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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Did you know that...

Over the years some things have changed. Here are some of those things in no particular order.

In Roanoke the Firefighters used to...

Wear black helmets. Now Firefighters and Lieutenants wear yellow, 1st Lieutenants and Captains wear a dark red, and Battalion Chiefs and Chiefs wear white.

Use trumpets to give commands on the fire scene

Have all red fire trucks, now they are white over red
The trucks were lime green for several years as well
And don't forget the grey ghosts

Fire Station 5 used to be lime green (So I hear, although I do not have a picture)

Ride tailboard, holding onto each other as they dressed, now considered unsafe.

The gold leaf on the fire trucks is reminent from an era where looks were almost important as performance. Gold leaf has been replaced by gold paint or gold striping. Some has vanished for ever.

The District Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs now, used to have their own drivers.

The 1st Lt. rank used to be a Captain's position. In an effort to save money, the ladder captains became 1st Lt. which equated to a lesser pay grade.

The Roanoke Fire Department (now Roanoke Fire-EMS) has been fully paid since 1907, except for a short while after the Garden City area was annexed around 1970 (don't quote me on the year).

While the engines have always been numbered by the station they were housed, the ladder trucks were originally labeled as 1-4 and with the exception of Ladder 1 were not numbered by the station where they were housed.

Prior to 1936 there was only one shift, up until 1972 there were only 2 shifts. In 1972, the third shift was added creating shifts A, B, and C which are still used today.

Roanoke Fire-EMS consists of stations 1-14 with the exception of 12 which was closed when the new station 4 was built across the street from the old one. Rumor has it that the new fire station proposed on Williamson Rd. to replace the Airport station will be numbered 12 due to the fact that the Airport station 10 will remain open with the ARFF company in it.

Engine 3 is the oldest unit in the department, originally being a chemical and hose company. Engine 1 would have beat it, but that unit was taken out of service when they opened station 14 and the positions were used to staff engine 14. Ladder 1 is the oldest ladder company.

The Battalion Chief's bedroom at station 1, the halfway house at station 1, the raised concrete area in the bay at station 1, and the kitchen at station 3 have all served as communications for the Roanoke Fire Department. Currently communications are handled by dispatch at the Municipal building downtown.

The original station 4, 5, and 6 were the same and opened the same day. Station 5 is all that remains open, 6 is a police substation, and 4 was torn down.

The fire stations used to have stores in them where the firefighters would sell candy and other stuff.

Firefighters used to have numbered badges much like the police department.

Just thought I would share a few tidbits. Feel free to leave other factoids in the comments.


Anonymous said...

"The Roanoke Fire Department (now Roanoke Fire-EMS) has been fully paid since 1907, except for a short while after the Garden City area was annexed around 1970"

Rhett Fleitz, 2006

Anonymous said...

Did you know that fire trucks used to have full staffing. Oh my can anyone say that now, do any of the new guys know that, and how much responsibility they have to complete task on the fire scene, without help? Thats all I have to say about that!!

Anonymous said...

All Ladder trucks used to have 5 men assigned to them. Ladder 2(now 7), Ladder 3(now 2), and Ladder 4 (was 9, now 13) all lost a man so they could create the three north side Battalion Chiefs.
Times sure change, now they think we can do the same job using just 3 man Ladder trucks.
Oh Yea, thats because only 13% of our calls are fire calls. I guess that cuts the odds of one of us dying!

Anonymous said...

Where was old #4 station located Rhett?

FireFleitz said...

323 Highland Avenue Southwest

Anonymous said...

Used to buy candy as a kid from the candy #8 - fond memories. Still remember walking to the station with my quarter as a weekly treat. Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

#4 has been in 3 locations. The Highland Ave station was the location of the one that was the same as 5 and the previous 6. The second #4 was literally across the street from the current #4. It was in the metal half round shell building. AND the ladders still had 5 men on them when the 2nd Bat Chief came on , they didn't loose the 5th man on Ladder 2 until around 1998. I don't know when #7 and #9 lost theirs.

Anonymous said...

Ladder 2 lost it's fifth man after they got rid of the tiller truck there. Ladders 7 and 9 lost the fifth man in 1986, When we went to two Battalions.