By Perry Schaible
NORTH COLLEGE HILL - The first firefighters here mortgaged their homes to buy equipment for a new department.
That was in 1919, but similar dedication still exists in the North College Hill Fire Department.
When city officials decided it was time to staff the department 24 hours, part-time personnel stepped up.
"There's been a lot of projects there over the years done on a volunteer basis," said Mike Lockwood, a part-time firefighter with the company since 1999. "It's a small community but it's a close community, everybody works hand in hand."
Last November, taxpayers passed a half-percent earnings tax for a 24-hour department. That was accomplished on June 30.
"It's something that has been inevitable," said Fire Chief Michael Lotz.
Renovations to the firehouse to add a sleeping facility, bathroom, dayroom and eating area were started in March.
Lockwood, a full-time electrical supervisor, volunteered to lead the project.
"It seemed to be the best choice as far as what we could get for the budget that we had," Lockwood said.
The firefighters did everything but the electric, plumbing, heating, and floor work.
Department officials plan an open house when the renovations are complete in the next few weeks.
"This is not unique to North College Hill, it's the fire service," Lotz said.
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