City asked to support marker honoring firefighter

Published 9:55 pm Sunday, March 27, 2016

Washington officials are being asked to support a movement to erect a historical marker regarding the death of Edward Peed more than 100 years ago.

The Washington City Council will consider the matter during its meeting tonight.

The city’s Human Relations Council and Robbie Rose, the city’s fire chief, are asking the city to support their request for the historical marker. The city honors Peed every February with a memorial service.

Peed, a member of the all-black Salamander Fire Company, was the first Washington firefighter to die in the line of duty and, according to records, North Carolina’s first black fireman to die in the of duty. He was a 20-year veteran of the force — the fateful fire, one that swept through warehouses on the Washington waterfront. The date was Feb. 8, 1902, a Saturday.

The fire, which started about 5:25 p.m., was blamed on a defective flue at the Atlantic Coastline freight warehouse. Shortly after 9 p.m., Peed, a nozzleman, was spraying water on rubbish when the western wall of the Hoyt Building collapsed, falling on Peed and killing him instantly, according to historical records.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program, operated by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, will review the application for a marker honoring Peed and determine if such a marker is warranted. Specifically, the Highway Historical Marker Advisory Committee oversees the program. The committee is composed of ten faculty members from four-year colleges and universities who are experts in one or more aspects of the state’s history.

For a marker to be approved, it must meet a set of criteria, including one that requires markers designate places, events, or persons of statewide historical significance. State markers are not appropriate for subjects of primarily local or regional importance. A marker honoring Peed may be considered by the committee because it has been at least 25 years since his death. Individuals can be considered as subject for markers only after a waiting period of 25 years after death, according to the criteria.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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