Early Fire Equipment and Fire Companies

Winston-Salem Steamer, horse-drawn

Winston Steamer in front of Jones Bakery

Since its early beginings in 1785 the Winston & Salem Fire Department has strived to provide citizens with the most up-to-date equipment. As a result of a fire that ocured at the Salem Bakery, the town bought the state's first hand fire pump in 1785. Since that early fire equipment, the department has placed a number of various different pieces of equipment to meet the department's needs.

Prior to the two cites merging in 1913, both towns possessed quite a bit of equipment.

Firefighting in  Winston and Salem

The first Salem fire company was organized in 1785. Upon delivery of two hand-powered pumps from Germany, one wheeled and one hand-carried, a fire-master and three assistants were appointed along with the necessary men to operate the engines. Salem's first bucket brigade was also formed at that time.The fire Winston fire company was organized in 1882 and used the town's first fire apparatus, a horse-drawn steamer delivered at the same time. Steamer Company No. 1 was incorporated by the state legislature in 1886. Winston's second fire company, Steamer Company No. 2, was organized in 1891. Two years later a hook and ladder company was formed. Additional volunteer fire companies were organized around the turn of the century to protect the town's African-American community.

Equipment in 1917

In 1917, there were two companies with 17 paid men and four companies with 60 volunteers. There were ten horses (four on call), six stations, and one hose house.

Engine Company No. 1 was at 117 West Eighth Street with: eight paid men; one American LaFrance Type 12 triple-combination automobile truck with a 700 gallon-per-minute pump; 40-gallon chemical tank; 200-feet 3/4-inch chemical hose; 800 feet 2 1/2-inch hose; and two three-gallon chemical extinguishers.

Engine Company No. 2 at City Hall, corner North Main and East 4th Streets had: nine paid men; one American LaFrance Type-12 triple combination automobile truck with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump; 40-gallon chemical tank; 200 feet 3/4-inch chemical hose; 1,000 feet 2 1/2-inch hose; two three-gallon chemical extinguishers; and two oxygen helmets.

Winston Hook and Ladder 1

Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 at City Hall, corner North Main and East 4th Streets had: 16 volunteer men (one sleeps at station); one horse-drawn, 65-foot aerial truck; two horses.

Liberty Fire Company No. 3 at 1510 North Liberty Street had: 15 members; two paid drivers; four horses on call; one hose wagon with 750-ft 2 1/2-inch hose and two three-gallon chemical extinguishers; one third-class LaFrance steamer, 500 gallon-per-minute, also listed with Company No. 4.

Engine Company No. 4 at 301 South Liberty Street had: 15 volunteer men (two sleep at station), four horses, not at station; one hose wagon with 750-ft 2 1/2-inch hose; one third-class LaFrance steamer; 500 gallon-per-minute, also listed with Company No. 3.

West Side Hose Company No. 5 at 411 South Green Street had: 15 volunteer men; two horses; one hose wagon with 500-ft 2 1/2-inch hose; hose house on Bruce Street north of Wallace Street; one hose reel with 300-ft 2 1/2-inch hose.

Alarm System for the Two towns :

Gamewell fire alarm system, 30 boxes.


Population 40,000. 

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