In 2003, the city of Louisville and Jefferson County governments merged. Most services consolidated, an exception being fire protection. Today, 19 separate fire departments protect 400 square miles and 760,000 people of a mostly unified Louisville Metro.
The Louisville Division of Fire continues to protect approximately 62 square miles and 250,000 people within the “Urban Services District,” or former city limits of Louisville. Fire protection in Louisville dates back to when the city settled in 1778 and incorporated in 1828. Early forms consisted of fire brigades and then an organized Louisville Volunteer Fire Department. On May 27, 1858, the Louisville Fire Department was established, becoming the third fully-paid fire department in the United States. Today, the department operates 19 engine companies, 2 quint companies, 6 truck companies, and several specialty units from 21 stations with nearly 500 personnel.