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
As the city continued to grow, a new sub-station was placed under construction in 1965. The station was (and still is) located on Patetown Rd in the northern part of the city. By July 29, 1966, Station 3 was opened and operating with a 4-man crew.
Due to the fact that Goldsboro was growing rapidly, it was decided that a second fire station was needed. Station 2 was built and occupied by August 27, 1956. This station was located at the corner of Beech St and Madison Avenue in the eastern part of the city.