From the Desk of the Fire Chief
Charles A. Drew

On behalf of the Southport Department, I would like to welcome you to our web page. The Southport Fire Department is a full-service department providing services in a fire division and an emergency medical services division. The department serves the citizens of our fire district with many duties ranging from fire prevention and suppression to emergency medical services to technical rescue and hazardous materials mitigation.  Southport Fire Department also contracts with the Town of Caswell Beach and provides fire protection services.

Our department operates from a Headquarters station, and three satellite stations strategically placed to better serve the citizens in our fire district. The Fire Division responds to over 700 calls per year, and the EMS Division assists with over 2500 medical emergencies per year. The department is also responsible for conducting fire inspections on all commercial buildings, reviewing plans, and issuing permits for all fire code-related matters.

Southport Fire Department was officially organized in the year of 1893, although there are reports of firefighting tactics in Southport since 1792. Today, the department operates with eight full-time career positions, Fire Chief, Battalion Chief, Fire Marshal/Inspector, Fire Clerk, Captain, and 3 firefighters. The Fire Division has an active volunteer roster of nearly 50 members, and the EMS division is very active with 40 volunteers. The EMS division staffs an ambulance 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. The Fire Division staffs 2 Engine Companies seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  One company is staged at Fire Headquarters, and an additional company is at our Caswell Beach Substation.

The department was recently inspected by the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal for an Insurance Rating. At the conclusion of the inspection, we received an ISO Class 3 rating. This was a great accomplishment for our department and community.

The Southport Fire Department is dedicated to serving our fire district with the best available service, in the most cost-effective ways. I am privileged to serve with some great volunteers, who always respond as trained professionals.

Serving our community proudly since 1893, the department has never missed a call. I am committed to continuing the traditions of this department and striving for continuous improvement in all that we do to provide the best services to our neighbors. If our department can ever be of assistance to you, we stand ready to respond to the cry for help. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the headquarters office at 910-457-7915.

Charles A. Drew, Fire Chief

Mission Statement

The mission of the Southport Fire Department is to provide superior service to the people of the Southport Fire District in an effort to protect their lives, property, and environment. The members of the department will accomplish the mission through fire suppression, fire prevention, public education, emergency response, and non-emergency response. The department will maintain the highest level of readiness, enabling delivery of firefighting and emergency rescue services in a safe, competent, and caring manner.


Southport Fire Department is a very community-oriented organization.  Our members are a brotherhood, a family, and we care about you.  We are your neighbors, and your friends.  Our department is very active with the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee and normally hosts the MLK Community Ceremony each year at Headquarters.  You will see us at the Southport Farmer’s Market, Spring Festival, NC 4th of July Festival, and Winterfest Craft Day with a booth of T-Shirts, Hats, Fire/Life Safety pamphlets, coloring books, crayons for the kids, fire hats, and badges.  Our members are frequently spotted in parades, safety days, and fire prevention programs at the local schools and daycare centers for Fire Prevention Week or Career day.  We love giving back to our community and sharing the message of fire/life safety and health awareness as well.  If you have a community event and would like us to be there, you can schedule it by calling 910-457-7915.


The City of Southport Fire Department is looking for volunteers!

In this video Fire Chief, Charles A. Drew talks about the department and discusses the various ways that you can get involved. You’ll also hear stories from several of our firefighters and EMTs as they share their experiences in the department and why serving Southport is so important to them.

There are opportunities for everyone. YOU FIT IN OUR FAMILY!

For more information on volunteering and our programs, contact (910) 457-7915 or (910) 457-7911.

You can also visit us at the City of Southport Fire Headquarters, located at 1011 North Howe Street, Southport, NC 28461. We’d love to see you.

Fire Membership Application: Please stop by the fire headquarters on North Howe street to pick up an application in person (digital application coming soon). To join the Fire Department the following requirements must be met:

  1. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid NC Driver’s License.
  2. Applicants must be of good moral character.
  3. Applicants must have a complete criminal background check and any other requirements as delineated on the Membership Application. (Applicants cannot have any felonious record.)
  4. Applicants must be a high school graduate or have a high school GED.

EMS Membership Application To join the EMS department the following requirements must be met:

  1. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid NC Driver’s License.
  2. Applicants must be credentialed through the NC Office of EMS as a Medical Responder or higher, OR must be at least HALFWAY through an approved EMT course. If you are currently in a course, you must also provide evidence that you are in good standing academically and provide a letter from your course instructor to that effect.
  3. Applicants must be a high school graduate or have a high school GED.
  4. Applicants must be of good moral character.
  5. No application will be accepted from persons convicted of a felony in the last seven (7) years. Any felony convictions older than 7 years will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the membership committee. A felony older than 7 years old may still disqualify you from submitting an application.
  6. Applicants must meet all other requirements for membership, to include a current background check and certification requirements, as delineated on the Membership Application.


