CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Fire and Rescue will host open houses for three new stations during the last weekend of June.
The events will give the public a chance to see the stations -- at Minnis Road, Dalton Pike and Georgetown Pike -- and to meet with fire officials, interim Fire Chief Troy Spence said in a recent discussion with the Bradley County Fire Board.
The events, including a ribbon-cutting at the Hopewell station on Georgetown Pike, are a chance to mark a milestone for Bradley County Fire and Rescue, officials said.
On July 1, the agency will take over service in fringe areas just outside of Cleveland city limits that now are protected by the Cleveland Fire Department under a city/county agreement. That agreement expires June 30.
Spence said the Minnis Road station has been in operation for a couple of months. The Waterville station, on Dalton Pike, should be ready for occupancy in a week, and the Hopewell station is expected to be ready by June 16, he said.
Bradley County Fire and Rescue's strategic move has required an increase in firefighting personnel and trucks in addition to the three new stations.
Boosting full-time and volunteer firefighting personnel has been one of his main goals for the department, Spence said. Since the fall, the number of active volunteers has increased from 42 to 93; full-time firefighters have gone from 24 to 63.
"The open houses should also generate some interest and assist with recruiting," said Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford, who serves on the Fire Board.
Six new fire trucks -- delivered this spring -- will be assigned to the new stations. Crews are working out any bugs during the break-in period for the vehicles, Spence said.
Bradley County Fire and Rescue also is set to increase its inventory of air packs, he said.
The department has set aside $20,000 to by 60 used packs from the Cleveland Fire Department, which is planning to buy new air packs, Spence said. The devices will be re-certified by Bradley County Fire and Rescue. Each truck will carry five.
The purchase represents a great savings for the county, Spence said. New air packs cost $7,000 apiece; the used air packs will cost between $350 and $450 each.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at email@example.com.