It all started when…
The Maury Rural Fire Association was incorporated as a non-stock corporation on January 7, 1957, for the purpose of the preservation and protection of life and property from and during such fires or other emergencies as may occur in the Maury Rural Fire Protection District and vicinity. The incorporators of the association were: Jack McLawhorn, Thomas Hardy, James Hardy, Sr., William Sugg, J. Roy Vandiford, Joseph E. Jones, and Claudie Braxton. Herbert W. Hardy was elected as the first president of the Maury Rural Fire Association and Leonard Hardy, Sr. was elected as the first Treasurer. The Maury Rural Fire Department was organized with Charles L. Stokes, Jr. elected as the first Fire Chief. At this time there were three municipal fire departments in Greene County – Snow Hill, Hookerton, and Walstonburg and one rural fire department – Walstonburg. Maury Rural Fire Department was the second rural fire department established in the county.
The fire department purchased its first pumper in 1957 from W.S. Darley Co. of Chicago at a cost of $6500. This pumper was a 1956 Ford F-600 with a 500 G.P.M. mid-ship Darley pump and a 500 gallon water tank. Captain Julian Jones picked up the new truck at the W.S. Darley Co. factory in February 1957 and drove it back to Maury.
Later in 1957 the fire department purchased its first tanker at a cost of $300. This was a 1952 Chevrolet 5000 surplus N.C. Department of Transportation truck on which the fire department mounted a 1000 gallon tank and portable pump at a cost of $900. Also that same year a fire station was erected on highway N.C. 102 100 feet West of the intersection of N.C. 102 and S.R. 1351 on part of the Board of Education’s teacherage lot. This 20′ x 24′ station was built at a cost of approximately $1000 and featured wood construction with a double swing-out truck door in the front and a dirt floor. In 1962 a 20′ x 24′ meeting room was added to the rear of the fire station at a cost of approximately $3000.
The fire department elected Ormond E. Barber as Fire Chief in 1960. Also that year the fire department purchased its first two Scott SCBA to be carried on the pumper. In August 1961 the fire department was given a Class 9 fire insurance rating by the N.C. Department of Insurance. This rating resulted in a reduction of fire insurance premiums for property owners in the Maury Rural Fire District.
The Greene County Board of Commissioners voted in 1964 to provide financial assistance to all county fire departments. Each fire department was given $500 a year to help cover operating expenses.
In 1967 the fire department’s first two-way radio was installed at the station to communicate with the dispatcher at the Sheriff’s office in Snow Hill. This radio was on a frequency that in later years would become the Citizen’s Band Radio Service. In 1970 the Sheriff’s Department changed to a High-Band radio system and donated its old Low-Band radios to the county fire departments to form a county-wide fire dispatch system. This system allowed the dispatcher to set off the fire department’s siren by radio and communicate with fire department apparatus.
The fire department replaced its tanker in 1973 with a 1965 Chevrolet C-60 truck purchased from Raymond Crawford at a cost of $1700. The department mounted a 1250 gallon fuel delivery tank body and 50 G.P.M. pump on the truck at a cost of $1000. In 1978 the pump on this truck was replaced by a 500 G.P.M. pump.
Doc A. Skinner was elected as Fire Chief in 1973. In 1977 the Maury Rural Fire Association applied for a $25,500 Community Facility Loan from the Farmers Home Administration to purchase a replacement pumper.
In early 1978 the fire department gave the front truck bay portion of the station to fireman Robert Nethercutt on the condition that he remove it from the fire department lot. The Marvin Hughes Construction Co. of Maury then built a new truck bay area to accommodate a new and larger pumper that was on order. The new truck bay area was 30′ x 35′ and was of block construction with two electric overhead doors. This addition was attached to the existing meeting room portion of the station and was completed in April 1978.
The new pumper was delivered in May 1978 and was purchased from Lee Fire Equipment of Kinston at a cost of $25,500. The fire department had previously purchased a 1977 Ford F-800 chassis for the new pumper from Apperson Ford of LaGrange at a cost of $9500. The new pumper featured a Waterous 500 G.P.M. two-stage mid-ship pump and 750 gallon galvanized water tank built by Howe Fire Apparatus of Roanoke, VA. The department sold its 1956 pumper to East Nash Volunteer Fire Department for $3000.
