Chandler firefighter starts junky side business - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler firefighter starts junky side business

September 5th, 2019 development
Chandler firefighter starts junky side business

Santan sun news staff

Cade Swallows spends a lot time riding around in a big, red truck.

The Chandler resident is a firefighter by trade for the City of Phoenix.

But on his days off, Swallows is riding around the East Valley in his own red truck, picking up unwanted junk.

Swallows started his removal business earlier this year at the urging of his wife.

“She said ‘Start a business,’ and I said ‘Okay,’” he recalled.

It’s not unusual for local firefighters to start side businesses due to the large gaps of time that are common in their work schedules.

Some Valley firefighters are landscapers, others build pools — one in Phoenix exterminates bed bugs.

Swallows decided removing old furniture and appliances would be right for him.

It made sense to offer this service in the East Valley, he said, because so many people are moving in and out of this area.

“A lot of people don’t have trailers or trucks and the ability to move things here,” Swallows said. “We’re all living in a subdivision somewhere.”

Swallows named his business Code 3, a term that’s often used by firefighters to initiate “lights and sirens” for an emergency call.

He’s capable of picking up most items, excluding hazardous or solvent materials. One of his specialties is breaking down and hauling away old hot tubs.

The company’s rates vary depending on how much junk has to be hauled away, but prices will generally range from $85 to $500.

Swallows is often called out to apartment complexes to pick up couches or mattresses left sitting next to a dumpster. It’s considered illegal to dump items like this, he said, and the violators get out of paying a dumping fee that Swallows has to pay.

Code 3 will try to donate salvageable junk to the Salvation Army. If they won’t take it, then Swallows will try a recycling center before dumping items at a transfer station.

Before he started putting out fires in Phoenix, Swallows was a teacher in the Washington Elementary School District in the West Valley. He made a career change about 14 years ago and hasn’t regretted it so far.

He said a portion of proceeds he earns through Code 3 will be donated to the 100 Club of Arizona, an organization that provides financial assistance for injured first-responders.

Running Code 3 gives Swallows a certain freedom he can’t get being firefighter, he said, so he’s excited to get out and serve the community in a different way.

“We’re gonna grow the business,” he said. “It’s just a good business model.”