(LEFT IMAGE) - General manager Michael Palmer looks over plans with sales manager Sam Ozturgut.
(RIGHT) - Service manager Robert Vaughn checks inventory in the stockroom.

A 4,500-square-foot complex of two structures (one built to UL central station standards) has enabled Fire Protection Inc., Everett, Wash., to triple its space.

The company, which specializes in installing fire alarm systems, was established in 1996 by president Roy Cats, who had been a sheriff's policeman in the Seattle area for 10 years. Its previous facility was 1,500 square feet in north Seattle.

One of the two new buildings is one story and houses administrative offices. The second structure is two stories with parking underneath for emergency service vehicles. It houses service, parts and installation departments. Located in a mostly residential area of Everett, the complex was grandfathered in for non-retail commercial business.

With approximately $450,000 invested in the building and equipment and $150,000 in land, Cats plans to recoup his expenses when he opens his own central station in three years. He calculates savings on the accounts he subcontracts now will amount to approximately $5,000, with additional income from contract fire alarm monitoring the company will do. His business is approximately 95 percent commercial.

The new complex will give Cats room to operate a private guard response service he thinks will be successful because of heavy fines levied by local municipalities for false alarms. He estimates the building would have cost half as much if it did not have to be UL-listed.

"It's going to be here for the next 20 years," Cats says of the new complex.