Fire Company #2

from the Facebook page of Old Photos of Newport

In July of 1885, Fire Company No. 2 (also known as Phoenix Fire Company No. 2) opened on the East side of Monmouth, between Williamson (11th Street) and Tibbatts (10th Street), roughly where Combined Lock Service sits today. The house was built to serve the south end of town, as well as the burgeoning East side.

By 1902, development on the East side had grown exponentially. So much so, that Fire Chief Waters asked that an additional “reel house” be built in the East end to better protect the “new portion of town”. Instead, city council opted to build a new house and abandon the one on Monmouth Street. Initially, the new engine house would be built on the same lot as a new city stable on East 11th Street; however, that plan quickly fell through, and council opted to build only the stables.
By 1903, conditions at Fire Company No. 2 were dire. In a Cincinnati Enquirer story from the time, Chief Waters reported that the building was in a “very unsafe and dilapidated condition. The building shakes every time a horse lies down, and when the bell taps for a fire all the firemen run out on the street for fear the building will fall down on them.”

Despite this plea, a new firehouse was not built in the East end. Fire Company No.2 remained on Monmouth Street until September of 1924, when it was shut down as a cost-cutting move. The firefighters and engine assigned to the house were relocated to 4th Street. According to a Kentucky Post article from the period, Commissioner Chris Ebert said that the move would save the city $1000 a year.
Fun Fact: Between 1886 and 1924, the City of Newport had three firehouses, all of which sat north of 12th Street. The reason for so many stations was quite simple: horses pulled the equipment and could only travel so far before becoming tired.