Southport Fire Department is responsible for fire prevention through education and inspections.  We love to educate people on how NOT to have to call 911.  It is also our responsibility to inspect commercial structures and businesses in our jurisdiction to make sure the public is safe, and our firefighters are safe should there be an emergency in the building.  An inspection table is mandated by the NC Fire Code.  So, don’t be surprised to get a visit from our Fire Marshal or one of our Fire Inspectors within the department.  We want you to be safe, but more importantly, we want our firefighters safe.  If you would like to schedule an inspection or have questions regarding the fire code, please call 910-457-7915.


Inspection schedules of existing buildings shall be in accordance with Section 106 of the N.C. Fire Prevention Code, and shall be conducted no less frequently than described in the schedule below:

Public Schools Every Six Months
Hazardous Every Year
Institutional Every Year
High Rise Every Year
Assembly Every Year
Residential (Other than one and two family dwellings) Every Year
Industrial Every Two Years
Educational (Except Public Schools) Every Two Years
Foster Care Home (GS 131-D) Every Two Years
Group Care Home Every Two Years
Business Every Three Years
Mercantile Every Three Years
Storage Every Three Years
Churches and Synagogues Every Three Years
Under 1,500 square feet $50.00
1,500 – 5,000 square feet $100.00
5,000 to 10,000 square feet $250.00
Over 10,000 square feet $300.00 + $5.00/1,000 square feet
Special Situations (i.e., Outside storage, LP Bulk Storage, No Building) $100.00
Foster Care Inspection $50.00
Footprint of building less than 10,000 square feet $50.00
Footprint of building in excess of 10,000 square feet Every $100.00
Tents under 200 square feet (Cooking & Concession) $50.00
Tents over 200 square feet $100.00

This inspection schedule is intended to meet the requirements of GS 153A-364 and GS 160A-424. Political subdivisions assuming inspection duties as set out in GS 153A-351 and GS 160A-411, shall have a periodic inspection schedule for the purpose of identifying activities and conditions in buildings, structures and premises that pose dangers of fire, explosion, or related hazards. Frequency of inspections of occupancies as mandated by the NC General Statutes shall supersede the above inspection schedule.

(North Carolina State Building Code Volume V, Fire Prevention, Section 106)

Small plan review < 2,500 square feet $50.00 (includes inspection)
Basic plan review 2,500<10,000 square feet $100.00 (includes inspection)
Intermediate plan review 10,001–25,000 square feet $150.00 (includes 1 inspection)
Complex plan review 25,00 –100,000 square feet $200.00 (includes 2 inspections)
Special plan review >100,001 square feet $250.00 + $5.00 per 1,000 square feet (includes 2 inspections)
Small and Basic re-inspection (each trip) $50.00
Intermediate re-inspection (each trip) $100.00
Complex re-inspection (each trip) $100.00
Special re-inspection (each trip) $100.00

(North Carolina State Building Code Volume V, Fire Prevention, Section 104.2)


A construction permit must be obtained from the Office of the City of Southport Fire Marshal in the following situations:

3.2.2 – Construction Permits
(Applies to installation of new systems and renovations to existing systems)

Code Section Description Permitting Fee
105.7.1 Automatic fire-extinguishing systems $100.00 + 2.00 per Nozzle/Head
105.7.2 Compressed Gases $100.00
105.7.3 Fire Alarm and Detection Sys./Related equipment $100.00 + 2.00 per initiating Device
105.7.4 Fire Pumps and Related Equipment $100.00
105.7.5 Flammable and Combustible liquids $100.00
105.7.6 Hazardous Materials $250.00
105.7.7 Industrial Ovens $100.00
105.7.8 L.P./Natural Gas Installation and Mod. $100.00
(Applies only to occupancies covered by the N.C. Fire Prevention Code)
105.7.9 Private Fire Hydrants $50.00 per hydrant
105.7.10 Spraying and Dipping $50.00
105.7.11 Standpipe Systems $100.00 with Sprinkler System
Standpipe Systems $50.00 W/O Sprinkler System
105.7.12 Temporary Membrane structures, tents and canopies $100.00

The code official is authorized to issue construction permits for work as set forth in sections 105.7.1 through 105.7.12.
(North Carolina State Building Code Volume V, Fire Prevention, Section 105.7)

