Rural Metro targets January opening of new station

Sandra ClarkFeature, Powell

Captain Jeff Bagwell, public information officer for Rural Metro Fire, said Station 36 will open in early January. It’s located on Norman Jack Lane behind O’Reilly Auto Parts on Emory Road between Powell and Halls. Both the Halls and Powell stations will remain open.

Bagwell said Rural Metro Fire now operates 16 stations in Knox County (No. 36 will make 17) with 130 full-time fire personnel, 80 part-time reserves (volunteers) and 27 pieces of fire apparatus.

Rural Metro Fire is funded by subscriptions – there is no funding from Knox County. The subscription cost is offset in part by a reduction in the cost of homeowners insurance since Rural Metro carries an ISO classification of 3 in Knox County.

Bagwell gave a bit of company history at last week’s PBPA meeting and spoke of the future. Rural Metro Fire is relocating and expanding its East Knox County/Strawberry Plains station. Groundbreaking has been set for 10:30 a.m. today (10/16) at 5637 Strawberry Plains Pike with Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Fire Chief Jerry Harnish and others.

“This relocation of Fire Station 27 will provide quicker response times to the larger portion of East Knox County,” he said. Construction on this $1 million facility is expected to take 12 months. When completed, it will house equipment relocated from the existing Station 27 (at Forks of the River Industrial Park) as well as being capable to accommodate more live-in firefighters. This station will house the majority of the county’s Haz Mat team and its equipment.”

Bagwell said Rural Metro Fire does more than fires. “Now we have an EMT on every fire truck to help people with medical emergencies from simple falls to heart attacks. We can reach your home or business in 3-5 minutes (to start emergency treatment).” The fire truck will not transport people to a hospital, but it will be the first responder.

State law enables fire departments to bill non-subscribers for services, and Bagwell said that cost can exceed $1,000 per hour per truck. The average annual subscription for a $200,000 wood frame house is $400, he said. And he encouraged people to contact the office. “We’ll work with you on payments and even offer discounts to those on fixed incomes.”

Captain Mike Palmer is RM Firefighter of the Year.

He said Rural Metro’s parent company, AMR, now offers a free-to-subscribers non-emergency medical air transport. “If you break your leg in New York, you don’t need to fly back to Knoxville on a commercial flight.”

After Bagwell’s talk, Rural Metro Captain Mike Palmer was recognized by the PBPA as firefighter of the year. He’s worked with Rural Metro since 1999 and was recently promoted to captain. He received a $50 cash gift from the club.

Also at PBPA:

  • Dr. Don Wegener gave $4,900 for use by the Enhance Powell committee – proceeds from the fourth annual Travis Wegener Memorial Car Show.
  • Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs will speak at noon Tuesday, Nov. 13, to PBPA.
  • Laura Bailey announced the Lions Club Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, to be preceded by PBPA-sponsored carols and hot chocolate starting at 3 p.m. in Powell Station Park.
  • Nick McBride said the Knoxville Elks will begin hosting a free breakfast for veterans each first Saturday at the Elks Lodge.
  • Dr. Frank Carusone of eyeXcel on Callahan Drive (formerly Drs. Rhyne and Patton), announced that Dr. David Patton will be retiring soon and Dr. Heather West will be joining the practice.
  • Matthew Whiteside announced that U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan will be speaking to the business lunch at The Crown College on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at noon. The lunch is free, but attendees must register with Christy Hibbard in the finance office.

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