City of Kenton The Key to Your Future

Kenton Fire Department

Our Mission Statement:

Kenton Fire Department, a paid department, proudly protects citizens and property within the city limits and also the districts of Buck and Pleasant Townships. Fire personnel operate out of one station that responds to fire emergencies. A paid squad at another location within the city operate local emergency medical services.

Kenton Fire Department

Service and commitment to our community has always been our number one objective. Continuing support from our community, city administration, and city council and other support agencies enable us to provide the services when needed.

The history of the Kenton Fire Department is rich with tradition. As you will see, we have come a long way since we were organized in 1853. The business of providing fire protection and other services has transformed with unprecedented speed by unprecedented proportions.

The ultimate objective of the fire service is to deliver the highest level of emergency response, to any situation, with the greatest margin of safety to firefighters as well as the public we serve. The advancements in technology and equipment has a great deal to do with successfully providing these services. However, I feel that the biggest contributing factor to our success over the past 150 years has been our firefighters.

Without their undying commitment and passion for firefighting, our goals and objectives could never be obtained. As Chief of our department, I am proud to be associated with these people and excited to say that “carrying on the tradition is not only an honor, but a privilege.” Enjoying what we do and feeling that it really matters, is the most rewarding aspect of our job.

History of the Kenton Fire Department, An organized company since 1853.

The earliest record of any attempt to provide fire protection in the City of Kenton was the purchase of some “fire hooks” on July 6, 1850, at which time $13.50 was expended in that direction.

In March, 1853 shortly after the first County Court House was destroyed by fire, Obed Taylor was ordered to buy ladders, hooks, picks, axes, and ropes to aid in extinguishing fires within the corporation, and about that time a “Hook and Ladder Company” was organized.

On July 12th, 1858, the town council appropriated $5,000.00 to purchase a fire engine, hose-reel, and 300 feet of hose. A committee was then formed to make such a purchase. They went to Cincinnati and bought the “Reindeer Fire Engine”, a second hand primitive type operated by hand power.

The “Reindeer Fire Company # 2”, was organized in January 1859, a temporary engine house fitted up (the location not known), and for the first time Kenton began to feel her importance as a growing town. In May 1870, a tax was levied for the purpose of erecting a new building for the fire department, constructing two cisterns, and to purchase a new fire engine. Plans were made for building an engine house, town hall, and station house in one structure. This structure was located on North Main St. just south of what is now the Price Funeral Home, and was built for the sum of $5,925.96.

Also two cisterns and prison cells were built for the sum of $1,377.00 in this structure. After the building was up the council concluded that the fire department was not sufficient for the wants of the town, and in May 1971 appointed a committee to purchase a Steam Fire Engine. The engine, hose, and carriage was bought from “Silby Mfg.” in Seneca Falls, N.Y. for $7,850.00 and June 22, 1871, John W. Born was appointed engineer of “Simon Kenton No. 1”, which was the name given the new engine.

Then in July, 1872, the “Simon Kenton No. 1”, was appointed to the newly formed “Simon Kenton Steam Engine Company”, and appointed James Young, Chief. In 1881 the members of the department for the first time received money for their services in the amount of $12.00 per year for fireman and $50.00 per year to the chief. In July 1883 a new horse drawn hose reel was purchased and added to the department at a cost of $650.00.

The old City Hall and Fire Dept. building on North Main St. was in use for 37 years, from 1870 to 1907. In 1907 the Fire Dept. building was deemed unsafe and a new location was selected on West Columbus St. between Detroit and Market Sts. A two story brick building was erected and opened for use on Feb. 20, 1908 at a cost of approximately $9,000.00. There were quarters for drivers upstairs, with accommodations for the fire hoses downstairs. The city prison was also located in the rear of the building.

At that time the equipment was considered up to date and valued at $4,000.00. In 1908 the department members yearly salaries consisted of Chief $175.00, Asst. Chief $150.00, Fire Marshal $125.00, Drivers $120.00, and Fireman $100.00. For half a century all fire equipment consisted of horse-drawn vehicles until the department motorized on Nov. 15, 1920.

Before becoming a motorized department, on more than one occasion had to receive mutual aid for extra large fires from such cities and Bellefontaine and Tiffin. This became a lengthy affair as equipment would have to be brought in by train. After becoming motorized the department would update the trucks whenever possible up too the present date. Once again in 1984, the decision to build a new Fire Station was discussed. With the age and condition of the building, and the fact that larger trucks now being used, made for very tight quarters. The need was great for a new building. Property was secured on South Main St. and plans were developed.

