Wilson’s Mills Fire Department Purchases Ladder Truck

Fire Chief Announces Plans For Third Fire Station

WILSON’S MILLS – The Wilson’s Mills Fire Department (WMFD) has added a ladder truck to their fleet of emergency response vehicles. Fire Chief Bentley Powell said the department decided to purchase a used ladder truck to save taxpayers money. Powell said industrial and high density growth in the fire district prompted the need for the truck.

The 2004 Peirce Dash 100 foot ladder truck was previously owned by the Cary Fire Department. When Cary decided to upgrade to a new truck, the Wilson’s Mills Fire Department made an offer in September 2020. Chief Powell said he learned this spring they were the successful bidder. The truck was delivered over-the-summer and has been undergoing maintenance and a few upgrades.

“It has been well-maintained. The truck is in excellent shape for its age,” Chief Powell said. Wilson’s Mills becomes the fifth fire department in Johnston County to have an aerial truck to respond to emergency calls.

(Left to right) Wilson’s Mills Fire Chief Bentley Powell and Assistant Chief Marvin Dodd stand in front of the department’s first ladder truck.

Over the next few weeks, firefighters will complete training on how to operate the truck.

Chief Powell said the department has ordered required equipment to place on the ladder truck. Like everything else during the pandemic, the department is having to wait a little longer for some items to arrive. He expects all the equipment to arrive and be installed on the truck in the next few weeks. It should be operational and responding to calls the end of October 2021.

The 2004 Peirce aerial truck had been “Ladder 5” while in service with the Cary Fire Department. Wilson’s Mills firemen decided the truck should still be called Ladder 5 and will keep that name, even though its their first ladder truck.

WMFD has two stations and 50 volunteers that cover one of the largest fire districts in Johnston County. They employ paid staff to assist with daytime calls but volunteers handle all calls at night.

Fire Station #3
For now, Ladder 5 will be housed at the main fire station on Fire Department Road. However, plans are in the works to add a third fire station on a six acre tract of land on Gordon Road just off Highway 70. The department will lease the property from Novo Nordisk.

Station #3 will be constructed in two phases. Phase one is the construction of a maintenance building which should be completed by the Summer of 2022. It will serve as the temporary fire station number 3 until the main station #3 building can be completed. The main station will be constructed starting in late-2022 or early-2023.

In approximately two years when Station #3 in fully completed, Chief Powell said the department will hire full-time firefighters to staff all three stations 24-hours a day. Volunteers will still assist and respond to fire and first responder calls.

Station #3 will also improve response times in that section of the fire district.

(Left to right) Wilson’s Mills Fire Chief Bentley Powell and Assistant Chief Marvin Dodd stand in front of the department’s first ladder truck.

Wilson’s Mills Fire currently has an insurance rating of 3. Chief Powell hopes Ladder 5, the addition of the third fire station, and full-time paid staff can lower the rating even more for residential and commercial property owners.