CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Fire & Rescue is putting the last pieces in place for launching three new stations to protect areas outside city limits but now protected by the Cleveland Fire Department.
On Monday, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis updated the Bradley County Commission on the fire department's strategic move, which entails equipping and staffing the new stations on Minnis Road, Dalton Pike and Georgetown Road.
"There's lots going on at the fire department as we speak," Davis said. "Several of the [new] trucks will start being delivered this week."
The six trucks, a mixture of pumper and tanker vehicles, cost the county nearly $2 million.
The price includes equipment installation by the vendor, which fire officials expected would save money and time compared to the expense of purchasing and installing the essential add-ons in-house by the fire department.
Bradley County Fire & Rescue recently completed hiring and training programs that added several dozen new firefighters to its staff. About 70 full-time firefighters and as many volunteers serve the department.
"I'd be more comfortable with about 100 volunteers," said interim Fire Chief Troy Spence, who also serves as director for Bradley County's Emergency Management Agency. Spence urged all interested people to contact the fire department to see how they could serve.
Regarding the station buildings, the Minnis Road location is now staffed and has only some minor construction to undergo before completion, Davis said. The other stations are expected to go fully operational in May.
The stations also will serve as community storm-resistant shelters capable of housing 200 people, fire officials said.
Construction costs partially were offset by hazard mitigation grants awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In related business, the Bradley County Commission appointed longtime educator Ted Gee to represent the 7th District on the Bradley County Fire Board. Gee replaces John Tyler, who is stepping down from the position because of health reasons.
No plan has been announced for a full-time replacement for Spence, who assumed interim duties shortly after Dewey Woody, the former fire chief, announced his resignation last fall. Woody now serves as the head of the arson and bomb section in the state fire marshal's office in Nashville.
Although Davis previously said the county is considering submitted resumes for the position, he said that he and Spence are concentrating on getting the fire department through the major transition that must be completed by June 30.
On that date, the county's contract for city fire services ends for fringe areas surrounding the Cleveland city limits.
"We have a lot of moving pieces," Spence said.