The Board of Mayor and Aldermen of La Vergne approved the purchase of the privately owned and contracted La Vergne Fire Department, Inc. on December 17, 2013. The total purchase price of $4 million will be paid in two installments, one in January of 2014 and one in January 2015. The purchase includes, but is not limited to:
- Fire Station 1, 169 Stones River Road
- Fire Station 2, 609 Waldron Road
- Fire Station 3, 301 Bill Stewart Blvd.
- Vacant Land on Old Nashville Highway for a new station
- 2 ladder trucks
- 1 tower truck
- 1 pump truck
- 1 fire engine
- 1 rescue vehicle
The purchase terminates a 10-year contract that was signed in September of 2010 between the city and the fire department. That contract increased the amount paid to the privately held company every year by approximately $400,000, ultimately leading to an unsustainable price the city would be responsible for paying.
“Although we are paying what seem to be significant funds up front, we anticipate that we will save millions of dollars over the next several years,” said City Administrator Bruce Richardson. “We will be able to control costs better and be in a position to hire more firefighters to provide better service to our citizens.”
Mayor Senna Mosley said the number of firefighters supporting the city will be one of the key factors in determining the ISO rating, “We have strived to bring retail to La Vergne. Hiring more firefighters and upgrading our infrastructure by replacing the two-inch water lines will put us well on the way to lowering our ISO rating. The lower the rating, the less homeowners and businesses should pay for insurance premiums. This also means we will be more attractive to commercial development.”
All fire personnel are being offered full-time positions with the city and resignations are expected to be minimal. The city will hire additional firefighters within the next year in order to change to a three-shift operation of 24 hours on, 48 hours off. Currently firefighters have a two-shift schedule consisting of 48 hours on, 48 hours off.
The city named Rick McCormick as the new fire chief. McCormick will take the position effective January 1, 2014. He has served as the Emergency Services Coordinator for the city for the past 12 years and was previously the city fire marshal. In addition, McCormick has been with the La Vergne Fire Department., Inc. for 27 years, including service as a firefighter, lieutenant, engineer, captain, and – most recently – assistant fire chief for the past eight years.
“The experience Ricky brings to the position of Fire Chief is unparalleled,” said Mayor Mosley. “When the selection committee informed me about their decision, I knew we were hiring the best person for the job. His years of hands-on experience includes firefighting, hazmat situations, EMS work, training, and more. I am also fully confident and pleased with the firefighters we are bringing to the city as new employees. I welcome all of them to our city family.”
The La Vergne Fire Department, Inc. has been in operation since 1965 when it was founded by A.C. Wintermeyer and James Gafford. La Vergne was only one of two remaining privately held fire companies in the state leaving only Rural–Metro Fire Department in Heiskell, TN, just outside Knoxville.