Operational Permits 3.2.1

Code Section Description Permitting Fee
105.6.1 Aerosol products $50.00
105.6.2 Amusement Buildings $100.00
105.6.3 Aviation Facilities $100.00
105.6.4 Carnivals and Fairs $250.00
105.6.5 Battery Systems $50.00
105.6.6 Cellulose Nitrate Film $50.00
105.6.7 Combustible Dust-Producing Operations $50.00
105.6.8 Combustible Fibers (Except Agriculture) $50.00
105.6.9 Compressed Gases $100.00
105.6.10 Covered Mall Buildings $100.00
105.6.11 Cryogenic Fluids $50.00
105.6.12 Cutting and Welding $100.00
105.6.13 Dry Cleaning Plants $50.00
105.6.14 Exhibits and Trade Shows $100.00
105.6.15 Explosives $100.00
105.6.16 Fire Hydrants and Valves $50.00 each unit
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids Pipeline $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids I Storage $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids II Storage $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids Removal $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids production, processing, transportation, storage, dispensed, used $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids Install, alter, remove, or abandon flammable or combustible liquid tanks $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids Change the contents of a flammable or combustible liquid tank $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids Manufacture, process, blend, or refine flammable or combustible liquids $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids To engage in the dispensing of liquid fuels into the fuel tanks of motor vehicles at commercial, industrial, governmental, or manufacturing establishments $100.00
105.6.17 Flammable & Combustible Liquids To utilize a site for the dispensing of liquid fuels from tank vehicles into the fuel tanks of motor vehicles at commercial, industrial, governmental, or manufacturing establishments $100.00
105.6.18 Floor Finishing using Class I or II Liquids $100.00
105.6.19 Fruit and Crop Ripening $50.00
105.6.20 Fumigation and Thermal insecticidal fogging $50.00
105.6.21 Hazardous Materials Storage, Transport, Dispense, Use and Handling $100.00
105.6.22 Hazardous Materials Facilities $100.00
105.6.23 High-Piled Storage $100.00
105.6.24 Hot Work $50.00
105.6.25 Industrial Ovens $50.00
105.6.26 Lumber Yards and Woodworking Plants $50.00
105.6.27 Liquid or Gas fueled vehicles or equipment in assembly buildings $50.00
105.6.28 L.P.Gas Bulk Storage $100.00
105.6.29 Magnesium $50.00
105.6.30 Miscellaneous Combustible Storage $50.00
105.6.32 Open Flames and Candles $100.00
105.6.33 Organic Coatings $50.00
105.6.34 Operation of Places of Assembly $100.00
105.6.35 Private fire hydrants removal from service, use or operation $50.00 per hydrant
105.6.36 Pyrotechnic special effects materials $250.00
105.6.37 Pyroxylin Plastics $50.00
105.6.38 Regulated Refrigeration Equipment $50.00
105.6.39 Repair Garages and Service Stations $50.00
105.6.40 Rooftop Heliports $50.00
105.6.41 Spraying or dipping operations $50.00
105.6.42 Storage of Scrap Tires and Tire Byproducts $100.00
105.6.43 Temporary membrane structures, tents, and canopies $100.00
105.6.44 Tire-Rebuilding Plants $100.00
105.6.45 Waste Handling $100.00
105.6.46 Wood Products $100.00

Churches and synagogues shall be exempt from Operational permitting fees.

These permits will only be issued during a new construction situation. The permit will be valid for the same period as the inspection schedule in section 106 and the renewal will be the payment of the inspection fee for existing buildings.

An existing building may be issued an operational permit for the above situations, the permit will be included in the fee for the inspection of an existing building in accordance with section 106.

The code official is authorized to issue operational permits for the operations set forth in sections 105.6.1 through 105.6.46.

(North Carolina State Building Code Volume V, Fire Prevention, Section 105.6)

Civil Penalty Schedule
First Offense $100.00
Second Offense $300.00
Third and Subsequent Offenses $500.00

Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of the N.C. Fire Prevention Code, or fail to comply therewith, or who shall violate or fail to comply with any order made there under, or who shall build in violation of any detailed statement of specifications or plans submitted and approved there under or any certificate or permit issued there under, shall be subject to penalties as specified below as approved by the City of Southport Board of Alderman. These penalties shall be recovered by the City in a Civil Action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalties within a period of 30 days after the issuance of the notice of violation. The notice of violation shall be in writing, signed by the Fire Marshal and/or the Fire Official charged with the enforcement of the N.C. Fire Prevention Code and shall be delivered or mailed to the offender either at his/her residence or place of business or at the location where the violation occurred. Each day’s continuing violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. Any action to recover such penalties may be joined in an action for appropriate equitable remedy, including injunctions and orders of abatement and including an action to recover damages by the City in abating, correcting, limiting, and otherwise dealing with the harmful effects of the offending action. Civil penalties are assessed in accordance with North Carolina G.S. 153A and G.S. 160A.

Violation(s) consisting of locked and/or blocked exits, impedance of the occupants to quickly evacuate a structure or premise, or conditions posing imminent danger to the occupants on or about the premise or Violation(s) of Occupancy Limits established pursuant to the North Carolina State Building and/or Fire Code must be corrected during the time of the inspection if at all possible.


1011 N Howe St, Southport, NC 28461

Non-emergency phone (910) 457-7915 or (910) 457-7911
Email the Chief at: [email protected]
Email EMS at: [email protected]

  EMS Division
Other Links
J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center
Red Cross Wilmington

employee photo

Charles Drew
Fire Chief

Tel: (910) 457-7915 (FD)
[email protected]

employee photo

Ralph Treadway
Battalion Chief

Tel: (910) 457-7915
[email protected]