Chief Harmon Gives Tour of New Fire Station

Published 8:41 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

On September 19th Fire Chief Harmon gave a tour of the renovations for the new fire station. Harmon pointed out where the battalion chief’s office would be and a solid concrete bunker for storm protection as workers moved about in inmate orange and construction noise filled the air.
He showed several future sleeping quarters.
“Some of my volunteers will come in and spend the night, like during a storm. When we had the hurricane, they would come in and stay and run calls, so we will have beds in here for them.”
He showed a larger area that was still under construction.
“This is the kitchen/dayroom.”
He mentioned expected capacity.
“We can probably sleep about twelve in here. We use inmates during the daytime. We currently have seven or eight. When they come in, some of them we get that have been trained at other facilities, and they transfer down here. Some of them we have to train, they are wanting to do something productive, and we train them. The same certification I hold, they hold, as far as being a firefighter.”
Harmon pointed to buildings across the complex.
“That’s where they housed the juveniles, in those cells in there. And now we will be able to utilize them for training.”
He talked about the duration of the project.
“We’ve been under construction now for over a year. Those are inmates that are doing the work back there. It’s an inmate construction crew. There are about five of them throughout the State, and we were lucky enough to get one.”
Afterward he showed the proposed educational facility.
“We’ll be able to use it for a lot of different things, not only for the fire department. In this whole wing, nothing but classrooms. So the Sherrif’s office will be able to utilize this. Anybody in the County that has a class or needs some space to have a meeting for a class, they will be able to utilize it.”
Harmon showed a small shop area, artwork spray painted on the walls.
“Every bit of this artwork was done by the juveniles that were incarcerated. This used to be the shop area, and they would work on vehicles. They were able to work on cars, brake jobs, work on motors, and stuff like that, while incarcerated. I thought that was pretty cool. But they also loved to write their names in the windows and tear up a lot of stuff.”
He talked about the room’s new use.
“This is our storage area room here, for our dive team, our dive boats. We do a lot at Lake Blackshear. We got called down to Ashburn, Turner County the other day, and we did a body recovery down there. Lee County has a dive team we work real close with. We got a lot of members on our dive team that come from Macon, Bibb, Warner Robbins, Houston County. We got a good top-notch team. We just had a new trailer donated to our dive team, an enclosed trailer so they can keep all their equipment on it. So they will be able to pull up, just hook to the trailer, and pull out of here.”
Harmon talked about acquiring the complex.
“We were going to build a new fire station, and we fell about two million dollars short. My boss, Rayetta Volley, said go out there and look at this complex and see if you could make it work for you.”
He talked about how the facility could benefit other County departments.
“Our intentions are to put a gym out here for County employees to utilize. Because it is a secure facility, they can get out here and walk the track and not be bothered by anybody and feel safe and secure while they are doing their walking. I got to get moved in here, and then we’ll move on to the next project.”
Harmon described the efforts going into the renovations.
“We’ve got the inmates and we’ve got employees who are electricians on their side jobs. Plumbers, electricians, and we can get it all done. Because if we had to pay somebody to do this, we’d run out of money real quick. My goal is to come in under budget.”
Chief Harmon received a report of a vehicle wreck with entrapment, concluding the interview.