolina Department of Archives and History
dahni   North Carolina Department of Archives and History News and Observer index
fp   City of Raleigh Fire Protection Study
hr   Historical Raleigh with Sketches of Wake County and its Important Towns, Moss N. Amis, 1912
oh   Oral History
mjlr   Mike Legeros records.
mp   Morning Post
nc   North Carolinian
no   News and Observer
noi   News and Observer Index
pb   Peter Brock
pph   Pullen Park History
rla   Raleigh Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary scrapbooks
rpu   Raleigh Fire Department Photo Unit records
rr   Raleigh Register
rt   Raleigh Times
ruh   Raleigh: An Unorthodox History
yb84   Raleigh Fire Department 1984, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 1984
yb02+   Raleigh Fire and Rescue: 1984-2002, Raleigh Fire Department, Taylor Publishing, 2002, plus additional historical information also compiled by the Raleigh Fire Department around 2002.
wch   Wake: Capital County of North Carolina - Volume 1, Prehistory Through Centennial, Elizabeth Reid Murray, Capital County Publishing, 1983


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