On January 1, 2002, the Fire Districts of Camp Springs, Silver Grove and Eastern Campbell consolidated into one large Fire District. Campbell County Fire District #1 now provides Fire and EMS service to the citizens of Silver Grove, Camp Springs, Mentor, California, and part of the unincorporated area of Campbell County. Today, Campbell County Fire District #1 is the largest Fire Department in Campbell County.
Camp Springs Volunteer Fire Department:
In March 1949, a community meeting was held and ultimately resulted in the formation of the Camp Springs Volunteer Fire Department. A group of local property owners mortgaged their homes to raise money in order to establish the department. Once established, The Camp Springs Volunteer Fire Department was the first rural fire department in Campbell County. Prior to the existence of taxing districts, funding of rural volunteer departments was always a challenge. A lot of departments relied on soliciting donations door to door, raffles, and festivals. Recognizing the need for a more reliable source of funding, the community of Camp Springs petitioned the Circuit Court for the formation of a Fire Protection District. As a result, Campbell County Fire Protection District #3 was formed on March 1, 1968, The first fire district in Northern Kentucky, and only the third in the entire state.
The first pumper was ordered in 1950 and delivered in 1952. Later a 1946 GMC was donated and fitted with a 1000 gallon tank. This apparatus would become the first fire department tanker in the county. The Camp Springs Volunteer Fire Department had always relied on tankers, as there were very limited fire hydrants in the area.
Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department:
In 1950 when the C&O Railroad decided to stop providing service to the community including fire protection, the citizens had to find a way to provide their own fire protection. After several town meetings, a resolution was passed to start The Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department. On October 5th, 1950 marked the first meeting of the Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department and the officers of the Executive Board were elected.
The new Fire Department asked the citizens to pledge twenty-five dollars a year to help finance the department so they could purchase a fire truck and a building to house the equipment. In November of 1950, the first fire truck was purchased from a neighboring department.
In the 1960s the City of Silver Grove agreed to contract with the fire department to provide fire protection for three thousand dollars per year.
On March 6th, 1979, the Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department fought a fire that damaged a National Treasure. A fire destroyed the railroad's roundhouse which resulted in millions of dollars of loss and heavily damaged the Freedom Train that was used during America's 1976 bi-centennial celebration.
The Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department again would see a heavy loss in the community during the worst floods that happened in 1964 and again in 1997. The fire department continued to provide fire protection and emergency medical service by utilizing boats.
Since 1959 the members have continued to be dedicated and proud to serve the community and its neighbors.
Eastern Campbell Volunteer Fire Department:
In 1964 individuals in the rural areas of southeastern Campbell County decided it was time to establish fire protection. Eastern Campbell Fire Department was established and was given the responsibility for the area south of Carthage Road to the Campbell/Pendleton County line and from the Ohio River to the Persimmon Grove Pike and east of Fisher Road. The area contained approximately 10 square miles with a population of around 1500. The main communities were the cities of Mentor and California. Also included were the unincorporated areas of Carthage, Gubsers Mill, Flagg Springs, and Koehler.
The first memorable fire fought by the new department was at the YMCA Camp. The Department responded to a fire in the dining hall of the facility. Members responded in street clothes and jackets as protective clothing was not available to them. The structure which was a loss, but a valiant effort was made by the members. After this fire, neighboring departments donated several sets of used protective equipment for the firefighters to use.
In 1980 the membership saw the need to organize and later became Fire Protection District #7. With this tax base, the department began to generate a reliable source of revenue.
On August 12, 1988, the department suffered a great loss when in the early morning, members were dispatched for a fire at the fire station. Firefighters arrived at the station to find the building totally involved in fire. One pumper was saved from an addition under construction. At this low point, the department pushed on. Apparatus was borrowed from other department and a tent was erected in the back for apparatus storage. The department later was able to purchase equipment and rebuild a new firehouse.