In 1979 the fire department received a 1968 military 5/4 ton jeep as part of a civil defense program. Members of the department picked up the truck from Fort Bragg and later fitted the truck with a 250 G.P.M. pump and 300 gallon water tank for use as a brush truck.
Sammy K. Clemmons was elected Fire Chief and Jim Hardy as Assistant Fire Chief in 1981. In 1982 Chief Clemmons appointed Leonard Hardy as the department’s first Fire Training Officer to coordinate and document the department’s fire training. Also in 1982 the fire department requested that the Greene County Board of Commissioners deed them a lot at the corner of the old Maury school property for a future fire station site.
In February 1984 the fire department installed the first dry hydrant in the Maury Fire District at Ormondsville to provide a better source of water for fire fighting in that area. This was the first water source signed up in Greene County for fire department use.
During March of 1984 the fire department purchased two additional SCBA and 14 spare SCBA tanks to comply with NFPA and OSHA requirements for positive pressure demand type SCBA. Also in April of 1984 the fire department purchased 17 pagers to alert firefighters outside the range of the station siren. A tornado struck the county on March 28, 1984 killing 11 people and injuring several more. The fire department assisted in the search and rescue efforts within the Hookerton and Scuffleton fire districts. Later the department assisted in the clean-up operations by burning damaged structures.
In July 1984 the fire department formed Greene County’s first First Responder unit to assist rescue squads responding to medical emergencies in the Maury Fire district. Jim Westbrook was elected as Captain of the First Responder Unit. and later this service was expanded to include First Responders from the Scuffleton fire department and response to medical emergencies within that fire district.
On September 11, 1984 an election for the formation of the Maury Fire Tax District was held. This was the third successful fire tax district formed in Greene County. As a result of new legislation passed by the N.C. General Assembly the fire department in 1984 began receiving state funding for fire protection services provided to all state owned property in the Maury Fire District.
In January 1985 the Maury Rural Fire Association approved the replacement of the department’s 1965 tanker and a new tanker was ordered from Grumman Emergency Products of Roanoke, VA. The department responded to a school bus accident on U.S. Highway 13 South of Snow Hill in May of that year. This was one of the worst school bus accidents in the nation with 6 students and a truck driver losing their lives. In July the fire department received a surplus 7.5KW generator donated by Carolina Telephone Co. and installed the generator at the station to serve as a standby power source. In August 1985 the fire department applied to the Insurance Services Office for a fire insurance rating review of the fire department in an effort to lower fire insurance premiums within the Maury Fire District. The fire department’s 1985 Grumman tanker was received in September and featured a 350 G.P.M. pump and 1500 gallon water tank mounted on a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis with a Caterpillar diesel engine. The new tanker cost $71,000 and was the first diesel powered fire apparatus to be placed in service in Greene County. The department’s 1965 tanker was sold in December to Antioch Volunteer Fire Department in Oxford, N.C. for $4000.
In January 1986 the Maury Rural Fire Association gave the fire department approval to upgrade its First Responder Unit to a Rescue Squad . The fire department purchased a used 1979 ambulance from Walstonburg Rescue Squad in May at a cost of $8000. The fire department had the ambulance repainted and installed the required medical and radio equipment.. The Maury Rescue Squad began service in June 1986 staffed by firefighters with emergency medical certification. Also in June 1986 the Maury Rural Fire Association had its charter and by-laws changed to a non-profit corporation to meet tax exemption requirements and place it in a better position to apply for grant funding. In August of 1986 the fire department was awarded a Class 8 fire insurance rating and expansion to a five mile fire district by the Insurance Services Office. This rating made the Maury Fire District the first rural fire district in Greene County with a municipal fire insurance rating. Property owners in the Maury Fire District received approximately a 15% reduction in fire insurance premiums due to this rating improvement.
The Maury Rural Fire Association in January 1988 gave the fire department permission to proceed with plans to build a new fire and rescue facility in the future. Members of the department started developing plans for the new facility and cost estimates. Also in 1988 M. Bailey Barrow of Kinston donated a 2.4 acre lot on Hwy. 123 South to the department for use as a training site. The fire department purchased a new ambulance in December 1988 from Universal Rescue Vehicles of Wake Forest, N.C. at a cost of $40,725. This was a 1988 Frontline Type II ambulance mounted on a Ford chassis with diesel engine. This was the first diesel powered ambulance placed into service in Greene County.
