1920, Old Wingate Place destroyed by fire. The former property of Wake Forest College President Dr. W. M. Wingate, situated on the southeast side of town, is one of the oldest and largest in town.  The 1:00 p.m. fire originates from a defective flue.  Several hundred students immediately rush to the scene and save practically all of the furniture.  Attempts to extinguish the fire fail, due to a high wind at the time. (January 22, 1920) 

1920, contracts award for construction of water and sewer systems.  Water system includes fire hydrants. (March 25, 1920) 
1921, The Wake Forest Fire Department is formed on August 4, 1921. It's mission is to "protect the town, protect the college, and protect the Royall Cotton Mill." Thomas M. Arrington Sr. is appointed as the department's first Fire Chief.

- Town Board also
  • votes to excuse members of fire company from paying street tax
  • authorizes Fire Chief to build "two houses, a suitable places, for reels and fire hose"
  • appoints committee to consider a "suitable fire alarm" and report at next meeting to Board. (August 4, 1921) 
 - J. L. Taylor serves as Fire Chief's assistant. Nineteen volunteer firefighters protect Town, Wake Forest College, and Royal Cotton Mills.
   Population less than 1,500. Fire alarm sounded by ringing bell atop present on Roosevelt Avenue, at present site of Western Auto Store

- First fire apparatus is a hand-pulled, two-wheel hose reel with 500' of 2 1/2" hose.  Same is stored at the Town water tank. A motorized fire apparatus is soon purchased.

- First location of Wake Forest Fire Department is the front of Harris’ garage which was rented by the Town for the fire department and fire truck at $12.50 a month.

- Town Board authorizes Fire Chief T. M. Arrington to purchase a chassis and body for fire truck, not to exceed $1,000. (September 9, 1921)  

- Town Board approves purchase of American LaFrance fire equipment at price of $1,650.  Mayor authorized to execute contract. (September 19, 1921)  

1921, improvement ordered to telephone system, to include night availability and requiring that the operator given "instant notice" to each member of the fire company, for alarms reported to the "telephone office." Town Board also:

  • appoints W.W. Dickson  and T.E. Babbitt trustees of the Fireman's Relief Fund
  • votes that $5 member fees to the State Fireman's Association be paid by the town
  • Fire Chief T.W. Arrington also appointed Building Inspector
  • appoints committee to investigate "suitable place for fire department". (November 4, 1921) 

1921, Town Board passes "ordinances governing the regulation of the fire department and the prevention and control of fires in the town of Wake Forest, North Carolina"

1921, Town Board votes to rent front of Harris' garage for "fire department and fire truck" at $12.50 per month.  Board members also vote that a fire alarm system be purchased at a cost not to exceed $385 and that two [fire] stations be arranged for. (December 1, 1921) 

1922, report to Town Board from Chief of Fire Department:

  • Number of members: 19
  • Elected during year: 1
  • Total membership: 2
  • Number of companies in dept.: 2
  • Number of members belonging to NC State Fireman's Association: 2
  • Number of fire alarms answered during year: 5
  • Number of false alarms answered during year: 1
  • Total number of alarms answered during year: 6
  • Value of property at risk: $21,750.00
  • Damage to property by fire: $21450.00
  • Insurance on property lost: $7,000.00
  • Value of property saved: $15,500.00. (January 4, 1923) 

1922, Town Board instructs Fire Chief to investigate different fire alarm systems and their costs and to report back before the end of the extension of the 30 days allowed for trial of the present systems. (February 2, 1922) 

1923, Town Board instructs Fire Chief to order and have installed fire alarm system and have installed four fire alarm boxes.  Fire Chief is also instructed to contact contractor of new school building, so schoolhouse is wired for fire alarms on each floor. In total, there are 11 boxes installed. (January 4, 1923) 

1925, Town Board votes that fire department members be given their street and poll taxes.  Board members also authorize purchase of nozzle for fire hose. (February 5, 1925) 

mid-1920's, fire department becomes motorized.  First fire truck is old Westcott automobile purchased from John Brewer and converted by firefighters into a combination chemical and hose wagon. The top is cut off of the car, a bed is constructed for hose, a basket is installed to hold chemical tanks, and provisions are made for carrying ladders.

1926, Town Board votes that fire alarm box be placed at corner of 6th Street and Rolesville Road. (July 6, 1926) 

1926, Sanborn Fire Insurance map dated April 1926 summarizes fire department as "

  • Volunteer, consisting of 20 men.
  • One chief and one assistant.
  • One fire station equipped with one Wescott truck, with American LaFrance combination hose and chemical equipment.
  • 1000' 2 1/2" hose, one 60 gallon chemical tank and 200' chemical hose, two hand reels with 500' 2 1/2" hose each.
  • Two 24' extension ladders, one roof ladder.
  • 500' 2 1/2" reserve hose.
  • Gamewell fire alarm system. 11 boxes, ringing 11 alarms in homes of firemen."
Map shows fire station at 59 S. White Street, just south of Owen

1927, Three buildings burn in Wake Forest. Three buildings, housing two cafes and the town's only movie theater, are destroyed by a late morning fire. Discovered about 11:00 a.m., the flames also consume a pair of barbershops housed in the second stories of two of the buildings. The Raleigh Fire Department is "summoned immediately," arriving at the college town in a mere 17 minutes. They aid Wake Forest firefighters in "checking the flames" and preventing their spread to other structures. Total damage is estimated at between $40,000 and $50,000.. (Nearly all of the fixtures of H.E. Joyner's luncheonette are rescued; the other two buildings are "but superficially furnished.") Wake Forest is located 18.94 miles from Raleigh. The fire department's 17-minute run averages 66.93 mph. (April 22, 1927).
1927, Town Board votes to thank Raleigh and Franklinton fire departments for recent help.  Sum of $25 to be sent to Raleigh and $10 to Franklinton as tokens of appreciation.  Fire Chief is authorized to write letter of thanks. (May 5, 1927)

1927, Town Board orders $60.09 to be collected from Mr. Wisehers  for damage to fire alarm box from automobile.  Board members also:

  • order fire alarm box transferred to corner of Main and Owen streets on motion of R. W. Wickinson
  • allows each fire department member street and poll tax
  • allows each fire department member $1 for each fire alarm attended and 50 cents for each drill, not exceeding four times per year. (August 4, 1927) tm
1928, One man was killed and the rear of a local drug store was demolished Sunday in a spectacular wreck of the southbound Florida Limited, fast New York to Florida train of the Seaboard Air Line. The 12 car steel train was running through this little village town at about 25 miles an hour in a thick fog shortly before 8 o’clock, when at a grade crossing near the railway station it struck a light coupe driven by Charlie Lynam, of Wake Forest, killing him instantly. The engine jumped the rails and plowed into the rear of the three-story brick building occupied by the drug store, 100 yards away. (December 16, 1928)
1929, members of "committee on building a garage to store fire trucks" reports favorably to Town Board. (June 6, 1929) tm

1929, T.M. Arrington again appointed Fire Chief. (June 6, 1929)

1929, fire station building committee reports that a facility can be constructed for $1,500.  Town Board says they'll proceed when sufficient funds are in hand. (July 5, 1929)

1929, Fire Chief makes statement to Town Board regarding necessity of purchasing additional fire house. (November 7, 1929)

Fire Station #1
420 Elm Ave.
Wake Forest, NC 27587