COLUMBIA, Tenn. - They're the first to arrive in an emergency, ready to run into a building, even as everyone else runs out. Now, the tables have been turned on a group of firefighters in Columbia.
The men who work out of Station Number Three on Nashville Highway were recently forced from their fire hall - but not by flames.
"We need the rain, but it came at an inopportune time for the Columbia Fire Department," said Chief Lee Bergeron.
He says recent hailstorms and rain did some serious damage to the roof of the nearly fifty-year-old building.
At first, firefighters tried to catch the water that poured through the roof with buckets, strategically placed throughout the fire hall.
"Then, it started affecting where firefighters live," said Bergeron. "You know, they man the station 24 hours a day. We had leaks in three of the four bedrooms, in the kitchen, and in the office area, so we've had to put them up in temporary housing."
That means they'll now be answering calls for help from a rented mobile home parked out front.
It's close quarters, for the guys, but they've found a way to make it home. A clock that's kept time at Station Number Three since 1963 hangs on the wall inside the mobile home.
In a place where every second truly counts, Bergeron wants Columbia residents to know, his men will still be here.
'We just want to make sure they know they're safe, and station three is still providing services," he said.
Of the five fire stations in Columbia, Station Number Three is the oldest.
Any costs associated with the clean-up and repairs will be covered by insurance. The city is already making plans to fix the roof.
Bergeron hopes they'll be back in the building in about three months.