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Chapel Hill Fire Department Remembers Ret. Chief Everett Lloyd

Post Date:08/20/2019 6:57 PM
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Ret. Chief Lloyd with Chief Sullivan at the dedication
of Fire Station 2 on Hamilton Road.

Retired Fire Chief Everett L. Lloyd, the Chapel Hill Fire Department’s fourth full-time fire chief, died Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. He was 91.

Chief Lloyd was appointed to lead the department on April 1, 1968; he served until his retirement on Jan. 8, 1990.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Chief Lloyd and his family,” says Fire Chief Matthew Sullivan. “Many practices, systems, and facilities were initiated or built under the leadership of Chief Lloyd. There are multiple things our firefighters touch on a daily basis that were influenced by him.”

Chief Lloyd was an Orange County native, having grown up on a small farm in White Cross—a small town along N.C. Highway 54 west of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. He attended high school in Chapel Hill and after graduating joined the Chapel Hill Fire Department for 10 months before returning to work for a family-run sawmill.  Lloyd returned to the department in 1959 and decided to make firefighting his career.

In more than three decades, Chief Lloyd saw the transition from a volunteer-oriented department to a full-time public safety department. In 1968, the Chapel Hill Fire Department responded to 259 total alarms; that number rose to an annual high by 1990 of more than 1,000 alarms.

Chief Lloyd hired Chapel Hill’s first black firefighter, Albert Simms Williams, in 1968 to begin integration of the Chapel Hill Fire Department. Williams was also a member of the Chapel Hill Nine https://chapelhillhistory.org/. Lloyd attributed the smooth transition of this change to Williams being a “special person.” While there was no open opposition within the department, firefighter Williams’ was credited for having the character and fortitude to make initial integration efforts a success. With Williams help, other black firefighters were hired shortly thereafter without incident. Williams retired as a captain and continues to serve as the department chaplain.

Two Fire stations and the Fire Training Facility  were opened under Chief Lloyd’s leadership. Fire Station 3 was built in 1969 on Elliott Road at Franklin Street and Fire Station 4 in 1982 on Weaver Dairy Road Extension at HWY 86 (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). Training facilities were also built on the six acres acquired for Fire Station 4.

The fire department began transitioning to a Public Safety Officer (PSO) program on July 14, 1974. The PSO program combined the duties of firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. These personnel were cross trained and simultaneously employed by the Town from 1976-1993. A public safety director was hired in 1989 before Chief Lloyd’s retirement.

As buildings began getting bigger, staff under Chief Lloyd’s leadership implemented fire protection system requirements in 1974 in buildings over 50 feet and sprinklers in “old-age homes” and convalescent facilities.

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) use was implemented for firefighting in 1969.

The town and the department grew significantly throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Chief Lloyd was an innovative leader that helped the town navigate that transition with professionalism and humility.

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*Some information for this release was provided by research gathered by Mike Legeros and made available at legeros.com/.

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