Asheville's first horse-drawn fire hose carriage was purchased in May 1887.  The first hose company was formed in 1884, after the first city water lines were installed.  With 1,500 feet of hose, firemen were usually worn out by the time they reached the scene.  By 1888, there were three hose carts and 40 volunteers. Asheville Fire Department photo,  reprinted by permission from "Firefighting in Buncombe County" by Brian Lawrence. Available by publisher online at arcadiapublishing.com or  by calling 888-313-2665.

Book looks at history of ‘Firefighting in Buncombe County’

Firefighting has played a big role in Brian Lawrence’s life. His father was a firefighter and he grew up around the firehouse outside Decatur, Illinois. His fascination with firefighting followed him through his teen years, through college and into his current role as an engineer with the Asheville Fire Department. Lawrence’s keen interest in history complements […]

Major gas fire hits Sandhill Road area ***UPDATED 5:50 P.M.***-attachment0

Major gas fire hits Sandhill Road area ***UPDATED 5:50 P.M.***

***UPDATED: As of 5:50 p.m. the fire is out.*** A major gas fire hit the Sandhill Road area, erupting around 4 p.m. today. Emergency response crews have blocked off the area, and reports from both news outlets and social media tell of a huge fireball and a shockwave that shook nearby buildings. Authorities are warning people to avoid the area. Photo by Jason Setran.

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BREAKING: New Belgium fire ‘very suspicious’

The cause of the structure fire that started in the River Arts District late April 5 evening remains as opaque as the smoke that billowed from it. The flames overtook two buildings at the future New Belgium site on Craven Street. (Photo by Max Cooper) ***UPDATE Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m.: AFD has determined these fires were intentionally set.***

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Fire Chief: Asheville well-prepared for possible fuel shortage

After the 2005 and 2008 gas shortages due to hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast, the city of Asheville developed reserves and a conservation plan. With Hurricane Isaac moving towards the same area, Asheville Fire Department Chief Scott Burnette says the city is well-prepared. It was a common sight on I-26 during the 2008 gas shortage – tourists bringing extra gasoline with them to Asheville.  (photo by Bill Rhodes)

Firefighters do more than fight fires

I am writing in response to Norman Plombe's Aug. 31 Xpress letter "We Become Heroes by Saving." To quote Mr. Plombe, "Every time a firefighter dies while actually fighting a fire, conventional society jumps into lock step to deify him." Perhaps Mr. Plombe does not realize that firefighters place themselves in harm's way to help […]

Research before you rant

I appreciate the citizen’s opinion that was published in a recent Mountain Xpress on the life of a firefighter [“We Become Heroes by Saving,” Aug. 31]. However, I believe that the citizen is a bit misinformed. One of the main arguments made was that people in other professions die every day and do not get […]

Funeral, procession today for fallen Asheville firefighter Jeff Bowen

Capt. Jeff Bowen’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. today, Aug. 2, at Biltmore Baptist Church, and while the community is invited to pay their respects, officials expect “significant traffic delays” and congestion during the procession to and from the church. Bowen died on Thursday, July 28, while fighting a major fire at a Biltmore Avenue medical building. The fire injured almost a dozen other firefighters and caused significant damage to the building, which may not re-open for several months. City officials report that about 25 fire vehicles will take part in the procession today, escorting Bowen’s body from the Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue to Biltmore Baptist. Traffic delays are also expected from noon to 2 p.m., when Bowen will be returned to the funeral home.

UPDATE: AFD’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen fatally injured in Biltmore Ave. fire

UPDATE: Asheville Fire Department’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the department, died today, July 28, after battling a blaze at 445 Biltmore Ave. Another firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was taken to Augusta, Ga., for treatment. According to information released at a 5 p.m. press conference, the building was older and not required to have a sprinkler system. Bettencourt and Bowen were working as a team in the incident, and six other firefighters were also injured.


Photo by Katy Brooks

AFD extinguishes Turtle Creek Apartments fire

Early this morning, the Asheville Fire Department responded to a three-alarm fire at the Turtle Creek apartments. More than 50 firefighters, including several from other fire departments, battled the blaze for over an hour. According to the AFD, 31 people lost their homes, but no one was killed or injured in the fire.

Photos courtesy of Asheville Fire Department