By KATIE BEVAN
A few days ago, I was out in the neighborhood and I stumbled across Fire Station No. 6.
It’s located at 3112 Chapel Hill Road — you can’t miss it.
Mitch Ryals, the other reporter on this beat, and I were standing on the lawn taking pictures of the signs.
“Want to take a tour of the fire house?” Two men in uniform stepped out onto the porch.
We quickly agreed and met Rich Harris, one of the firefighters on shift that day. A shift lasts 24 hours at a time, starting at 7 a.m. There is a calender hanging up on the wall with color coded dates, marking which teams have which shifts.
The first thing we saw were the engines. There were three in the garage. The first was the Quint 6 and it goes out on a normal call. The second was a yellow reserve engine, for when the main truck is in the shop. The third was an old engine, which is mostly just used for parades.
We walked around and chatted with the men on duty that day. Getting the inside scoop was a great experience. Did you know that every Columbia fire truck has an MU Tiger on it? They also each have a “mascot” specific to their truck. The Quint 6 has the bull from the “Bugs Bunny” on its side. Some of the other engines’ mascots are Mater (of the movie “Cars”) and Shrek.
Besides the garage, the inside of the station looked like a basic house. The shared bedroom had lots of space, which is not common in all the stations.
“We actually get to keep the sheets on our beds,” Harris said. “At the other stations, the guys have to wrap ’em up when the next shift gets there.”
The kitchen included two refrigerators, a big table and plenty of cabinet space. Sometimes the people on duty take the fire engines to the grocery store to pick up food, so that in case of a call someone is not left at the station alone.
During a shift the firefighters have a typical work day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. They do maintenance checks and fill out paperwork. At 5 p.m., they get to kick back and relax a little, maybe watch some TV. This is all, of course, if there are no emergencies.
Thanks for letting us look around!