Doug Cooper grabbed a hammer last week to hang photos and certificates on the gleaming white walls of his new office at the Martinez Fire Department's headquarters building on Desoto Drive.
Martinez firefighter Steve Weddle mops the floor of the new headquarters on Desoto Road. The department began
operating out of the new facility April 26.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The department chief is a little upset his office is so disorganized but is excited his crew finally moved into the $1.3 million building.
"We have got so much junk," Cooper said. "We are still not organized. My office looks like a wreck."
The department's new building offers plenty of room to store equipment and house officers and firefighters with room left to grow, Cooper said. In fact, the old station on Washington Road could probably fit inside the new building's three, 80-foot truck bays.
The department began moving staff and equipment from the former headquarters building on Washington Road more than a week ago, and the first shift at the new location began at 7 a.m. on April 26.
"We have been planning and looking for quite a few years," Cooper said. "We knew we had outgrown that station down there, and we needed to get off Washington Road."
The new site works around the old location's main problem - Washington Road traffic. It offers exit routes in several directions and avoids the heavy traffic that seemed ever-present on Washington Road.
Capt. Robert Rosier, the department's dispatcher, has his own office for the first time, and the dispatch center is big enough for three dispatchers to accommodate future growth. That could come soon since the department is taking over dispatching fire calls to North Columbia Fire and Rescue.
"(The entire building) was a collaborative effort, and it turned out excellent," Rosier said.
Firefighters, who often work 24-hour shifts, can spend the night curled up in single bedrooms upstairs instead of sleeping four men to a room in the former building.
Batt. Chief Danny Kuhlmann, the department's training officer, moved from a desk in a meeting room at the Gibbs Road station to the headquarters with Capt. David Dickenson, assistant training officer.
The new headquarters needs only one more thing to be considered complete - the fire pole, Cooper said.
The Martinez Fire Department recently began operating from their new headquarters on Desoto Road.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The owner of CSRA Camperland purchased the land the former station is built on to extend his display lot.
Cooper said he and his department have been anxiously watching construction and waiting to move, but he said leaving the Washington Road station was a little emotional.
On his way to work during his first official day at his new office, Cooper stopped by the old headquarters building.
"(The guys), they love it," Cooper said. "Some of them are sad to see the old station go. I am kind of sad. I worked around there for almost 30 years."
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