A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the Georgetown Road site Friday as construction equipment moved topsoil in preparation for construction. Two hills of dirt showed that much of the work had already been completed.
“It’s great to see the dirt moved and we look forward to the ribbon cutting in about four months,” said Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
Site work has also been started on the Minnis Road and Dalton Pike locations.
The three stations are being built simultaneously in an effort to have all of them up and running with time to spare before the fire contract with the city ends on June 30.
Davis said the project remains on schedule.
Battalion Chief Myron Hawkins said he was “excited about the future” of the department. Hawkins has served with BCFR for 19 years. Hawkins, who works out of the BCFR headquarters, said he is also excited about the department providing better services to the county citizens.
“This is the first step in looking forward to serving the citizens of the entire county,” interim fire chief Troy Spence said.
The three stations will provide better fire protection by putting a fire station with paid staff closer to many Bradley County residents.
Bradley County Fire Board member Ed Elkins said he was pleased to see the project getting started.
He said he is looking forward to the increased coverage the new stations would provide for rural areas. Elkins said the Georgetown station would bring fire protection closer to many residents in his district.
Tankers and fire trucks needed for the stations have been ordered and are being constructed.
Davis said the county should have the trucks before April 1.
All of the needed firemen for the new stations have been hired.
The 35 new firefighters needed to run the additional stations were hired in three different groups. The first group was hired in August and has begun work. A second group of hires is completing training, while the third group will begin training Monday, according to BCFR administrative assistant Paula Garner.
The stations will be patterned after the station on Tasso Lane, except the living quarters and office area will meet safe room standards for use by the community.
The safe room specifications were included to qualify for a hazard mitigation grant through the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.