On Monday, Bradley County Fire Rescue will take over fire service outside the city limits of Cleveland.
On Friday, a dedication of one of the three new engines and a ribbon cutting for the stations were held by county officials.
“Eight months and one week ago, the mayor appointed me as interim chief,” said Troy Spence, Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency director and interim Bradley County Fire chief.
Spence began working to get three new fire stations built, ordering equipment and trucks for the stations and rehabilitating the main station No. 8, hiring and overseeing training of new fire personnel.
“It has been a huge undertaking,” County Mayor D. Gary Davis said.
“They are ready,” he added.
Davis said the challenge was tough, but it was met as the three stations were constructed at one time.
County Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones commended Spence for overseeing the construction.
Davis thanked county commissioners who were in attendance Friday.
“Our goal was to be working out of the buildings by July 1,” Davis said.
Firefighters underwent training and helped with some of the aspects of remodel or construction, putting furnishings together and working as a team.
Spence has been involved in making sure construction and move in were on schedule, as well as running day-to-day operations and making sure CBCEMA was helping coordinate with the new fire system.
One new amenity to the Hopewell Station, as well as Minnis Road and Dalton Pike buildings, was the addition of safe rooms in the event of severe weather.
Up to 400 community residents can take shelter at the three new stations.
Paid and volunteer firefighters will man the stations.
“We always encourage anyone who wants to volunteer with us in rescue and fire, to give us a call,” Spence said.
“Volunteers have made this organization what it is today,” he added.
Spence also encouraged all residents in the communities where the new stations have been built, to stop in and familiarize themselves with where to go during the event of an emergency shelter need.
Bradley County’s first fire chief’s memory was also honored at the event Friday.
Engine 13 was dedicated to the late Emary Bryant.
In the early days, Civil Defense was in place.
Bryant was appointed to lead the fire brigade with what was named the Lee Atchley Memorial Rescue Squad.
“Emary Bryant inspired young men to become great men,” said Richard Taylor, long-time volunteer who is also a Tennessee Emergency Management Agency employee.
“He helped mold many of the leaders in today’s emergency service,” Taylor added.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about some of the wisdom he passed on,” Taylor said.
Bryant was responsible for molding the fire department and making evolutionary steps to ensure its growth and service standards.
He was responsible for the first acquisition of the “Jaws of Life” rescue tool which helped save many lives.
Taylor explained in the early 1970s, the community, not county government, went together through a radio donation drive to purchase the first Jaws tool.
“The tool changed and saved many, many lives,” Taylor said.
Several members of the Bryant family were on hand as the new engine was formally dedicated and unveiled with his name attached.
“The Bryant family is very appreciative the Hopewell Fire Station has honored our dad by placing his name on the new engine,” said Chip Bryant.
At 8 a.m. Monday, all mapping through 911 and years of work will come full circle as Bradley County Fire Rescue goes into full service as a paid and volunteer agency.