Soon after the first buildings were completed, a fire department was established in Forsyth County in 1772. The Town of Salem purchased the first fire pump in the state in 1785 after a tavern burned down the year before. Old Salem’s Market and Fire House is the oldest engine house in North Carolina, built in 1803. Growth in both population and industry led to the joining of Salem and Winston. When the two cities joined in 1913, they formed a united volunteer department. Even with the newly formed Winston-Salem department, there was still a necessity for rural fire protection as some farms, churches, and schools were beyond the reach of the city department. It was not until 1949 that the first rural volunteer department was founded in Sedge Garden. Innovation in fire apparatus and equipment, such as the development of the fog nozzle still in use today, contributed to the success of rural firefighting. The fire service in Forsyth County has consistently been on the forefront of technology, diversity, and revolution.
Joshua Wright is a career firefighter with a decade of volunteer experience. The photographs contained in this book were acquired from both public and private sources in the city of Winston-Salem and from Forsyth County collections.