In February 1989 the Maury Rural Fire Association changed its corporate name and by-laws to the Maury Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Inc. to reflect the addition of rescue services to the association’s purpose. This name change also enabled the association to apply for both fire and rescue grant funding. A 20KW generator was purchased in 1989 from the N.C. Federal Property Agency at a cost of $600 to provide emergency power for the station. The old 7.5KW generator was given to Greene County Emergency Management.
A N.C. Department of Insurance matching fund grant was received by the fire department in 1990 for an SCBA air fill station and deluge gun. The SCBA air fill station was purchased from Ingersoll-Rand Co. at a cost of $15,300 and installed at the fire station. The deluge gun was purchased for $1500 and placed on the pumper. Also in 1990 the county fire departments switched to low-band pagers due to interference problems with the high-band pager system.
During 1991 the pump on the department’s pumper was rebuilt at cost of $4500 by Lee Fire Equipment of Kinston.
In December of 1992 the department received a N.C. Department of Insurance Volunteer Rescue/EMS matching fund grant in the amount of $15,000 for the construction of a new fire and rescue facility.
In April of 1993 the fire association held bid openings for a new 50′ x 130′ fire and rescue facility and awarded the contract to Eastern Construction Co. of Greenville in the amount of $259,000. Construction began a few weeks after the bid was awarded and the FHA loan closing was held in December at the new facility. The facility was financed by an FHA loan of $250,000 at 5% interest for a 40 year term. In May of 1993 the department received a N.C. Department of Insurance Volunteer Fire Department matching fund grant in the amount of $3500 to upgrade its twelve SCBA to NFPA standards. The fire department moved into the new fire and rescue facility in late December and the old fire station was sold to the Maury Sanitary Land District for $20,000.
In May 1994 the department held an Open House at its new fire and rescue facility and community interest and support was outstanding. The Maury Rescue Squad obtained a grant of $6300 from the Dallas Foundation of Norfolk, VA. in May 1994 to purchase a semi-automatic defibrillator. The squad members then attended additional EMS training and certified at the EMT-D level. A Phoenix hydraulic rescue tool and power unit was purchased by the fire department from the N.C. Federal Property Agency in November 1994 at a cost of $1000. In December of 1994 the department purchased a computer system for record keeping at the station.
On February 10, 1995 the Maury Rescue Squad began operating as an Advanced Life Support Unit (EMT-D Level) with University Medical Center as its base hospital. In May of 1995 the department’s Fire Training Officers were certified by the N.C. Dept. of Insurance as Live Structual Burn Instructors. During August of 1995 the station parking lot was paved by Greenville Paving Co. at a cost of $20,000.
In late 1996 the department members built and installed cabinets in the station kitchen area. In April of 1997 the department sold its Brush Truck to J. Ivey Smith of Snow Hill for $1325. Also in April of 1997 the department began developing specifications for a new pumper as well as cost estimates. A 600 gallon fuel storage tank was purchased in 1997 from Federal Surplus Property and installed it at the station.
At the annual meeting of the Maury Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association held in January 1998 the department requested and received permission to purchase a new pumper at an estimated cost of $200,000. The Association also gave permission to finance the purchase with a 4.75% 20 year loan from the USDA Rural Development and to increase the fire tax as needed to make annual payments on the loan.
In April of 1998 the department ordered a new Rescue Pumper from Southern Coach Co. of Ocala, FL.
In April of 1999 the department took delivery of a 1999 American LaFrance/Southern Coach Rescue Pumper on a Freightliner FL80 2-door chassis with a Caterpillar 3126B turbocharged 300 H.P. diesel engine and an Allison automatic transmission. The new pumper featured rescue style storage compartments on the left side, high side style compartments on the right side, and a top mount pump panel. Also the truck had a 1000 gallon poly tank, two 30 gallon foam tanks, 1250 gpm single-stage Hale pump, Hale Foammaster foam system, front suction inlet, Wilburt 4000 watt light tower, and an AMPS 10kw generator. This was the first apparatus in Greene County to have a built-in foam system and light tower.
