Before the sun had even risen on February 19, 2005, a fire broke out at the Paramount Theater on S. Center St, destroying years of history. An officer from Goldsboro Police Department noticed the flames and called dispatch around 04:00. Over 60 members of Goldsboro Fire Department were on scene, as well as members of New Hope, Rosewood, and Elroy Fire Departments. Volunteers from Mar Mac and Pinewood Fire Departments were on standby to assist with any other calls that Goldsboro would receive that day. Multiple aerial units were utilized to help contain the fire to just the Paramount Theater. There was a real danger of the entire block of businesses going up in flames. Chief Greenfield knew after assessing the situation that the theater was not going to survive the fire, and therefore focused on preventing the fire from spreading to the other structures beside the theater. Crews stayed on scene well into that day to keep watch for hot spots even after the fire was out. On February 15, 2008, only three years after the devastating fire, the Paramount Theater was rebuilt and opened for business.
The Wayne County Memorial Community Building was a fixture in Goldsboro as it honored those who died during WWI. It was built in 1924 and served not only as a memorial, but as a meeting place for some organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, and United Way. It was also the headquarters for Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Department for many years. This building was destroyed on May 2, 2004 from a fire that started in the cupola on top of the roof. By the time the firefighters reached the scene, the fire had already overcome the structure. Chemicals inside the building aided in the fire spread. Outside, storms including lightning and high winds, were not helping the situation either. Off-duty GFD personnel were called to the scene to assist, as well as two neighboring departments, Mar Mac Volunteer Fire Department and Pinewood Volunteer Fire Department. It took over 3 hours for the fire to be contained.
Station 2 was moved to the current location of 1901 Royall Ave in 2000. This station houses Engine 2 and Ladder 1 (reserve) in the two bays. The style of the fire station is a more modern, open concept in the kitchen and living area.
November 6, 1998 is a day that GFD hopes is never repeated. Fire crews from GFD were dispatched to Wayne Auto Salvage for a structure fire to aid Thouroughfare and Arrington Fire Departments. After ventilating the structure, crews entered with hose line. After a few minutes of fire attack at the source of the fire, crews were instructed to exit the structure to reconvene and strategize a different attack plan. Upon exiting the structure, a blast of heat and smoke knocked several members of the crews onto the ground. Most were able to get out of the structure with minimal injuries. However, two firefighters lost their lives that day, one being from Goldsboro Fire Department. Robby Blizzard had just completed a 24 hour shift at GFD and was volunteering with Arrington Fire Department. Sidney Jones was the other person that lost his life that day and was the Chief of Thoroughfare Fire Department.
In 1998, Goldsboro Fire Department's Station 5 was opened and operating on Central Heights Rd. This station resembles Station 2 in style, but includes one more bay.
Chief Bobby Greenfield served as Fire Chief beginning in 1997, serving the department for almost a decade. In 1998, Station 5 (Central Heights Rd) was opened and fully operating. Station 2 was later relocated to the current location on Royall Ave. During his time as Chief, the Ladder 1 apparatus was purchased as a replacement Aerial for the 1976 Snorkel. Our current Engine 2 was also purchased during his time. Chief Greenfield helped assist in the expansion of the department by creating new positions such as Assistant Chief of Support Services. The GFD Honor Guard was established during his time as Chief. He adopted the Committed to Life Safety slogan that is represented on all our current apparatus.
In early 1980, it was decided a new fire station was needed for Goldsboro. The station was built with 2700 square feet of usable area at a cost of just over $100,000. The station was designed to blend in with the residential neighborhood in which it was located. On December 13, 1982, this new station was placed in operation on Poplar St as Goldsboro Fire Station #4. An Engine Company from Station 1 was transferred to Station 4 and no new personnel were needed to be hired at that time.
As the city grew in size, the department had to grow as well. The Ash St station became overcrowded with not only personnel, but fire apparatus. At the same time, the Goldsboro Police Department was also becoming overcrowded. It was decided to build a Fire-Police Complex and to have one Central Dispatch Office for both the Fire and Police Departments. Land was purchased at the corner of S. Center St and E. Spruce St. On October 19, 1976, the Fire and Police Departments transferred their operations to the new complex.
The Belk-Tyler fire was one that was not quickly forgotten. It was reported that the fire began in the light fixtures. The store had allegedly had issues with the florescent lights, but no repairs had been made. The fire began on an afternoon in 1974, and crews stayed on scene well into the next day. Like many structures downtown, one worry was neighboring buildings being affected by the flames and smoke. With the fire starting in the ceiling/light fixtures, it was difficult for firefighters to get the fire under control. A lot of water was flowed that afternoon and into the next morning as hot spots were trying to reignite. As a result of all the water flow, merchandise from the store also flowed down the street and on the sidewalks. While there were minor injuries that occurred, no life was lost during that fire!
Chief Willard Herring became Fire Chief on January 9, 1969 and was the youngest Fire Chief Goldsboro had hired up to that point. During that first year, a new 1000 gallon pumper was put into service, replacing a 750 gallon pumper and bringing the total number of 1000 gallon pumpers in the department to 3. Chief Herring was able to oversee the development of a Training Grounds for GFD in 1970. In 1973, Goldsboro Fire Department was able to obtain a new modern type rescue unit. Personnel attended an ambulance school and were certified by the Emergency Medical Service of North Carolina as Ambulance Attendants. 1974 brought about a change to the department in the way of a three platoon system. This reduced the number of hours the men had to work from 72 to 56 hours per week. This is the current system used today. During this year, Chief Herring was approved to hire 6 additional personnel to help outfit the third platoon. In 1976, Chief Herring moved Headquarters from the Ash St location, to the new property on S. Center St. Chief Herring retired in 1997 with 28 years of service as Fire Chief, making him the longest serving Fire Chief in the history of Goldsboro Fire Department. Picture below is Chief Herring with his nephew, Scott Wells, and daughter, Sharon Herring checking out the 1919 La France