New Sullivan County EMS Station Opens in Bluff City at River Bend

John M. Dabbs
Signage at Bluff City's new EMS stationJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Station 3 opens

Bluff City is home to the newest ambulance station for Sullivan County EMS. The station at 135 River Road is named in honor of paramedics Phil Brown and Sabrena Carrier, who called Bluff City home. The paramedics were also volunteers at the Bluff City Rescue Squad, which continues to serve the area yet no longer provides ambulance service.
Ribbon cutting at the Bluff City EMS Station for Sullivan County EMSHunter Locke/Facebook

A ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, June 28, officially opened the station. Government officials, family members, friends, and EMS employees were on hand for the event.
Memorial placardHunter Locke/Facebook

The new station is the fourth new station for Sullivan County EMS. The other three stations were dedicated over the past year in honor of "Junior" Godsey, for the station on Gibson Mill Road just off Stone Drive in Kingsport, Fred McGrew -another Bluff City paramedic and Bluff City Rescue Squad volunteer- is remembered at the Kingsport station at the Sullivan County Health Department's location. The other new station is just off of South Wilcox Drive and houses the ambulance service's central supply and non-emergency ambulance base of operations.

Sullivan County government

Sullivan County Commissioners were instrumental in bringing these projects to fruition. County Mayor Richard Venable, Sullivan County Health Department Director Gary Mayes, and Commissioners Hunter Locke and Mark Vance were on hand, in addition to others who made the new ambulance station possible.

The county acquired the property behind the Shell station on River Road from the city of Bristol, Tennessee. The city had purchased the property in the 1990s to build a fire station before the Exide plant opened at the former Sperry site on Exide Drive (formerly Sperry, and Univac Road). The Exide plant had the city rethink its plans and led to a larger fire station being built across the road from the plant.


Sullivan County Ambulance Service maintained an ambulance station on the Volunteer Parkway in Bristol in the 1980s. The building was shared with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and located near the Twin-City Drive-InTheater. The building was demolished and is now a parking lot for Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.

Sullivan County Ambulance Service transitioned to Sullivan County EMS with a name change, and the unit was relocated to Bluff City and was based out of the Bluff City Rescue Squad for many years, with a temporary relocation on Highway 11E near Watson's Marine until rental costs became prohibitive.

Sullivan County EMS has provided ambulance coverage to the people of Sullivan County since its inception in the 1970s. The first paramedics were trained in Knoxville at the State Technical Institute and were a rare commodity until Tri-Cities State Technical Institute (now Northeast State Community College) was allowed to open its own paramedic program in 1986.

All emergency ambulances operated at Sullivan County EMS are now staffed with paramedics and the latest advanced life support equipment. The agency operates with both ventilator-trained and critical care licensed paramedics for an even higher level of care for critical care interfacility transports.

Sullivan County EMS is the primary EMS provider for Sullivan County, Bluff City, and Kingsport, Tennessee. The Bristol Tennessee Fire Department operates emergency ambulances out of its fire stations and is the primary EMS provider inside the city of Bristol, Tennessee.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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