The Carrollton Fire Department has implemented all of the suggestions made during an audit last year and is now operating with a full staff, its chief said.
Jimmy Bearden discussed some of the issues that came up in the audit, delays with building Station 22 and why it is necessary to replace Station 23 near Central High School.
Bearden said construction of the new station on the corner of Brumbelow and Lovvorn roads might not be finished before this summer due to delays caused by inclement weather. The original station was a short distance away but had to be demolished after sustaining extensive damage during a tornado last April.
There have been at least two weeks since construction began that the weather was so bad workers had to halt temporarily.
“All the rain, snow, ice and frigid cold has delayed the progress of construction a bit,” Bearden said. “It’s a tough time of year to be building. The walls are almost completed as far as the inner masonry work and they have started on the brick veneer which will be the exterior finish. But progress has been a little bit slower than we’d hoped for due to weather conditions. It may be ready as early as April or May but we’re looking at summer 2018 depending on the weather.”
Bearden said the firefighter team assigned to that station continues to work from the precinct attached to City Hall. Though a bit crowded for now, he said that everyone is getting by. The response time of that team, he added, has been slowed by only about a minute.
“Everyone is looking forward to moving out to get the space back but we’re doing OK,” the chief said. “Everyone loves each other and we’re getting along well.”
Another building, Fire Station 23, is expected to up for discussion in the next SPLOST cycle. He said that station, located on Central School Road, has been occupied since 1981 and is outdated.
He said that the area has grown since the station was built. Some of the growth has come from the school, with the Central High football field parking lot expansion now surrounding the station. As a result of that, there is no room to add on to the building. Bearden said it is likely the station will be relocated within in the next few years.
Meanwhile, the department has maintained a top ISO rating and response time.
Among the changes implemented following an audit last summer was more turnout gear, more equipment, and a pay increase.
“We’re almost fully staffed,” Bearden said. “We have some very talented new employees and we are 99.9 percent staffed. getting seems to be going very well now and we’re looking forward to a bright future. We complied with every single recommendation that was suggested during our audit.”