FIRST ON 3: Soddy Daisy hires first full-time firemen - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3: Soddy Daisy hires first full-time firemen in city's history

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Monday marked a historic day in Soddy Daisy as the city hired its first group of firemen since the town's inception in 1969.

"People are like, 'wow y'all volunteer and you're not paid? We always thought you guys were paid!" said fireman Aaron Smith.

Now 24-year-old Aaron Smith can tell his neighbors he is paid.

READ MORE | Soddy Daisy tax hike to provide firefighter funding

"You get paid to do what you want to do. There's not a lot of people that can say that in life so I feel really blessed to be able to do that," he said.

Smith said it's a dream come true to work as a fireman for Soddy Daisy. He's volunteered with the department for the past six years while working as a police dispatcher. Now he joins four other men and Chief Mike Guffey as full-timers.

Chief Guffey said it's long overdue. He said the federal government has increased mandates for fire departments, and that Soddy Daisy has had to increase staff with the amount of paperwork and rules and regulations involved now.

Now Chief Guffey is getting a paycheck for something he's done for 25 years.

"It's a better feeling for the citizens. They know if something happens, we have guys within just a few minutes away," he said.

City Manager Hardie Stulce is the former chief of the once all-volunteer department. He said just about every place in town is within 2.5 miles of a fire station.

"This is the first step in providing what we hope will be the best level of care for the citizens in this community," Stulce said.

Stulce said they'll continue using volunteers.

Smith said the attention from full-timers is a big benefit to the city he's always called home.

"That's one thing I like about this community is they've always supported us. Now I want to give back to them and support them 100 percent," Smith said.

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