Monteagle’s fire trucks arrived at their new home just over a week ago. The new fire hall, located between the Monteagle Police Station and the 911 Center, offers many improvements over the old hall, which was demolished to build the new headquarters.
Entering the new fire hall leads directly to a training area, with offices for both Fire Chief Mike Holmes and Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Blaylock. Behind the training area is a full kitchen and meeting area. A welcome addition to the new fire hall are showers for both men and women.
“These showers allow us to ‘decontaminate’ and not take irritants home to our families,” explained Chief Holmes.
A large bay area comfortably holds three fire trucks and a locker room. Above the bay area is a storage loft.
The construction of the bays is important to the maintenance of the fire trucks.
“We, the firefighters, installed equipment to power the air brakes and charge batteries while the trucks are in the bays,” explained the Fire Chief. “We also built the locker room.”
Several citizens balked at the price of building a new fire hall; it came in close to budget at $400,000. However, when compared to renting an interim building at $1,100 a month, that number may not seem so large. Additionally, energy efficient, cost-saving measures have been implemented.
In another update to the fire department, Chief Holmes said they recently received a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant of $99,222. These funds were used to purchase 14 air packs for the volunteer firefighters.
The new fire hall has the potential to impact the community beyond their improved ability to maintain equipment and fight fires. Fire Departments are required to submit to a review by the Insurance Services Organization every five years. Based on the results of the review, a fire department is given a rating which in turn impacts an individual’s homeowner’s insurance. Monteagle has a current rating of 5, brought down from a 6 two years ago. Chief Holmes says he will request a new review in spring 2021, ahead of the five-year schedule, in the hopes of further bringing down the rating and helping local homeowners with insurance costs.