City honors first fallen firefighterPublished 12:01am Sunday, February 17, 2013
The city honored North Carolina’s first recorded fallen firefighter, Edward Peed, in a ceremony at Washington’s Fire Station No. 1 Saturday morning.
Peed was killed Feb. 8, 1902 as he responded to a fire on the downtown waterfront. He was a 20-year veteran of the all-black volunteer Salamander Fire Company.
Lt. Doug Bissette said 234 firefighters have been memorialized by North Carolina.
“This year, we’ll add 11 more,” he said. “It’s very humbling to know that a man died 100 years ago and you still gather every year to memorialize him.”
The Washington/Beaufort County Human Relations Council and Washington Fire/Rescue/EMS Services organized the commemoration ceremony. Mayor Archie Jennings said he appreciated the efforts that went into planning the annual event.
For the last four years, Jennings has been a part of the ceremony, recounting Peed’s story. He said it was a privilege to do so.
Jennings said the story was a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by firefighters and a part of Washington’s history that needed to be kept alive.
The council also recognized Washington Fire Chief Robbie Rose and Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford for their service.
“On behalf of everybody in the department, thank you for this recognition,” Rose said after accepting a plaque from the council.
Drakeford praised Fire/Rescue/EMS Services.
“This is the best group of men and women that I have ever, in my life, had the honor to lead,” he said.
David Smith, retired former coach of P.S. Jones and Washington High School, said the ceremony was a fantastic way to honor a deserving hero “and for the firefighters who risk their lives every day to help our community stay safe.”
City Councilman William Pitt said it was important that fire services honor and remember its own, but the story should not be confined to those who have followed in his career path.
“Every child in Washington should know Edward Peed,” he said.