Stations No.2 & No.3
(forerunner of Station 2)

In 1859, a new engine house called the South Street Engine House was constructed at the southeast corner of South High Street and South Street (now called Fulton Street). The station faced High Street and cost $2247 to build. It was a two-bay, two-story station.

A hand engine operated from here with volunteers until July 1863 when a new Silsby Steamer was purchased. It cost $4000 and was named the "John Miller" in honor of the first Chief Engineer (Fire Chief). The horse stall doors were connected by a trip wire to the station gong. When the gong sounded the doors opened, allowing the horses to take their places at the apparatus unassisted. At this time the volunteer crew became full-time paid members of the department.

By 1875, the engine house had fallen into an unsafe condition. On October 2,1876 city council passed a resolution instructing the fire committee to proceed with bids to rebuild the engine house. On February 6, 1877, just 97 days later, the house was completed at a cost of $4394. Members of the department did the tearing down of the old engine house and cleaning of the old brick. In 1883 a new two-tank chemical engine replaced the 1863 steamer. The new engine had 300 feet of 0ne inch hose and was purchased at a cost of $2300. In 1890, the department returned to the use of steamers, however the engine house was too small and the wood floor too weak to safely house a steamer.

In 1892, South Street Engine House was one of five engine houses rebuilt to accommodate the reintroduction of steamers to the department. It was built as a two-story,three-bay station at the southeast corner of Fulton and Pearl. It was renamed the Fulton Street Engine House and cost $23590. A new No.1 Size Ahrens 1000 gallon per minute steamer was purchased which replaced the chemical engine. In 1894 an aerial ladder made by the Fire Extiguisher Manufacturing Co. was placed in service. It had an 82 foot aerial ladder and 275 feet of ground ladders and required a two horse hitch. In 1904, a new aerial that had a smaller capacity replaced it, but was heavier and required a three-horse hitch. In 1918, both the steamer and the aerial ladder were motorized with tractors. The station remained in service until 1962 when it was razed to make way for the Interstate Freeway system and the new Market-Mohawk redevelopment project.


The Columbus Volunteer Fire Department was organized in 1822 and consisted of volunteer firefighters supplied with some axes, ladders and buckets.

The first building mentioned for fire protection was in 1824. It was a small wood building called Capitol Square Engine House. It housed a hand drawn, hand pumping "engine" and was located on State property set aside for the future capitol building.

In 1835,  the City was authorized to erect a more permanent engine house, but on the condition that the site had to be vacated when the Statehouse was to be built. It wasn't until 1852 that the City actually built a building on the Statehouse site, again called the Capitol Engine House. The equipment and volunteer crews were called the "North Brigade". The crews consisted of the Franklin engine with forty-one members, the Hornet hose company with thirty-six members and the Salamander Hook & Ladder Company with forty-six members.

In 1855, the City was notified to vacate the Statehouse property. A new engine house was built at Third Street and Chapel and was called the Third Street Engine House. This replaced the Capitol Engine House Previously located on the Statehouse property. In 1858, Columbus purchased it's first steamer that required special care and horses that required full-time care and feeding. This resulted in the first paid crew and the Columbus Fire Department now became a "paid" department. In October 1864, local insurance companies purchased a hook and ladder truck for the department. It was named "Gift" and was housed here with the steamer. In 1872 the National Board of Fire Underwriters Purchased a salvage wagon for the use of the department. In 1876, they purchased another salvage wagon to replace the 1872 wagon. It was also a chemical engine with an 80 gallon tank, 200 feet of 3/4 hose, 25 tarps, axes and brooms. They also supplied ten "minutemen" to do salvage work at the fire.

In 1872, the engine house was remodeled at a cost of $4080 and received a new front, new bay floor and a second story. It was renamed the Donaldson Engine House after Luther Donaldson, a prominent member of the fire committee. During the remodeling, the new oak floor was placed directly on the ground with no drainage. After four years of stabling horses on the floor, a sickening odor began to permeate the house. In June 1876 three members were stricken with typhoid fever at one time. In 1877 the problem was remedied with a new concrete floor. In 1888 the Department Purchased its first aerial ladder, an 85 foot spring-raised ladder.

In 1894 the station was once again remodeled and renamed, this time to No. 3 Engine House. The engine house was enlarged to three bays and housed a steamer, hose wagon and an 85 foot aerial ladder. In 1902 the aerial was moved to No. 1 house and was replaced by a Champion water tower. All of the horse drawn equipment was motorized in 1918, and in 1923, the station received a Seagrave Gorman Pumper. 

In  1962, a new engine house was constructed at Fulton and South Fourth. this was necessitated by the construction of the interstate freeway system and the Market-Mohawk redevelopment project. In December 1962, old engine house 2 and 3 were vacated (a Columbus fire station had occupied the Third and Chapel location for 107 years) and combined in the new station #2. The equipment from Engine House 2 was combined with Engine House 3's equipment as a matter of economics, since the original engine houses were only a few blocks apart. Each engine has it's own response area, Engine 2 responds south and Engine 3 responds north of the engine house. Opened in December 1962, Station 2 is a one-story station with apparatus bays in the center and living quarters on the ends. The station cost $296,622. The equipment responds to downtown Columbus and the surrounding freeway system. Station 2 also houses Heavy Rescue 2, one of the busiest rescues in the country. Bomb Squad 2 also is housed here, one of the very few fire department operated Bomb Squads in the nation. Equipment Responding from Station #2 includes two engines, an aerial ladder platform, a Battalion Chief, the Rescue, the Bomb Squad and the Medic.  

Content and pictures Courtesy of "A 180 Years of Service 1822 - 2002, A History of the Columbus Division Of Fire ".





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