WGNS Radio, 1450AM, 101.5 FN (www.wgnsradio.com), October 22, 2014
Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department will host an open house Saturday, October 25 from 1:00 -3:00 pm at the Headquarters fire station located at 202 E. Vine Street to celebrate the building turning 50.
The event is open to the public. Attendees will receive fire station tours and see MFRD equipment.
The Fire Safe House will be on display and personnel will give out fire hats, fire safety literature, and other items. Information and signups for MFRD’s free smoke alarm program, Project SAFE “Smoke Alarms for Everyone” will be available.
Light refreshments and drinks will be served.
“Our Headquarters building turning 50 is a big deal and we wanted to invite the community to come out and celebrate with us,” said Chief Cumbey Gaines. “We hope that the public will come see where we work and live and how well kept the building is after all these years.”
In 1964, the now existing Headquarters was built. The old building was demolished after completion to allow for MFRD’s flagpole and patch of grass on the corner of East Vine and South Spring Streets. The architect on the project was Burney Tucker. Plans were completed May 7, 1964 and sometime between then and December, the job was bid, the specs were approved, and the building was built. Since then, the building has undergone two significant renovations. In the early 1990s, the City added wheelchair ramps and a handicapped accessible bathroom to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. More recently, the City added a women’s locker room for use by female firefighters by remodeling the firefighter’s sleeping area.
Architect (information provided by his son, Greg Tucker, who serves as Rutherford County Historian)
Burney Tucker was born and raised in Rutherford County. His life-long ambition was to fly and coach football. He realized his dream of flying when he went off to World War II; he became one of the original “Black Sheep.” When he came back from the war, he decided he wanted to be an architect. He went to Georgia Tech and received two degrees in three years time; a Bachelors and Masters in Architecture. He completed a 5-year apprenticeship as a draftsman in Phoenix, AZ at Varney. He moved back to Tennessee after his apprenticeship and his first project was for the Presbyterian Church. He built a “mission church” across from Mitchell Neilson School.
“When my father got the job for Headquarters, he was given a clean slate to design the building from the ground up,” said Tucker. “The building will be there when the pyramids collapse,” he joked. According to Tucker, the concrete roof and absence of wood framing account for its durability. It is also fireproof. For the time it was being built, the design itself was unique. “Some didn’t like it,” said Tucker, “but it was functional, and my father’s belief was that the function was also the art.”
Tucker built several buildings and additions to buildings in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Some of the most notable buildings were Bellwood School and the Tennessee Fire College.
“My family was very proud of his work,” said Tucker. “We will be there on Saturday. We have grandkids now, and I will be bringing them.”