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Hugo Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue, Inc. was formed in May 1980 following a meeting of concerned community members. The group organized a meeting after a major snow storm hit the area. During that storm, neighbors realized how vulnerable they were. Their protection had been coming out of the City of Kinston. A meeting was held at Tull Hill Farms and was organized by Marie Moore and Larry Taylor. Notable community members at that meeting were Gene Brooks, Earl and Lucille Craft, Johnny Craft, Sammy Craft, Carl Edwards Sr., “Buddy Boy” Faulkner, Ray Harris, Kendall Hill, Bill Howard, Marie Moore, Eddie Murphy, Larry Taylor, Frank White, many of the wives, and several other members of the community. The invited speakers were Russ Deats and George Smith Jr. of the neighboring North Lenoir Fire Department. Following the initial meeting, the first piece of apparatus, a 1965 Ford American LaFrance was purchased from Lafayette Village Fire Department. This truck was donated by several members of the community. At this time there was no station, therefore, the first engine was housed at the chief’s shop. Soon after, the department purchased a 1957 Chevy oil delivery truck to run as its tanker. From the beginning, all 25 original members purchased their own gear for $233. Firefighters had no pager. Therefore, in case of an emergency, the central dispatcher would call the chief’s wife who would then relay phone calls to others. This cycle would alert the firefighters of what type of call and where to respond.
In 1981, following the donation of land by Carl and Audrey Edwards, a new fire station was complete at Hugo Crossroads. Earl and Lucille Craft purchased a siren which still stands atop the original station. This siren would improve the dispatch capabilities because anyone within a few miles would hear and respond to the station. Several trucks were purchased in the early years including a brand new 1982 Chevy Tanker, a brush truck, an American LaFrance Engine, and an equipment truck. The department’s first new engine was a GMC Grumman purchased in 1984. Soon after, the department received two county trucks from Kinston Fire Department; an American LaFrance Cab-Over Pumper and a Ford Louisville Tanker. On June 11, 1987, Hugo Fire Department opened the first volunteer sub-station in Lenoir County, Hugo Station Two. During the same period, a Kinman Extrication tool was purchased and became the first extrication tool housed at a volunteer department in Lenoir County. Hugo continued its rapid growth during the 1990s, adding state-of-the-art engines, a rescue truck, Gas monitoring equipment, technical rescue equipment, more extrication equipment, and multiple other types of equipment that helped the department serve its community and surrounding areas. In 1998, Hugo expanded to three stations when it opened a 3000 square foot building to operate as Station Three. The history of Hugo Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue, Inc. is very important to the members, past members, and the community. Hugo prides itself on its relationship between its members and the community, and serves as the heart of its district.
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