The Johnson City Fire Department’s humble and somewhat cramped administrative offices have functioned in the same red brick building for more than 80 years, but the time has finally come to place these operations in a new environment.
“Take the phones and computers out, and we’re in 1929,” Chief Mark Scott said about the 505 E. Main St. location more commonly known as the Central Fire Hall, Station 3, or simply, headquarters.
The offices will soon be relocated to 603 Bert St. in the eastern wing of the city owned Keystone Community Center — just a few blocks away from the buzzing chain saws, slamming doors and racing engines that have competed with administrative operations for so long.
“It can be difficult at times,” Scott said. “There’s not even a wall between us — it’s a door. It’s really small. You have to remember, this was built for the 1930s. What we hope to do is consolidate. The Johnson City Fire Marshal’s Office is now located at the Harris Tarkett Building on (East) Maple Street, but that office will move over to the new location. We’re going to have more room, and we do plan on growing.”
Scott, two assistant chiefs and clerical staff will make the move, as will a four-person staff in the fire marshal’s office and two training officers.
Paint is drying, carpet has been laid and remaining renovations are nearing completion. There will be an office just inside the main entrance off Bert Street which opens into a large room that will be subdivided into three offices for use as the fire marshal’s office.
Down the hallway, Scott will have an office and there will be additional room used by training personnel. All administrative phone numbers will stay the same and most all equipment, including computers, printers and other office goods will simply be moved to the new location.
“In the past, there may have been a reluctancy to move the administration office away from the suppression units, and there has been talk of possible expansion here,” he said from the Main Street location. “But this move also will allow the shift supervisor — the person in charge of operations of all stations during one of three shifts — to take over my old office.”
The shift supervisors now share a single, second-floor room which serves both as an office and a bedroom. There also exists only one small office for the training division.