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Firefighters Forced To Move From Unsafe Fire Station

Posted at 6:48 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 20:42:21-04

Firefighters were forced to move out of Columbia's station Number 3 after the aging and deteriorating building was deemed unsafe.

On Tuesday, it was business as usual at the station. The crew prepared for a retirement dinner on the grill.

Recently, when they're not responding to emergency calls they're spending a lot of time outside and so is their fire truck.

Assistant Fire Chief Ty Cobb showed NewsChannel 5 how the building has quickly deteriorated. In nearly every room, cracks line the floors and walls. When Cobb noticed the deterioration in the bathroom a few weeks ago he called in a specialist who confirmed what he and city officials feared.

"Keep in mind that a fire station built in 1962 is constructed different than today's standards. There's a lot of development in this part of town, the soil, erosion occurring and all that was tied into the engineer's report but again we had to act quickly," Cobb said. 

Outside, the damage to the building could be easily seen near window pains. "That's what we can see. My concern is what's under the flooring where you could have some void if you have some erosion," Cobb explained.

It took five days for the city to approve and supply new housing, which the crew now lives in.

"As soon as they said this is what we're doing everybody jumped on board," Captain Nick Brown said. 

Geological issues have been a concern before. The Tennessee Department of Transportation repaired a sink hole that opened up near the fire station less than a year ago. 

Plans were in the works to build a temporary shelter for the nearly $900,000 fire truck, but that will likely happen after the building is demolished in the next two months.

For at least the next year or more, the crew was set to be housed in a double wide trailer.