During the summer of 1985 the new building was erected. The main structure was erected by two local businesses and all the inside work on the building was completed by the firefighters in an effort to keep the costs lower. In September of 1985 the new firehouse was opened and the old building was razed. The cost of the steel and block building was approximately $350,000.00. The department still resides in this structure today.

Firefighting structure and equipment.

Equipment used by the firefighters would evolve thru the 1900’s to the present date. In the beginning firefighters had little more than coats and helmets. This wouldn’t allow for much more than exterior firefighting to be practiced.

Equipment used by the firefighters would evolve thru the 1900’s to the present date. In the beginning firefighters had little more than coats and helmets. This wouldn’t allow for much more than exterior firefighting to be practiced.

Through the constant evolution of technology firefighters are now going deeper into fires that ever before possible. When firefighters now arrive on scene they are covered from head to toe in protective clothing. They have self contained breathing apparatus on their backs along with face masks that allow them to breathe fresh air so they can advance hose lines to the seed of the fire through heavy heat and smoke conditions. They also have fans to ventilate the heat and smoke conditions along with thermal imaging to aid in “seeing” through the smoke.

Over the years, not only have the size and apparatus numbers increased, the duties and capabilities of the department have grown. The department not only covers the City of Kenton, they are contracted with Buck and Pleasant Townships for fire protection. The department at one time provided coverage to the City and nine other townships in the county.

During the early to mid sixties, many of the outlying areas formed their own departments and our area of coverage reduced to the current level. Besides fire suppression, the department has expanded our duties and responsibilities in many other areas. We provide fire inspections to new and existing properties, we have our own arson investigations bureau, we perform and assist with hazmat operations throughout the county, we have personnel trained and ready to respond to confined space rescues, underwater search and rescue, and fire prevention.

We recently added extrication to services provided when we acquired the Rescue truck and equipment from B-K-P in an effort to better assist and provide protection to our community. Although the City of Kenton, and the duties of the department have both grown, we still operate at the same personnel strength level as we did in 1881 when we first became a paid department. We are however operating one short at present time due to budget cuts.

The department is very proud of our history and service to the community and stands at the ready no matter what the weather, the hour, or the situation, to assist our citizens in the protection of life and property.

Kenton Fire Department Fire Apparatus

Apparatus owned by the City of Kenton

Engine 71:
1995 E-One Fire Engine mounted on a Ford Chassis. It is a 1250 gallon-per-minute mid-ship pump with a 750 gallon water tank. The apparatus carries 2900 ft. of various size hose for obtaining water supply and fire attack purposes. It also carries foam, self contained breathing apparatus, thermal imager, entry saws, and other miscellaneous equipment.

Tower 72:
2000 E-One Aerial Tower apparatus with a 95 foot reach capability. It has a 2000 g.p.m. mid- ship pump with a 500 gallon water tank. It carries 1300 feet of various size hose for supply and attack purposes. It has a 5000 KW Generator, self contained breathing apparatus, a full compliment of ground ladders, entry equipment, and other miscellaneous items.

2005 Dodge Dakota Pick-Up truck used for department utility purposes.

1994 Ford F-350 XL, carries all department extrication equipment such as jaws, cutters, Porta-power tools, cribbing and blocking equipment, hand power tools, and many other miscellaneous tools used in rescue situations.


2007 Ford Escape Hybrid used as the Chief’s vehicle and as a support vehicle.

Apparatus owned by Buck and Pleasant Townships

1989 Sutphen Fire Engine mounted on a Ford chassis. It is a 1000 g.p.m. mid-ship pump with a 1000 gallon water tank. The apparatus carries 2450 feet of various size hose for supply and attack purposes. It also carries foam, self contained breathing apparatus, thermal imager, entry saws, and other miscellaneous items.

1995 Precision Water Tanker mounted on a Ford chassis. It has a 500 g.p.m. mid-ship pump with a 2500 gallon water tank. It carries 2750 feet of various size hose. It also carries foam, self contained breathing apparatus and miscellaneous items.

1998 Dodge Ram Pick-Up with a United Fire Apparatus Skid Unit. It has a 500 g.p.m. rear mounted pump with a 250 gallon water tank. It carries 250 feet of hose for fire attack purposes. It carries foam, self contained breathing apparatus, and other miscellaneous tools. It is primarily a grass and wildland fire fighting apparatus.