In 1885, the first known fire companies were established in Louisville to support the various local coal mines. The Welch Mine and Welch hose company provided fire suppression to the town until around 1895, when a group of local citizens started to petition the local trustees asking for a volunteer fire company dedicated to protect the local homes. In February of that year, the trustees approved a local ordinance to create a city department and incorporation papers were filed with the state of Colorado. The 1895 ordinance also specified that there would be a chief engineer, an assistant chief engineer, and a hook and ladder company with no more than 50 members, and a hose company with no more than 30 active members. The first ordinance went on to outline the rules and authority at a fire, “In all cases of fire the hose company that shall reach a fire hydrant first with the necessary hose, shall be entitled to use the hydrant. If the company does not have enough hose the other company can attach their hose, however, the first company was entitled to use the nozzle at the fire”.
Like most hose companies of that era, Louisville experienced its fair share of devastating structure fires. Fire was used as a primary source of heating and cooking, making fires a common experience. Unfortunately, water for fighting fire was scarce and there was no municipal water system like we enjoy today. Until the city established its own water system, fire companies used bucket brigades from the various cisterns, ponds, creeks and elevated water tanks. Around 1898, the community received its first hose cart, and would eventually have 3 dedicated hose carts before the first hose truck was put in service in 1932.
In January of 1900, a bell tower was constructed to alert the local volunteer hose companies and in 1902 a new town hall and fire station was built for $1,500. In 1952 the community built a new city hall with the fire department still attached, that same year the City approved the purchase of its first new fire truck, a 1952 International for $9,000.
After 100 years of providing fire service to the city of Louisville, the various local coal mines and some surrounding area farms, the department built a stand-alone fire station on North Main Street where it is still in service today. As time passed and the community grew, the department transitioned from a city department to a special district. In 1977, the board of directors soon realized that a second station was necessary to meet the service demands of a growing community. Station #2 was built in 1985 and currently serves as the district headquarters and administrative building.
Read about Louisville's purchase of the hand drawn hook and ladder apparatus in 1883. view article