The Kinston Department of Fire & Rescue was formed by the City Council in 1895 after the Great Downtown Fire where most of the businesses burned down. Our First Fire Station was located on Queen Street just north of the Lenoir County Court House located at the Intersection of King Street and Queen Street. Named for the first Governor of North Carolina Richard Caswell, Caswell Fire Company 1 remained in service until 1938 when a new Fire Station/City Hall was built on W King Street. In 1914 a second fire station was built in the area of W King Street, but is no longer standing. A third Fire Station, Kinston Fire Company No. 2, was built in the early 1920's on Tiffany Street (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) at the intersection of Caswell Street, which was in service until 1993. Kinston Fire Company No. 2 was closed down due to the new truck construction of fire apparatus could not fit into the old bays and was leased out to private individuals by the City. Caswell Fire Company 1 is now our fire museum, established and refurbished in 1987 at 118 S Queen Street. Visit their Facebook Page and Like.
In 1962 a new Kinston City Hall Complex was built at 203 E King Street, where Kinston Fire Station 1 was the main station until 2008 when the current Headquarters located at 401 E Vernon Avenue was erected. The 203 E King Street Fire Station was converted over to the Kinston Department of Public Safety Building and is now the current location of the Kinston Police Department. Also in the 1960's Kinston Fire Station 3, located on W Vernon Avenue across from the Vernon Park Mall, and Kinston Fire Station 4, located at the intersection of Plaza Boulevard and Market Street were built. Kinston Fire Station 4 was in service at Plaza Boulevard and Market Street until 2010 when the current Fire Station 2, located at 3428 Carey Road was constructed.
Kinston Fire Station 3 served as the City/County Fire Station and was in service until 1998, when Fire Station 3 was constructed entirely by the Kinston Firefighters. The new Kinston Station 3 was located on Hull Road. That Kinston Fire Station 3 stayed in service until 2010 when the current Fire Station 3, located at 1247 Hill Farm Road was constructed.
The Hall of Fire Chiefs
The Kinston Department of Fire and Rescue has had at least fourteen Fire Chiefs since its inception in July of 1895 to the Community. We are able to trace the Chieftain Linage back to the year 1915. They are Listed from Past to Present and their Presiding Dates corresponding with their photographs listed below in the same order from top to bottom, left to right.
The Late Fire Chief T. V. Moseley volunteered from at least 1915 through 1929 (No Photo Available)
The Late Fire Chief Junius S. Gray was the First Paid Chief and served from 1929 through 1957
The Late Fire Chief Joseph Travis Hailey served from 1957 through 1969
The Late Fire Chief Robert Isaac Faulkner served from 1969 through 1970
The Late Fire Chief David Lee served from 1970 through 1971
The Late Fire Chief (Peter) Otis Koonce served from 1971 through 1973
The Late Fire Chief Leslie Lee Green from 1973 through 1977
The Late Fire Chief Carl Davis from 1977 through 1985
The Late Fire Chief Tedd Melvin from 1985 through 1989 (No Photo Available)
The Late Fire Chief Anthony (Tony) Kelly from 1989 through 1998
Fire Chief/Public Safety Director Gregory S. Smith from 1998 through 2010
Public Safety Director Bill Johnson from 2010 through 2016