On September 15, 1999 North Carolina was hit by Hurricane Floyd only three weeks after being hit by Tropical Storm Dennis. The heavy rainfall from these two storms caused record breaking flooding in Eastern North Carolina. In Greene County many roads were impassable and major flooding occurred along the Contentnea and Little Contentnea Creeks. Just before Noon on September 16th the department responded to the Scuffleton and Edwards Bridge areas and began evacuating approximately 250 citizens from the flooded areas. The citizens were evacuated to Scuffleton Fire Station and then transported to the county emergency shelter at West Greene School. Evacuations continued late into the night and the next day the department resumed evacuations from Scuffleton, Edwards Bridge, and on Four Way Road evacuating approximately an additional 100 citizens. Access to the county emergency shelter was impossible due to flooding on Contentnea Creek so a Red Cross shelter was established at the Brooks-Frizzelle Church next to the Maury Fire Station. The Maury Fire Station was used as a command post and for distributing food, water, and ice to the citizens in the area. Additional flooding was caused by Hurricane Irene hitting North Carolina in late September. There were no reported deaths or injuries in Greene County as a result of the flooding but approximately 600 homes were flooded. SJAFB in Goldsboro recorded 31 inches of rainfall during the month of September.
An Insurance Services Office evaluation of the Maury Fire District was conducted on Feburary 15 & 16, 2000 in which the department’s records; equipment; and water delivery capabilities were inspected. The department was notified on August 15, 2000 that the ISO rating for the Maury Fire District would improve from Class 8 to Class 6 effective November 1, 2000. This improvement would result in a 20 – 25% reduction in fire insurance premiums on residential and commercial properties within the fire district. The Class 6 rating is also the same rating in effect within the town limits of Snow Hill and Hookerton making the fire insurance rates in the Maury Fire District among the lowest in the county.
The department in 2001 applied for and received a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $36,000 to fund 90% of the cost of replacing the department’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. An additional $15,000 in State rescue grant matching funds for the SCBA was also received in 2001. With these grant funds the department purchased 12 MSA SCBA and 36 MSA air cylinders at a cost of $42,557 in February 2002.
In 2002 the department elected Leonard Hardy as Fire Chief. Also in 2002 the department received a State fire matching fund grant of $16,500 to purchase new turnout gear. The department purchased 30 sets of turnout gear in August 2002 at a cost of $35,145.
In January of 2003 the department responded to an explosion at the West Co. plant at the Global Transpark and remained on the scene for four hours. The explosion created a large fire and 6 fatalities occurred. An investigation later identified the cause of the explosion as dust above the ceiling area that was likely iginited by an electric motor. Also in 2003 the department used a $7,110 State rescue matching fund grant awarded in 2002 to purchase a new ambulance cot, stair chair, two mobile radios, 5 pagers, and 15 hoods. Later in the year a $6000 State fire matching fund grant was used to purchase 25 pagers and some 5 inch hose and fittings. The department also received a grant from the NCOEMS that was used to purchase an automatic defibrillator for Engine 1. A 2003 State Rescue matching fund grant for $15,000 was used to purchase a used 1997 Horton Type III ambulance for $32,000 from Anna Rescue Squad in Anna, OH. Members of the department picked up the ambulance from Ohio and began installing equipment on the unit prior to having it painted in early 2004.
In March of 2004 the department responded to a large fire at the Greene Natural Fibers plant near Castoria, 1 warehouse building and 15 million pounds of Kenaf were lost. The used Horton ambulance was placed into service in March of 2004 and the old ambulance was sold by bid to Gregory Brooks of Ayden for $1503.27 on May 1, 2004. On June 21st the department received certification as a Light Rescue Provider with 9 Emergency Rescue Technicians. Our department was the first Rescue service in Greene County to receive State certification.
In 2005 construction began on a new $80 million dollar 1000 cell close custody correctional facility in our fire district to be named Maury Correctional Institution. After reviewing bids for a new Engine 2 from several manufacturers, Toyne Fire Apparatus of Breda, Iowa was selected to build the apparatus at a cost of $263,580.
In May of 2006 the old 1978 Howe Pumper was sold by bid to Cylde Wade of Snow Hill for $1275.80. The new 1250 GPM Rescue Pumper was delivered in June of 2006 and was financed by a USDA Rural Development loan of $230,000 and a grant of $20,000. The new Rescue Pumper has a 1250 GPM pump, 750 gallon water tank, a foam system with 40 gallon tank, 10,000 watt hydraulic generator, 5400 watt light tower, deck gun, and booster reels. In July 2006 the department responded to a large fire at the KenafTec plant near Castoria that was started by lightning igniting a stack of Kenaf bales in the field behind the plant. 23 fire departments were called in to control the fire which burned 18 stacks each containing 400 bales of Kenaf. The Department’s certification as a Rescue Provider was upgraded from Light Rescue to Medium Rescue in July 2006. In September of 2006 the department took delivery of a Holmatro Self Contained Rescue Tool purchased with a State Fire matching fund grant.
In the spring of 2007 the Department made several improvements to the station including new carpet, benches for the patio area, new washing machine and dryer, tile flooring for the laundry room and handicap bathroom, and vinyl flooring for the kitchen. On Oct. 7th 2007 the Department held an Open House to celebrate the 50th year of service to the community.
Duty uniforms were purchased in 2008 for all members to wear at department events and public events. In July of 2008 the Fire Association Board of Directors approved the purchase of a new tanker and in September an order was placed with Toyne Fire Apparatus of Breda, Iowa for a 2000 gallon tanker built on a 2010 Freightliner chassis at a cost of $254,634. Also in November of 2008 the department was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $112,385. This grant funding was used in 2009 to purchase 30 complete sets of turnout gear, hydraulic rescue tools, 30 pagers, and a thermal imaging camera.
In May of 2009 the department’s new 2000 gallon Tanker was delivered. The manufacturer of the new tanker has used a picture of the tanker in their company ad in several national fire magazines. Also in 2009 the fire station loan which was set up as a 40 year loan was paid off by the department after only 15 years.
Funding from a 2009 Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $77,976 was used in 2010 to purchase a new breathing air fill station to replace our existing 20 year old fill station. The grant was also used to purchase a complete set of fire, rescue, and extrication training videos, a rescue training manikin, laptop computer, projector, 12 portable radios, cooling vests, and a heart monitor.
In the Spring of 2010 the department constructed a 35 foot tall training tower at the station. Pitt & Greene EMC donated and installed the poles for the tower and department members did all the remaining construction. Department members also constructed a storage building behind the station to store training materials and station supplies. Shine Fire Department received a 2010 Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $598,771 to purchase digital radios for all the County fire departments to enable them to operate on the Statewide VIPER radio system.
An EF3 tornado struck the County on April 16th 2011 destroying the Middle School, Andy’s Burgers, the Greene Co. Recreational Park, and several nearby homes but only minor injuries were reported. Hurricane Irene struck the County in August causing damage to the fire station roof and downing several trees in the area. A 72 MPH wind gust was recorded at the station during the height of the storm.
The station truck bays floors and the wash bay floor were recoated in April of 2012 with an epoxy and polyurethane finish and the floor color changed to red in the areas where apparatus park.
In 2013, Maury Fire & Rescue received the FEMA Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant for a brand new ambulance. In 2014, a brand new 2014 F-450 4×4 Wheel Coach. It is the first four wheel drive ambulance in Greene County was placed into service.
In 2015, Insurance Services Office evaluation of the Maury Fire District was conducted in May 2015 in which the department’s records; equipment; and water delivery capabilities were inspected. The department was notified on July 15, 2015 that the ISO rating for the Maury Fire District would improve from Class 6 to Class 5 effective November 1, 2015. This improvement would result in a 10-15% reduction in fire insurance premiums on residential and commercial properties within the fire district. The Class 5 rating makes the fire insurance rates in the Maury Fire District the lowest in the county.
In 2016, The Department sold the 1985 Grumman tanker to Greenevers Fire Department in Duplin County. a 2015 Ford F-550 was placed in service as a Multi-Purpose Vehicle. It features a 300 gallon tank and Waterous pump with a Kubota diesel engine. This vehicle is designed for all terrain conditions and carries equipment to help members in many situations. Additionally, the department elected Neil Jarman as Assistant Chief.
In 2017, the Department elected Neil Jarman as Chief and Fred Wade as Assistant Chief.
In 2018, the Department elected Neil Jarman as Chief and Jason Avery as Assistant Chief.