HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Fire protection is now just minutes away for residents who live in Northeast Harrison County. Grand opening ceremonies were held Saturday for a brand new fire station on Bethel Road. The new station will offer the community a lot more than just fire protection.
The $600,000 volunteer fire station opened fully equipped with two fire trucks, a tanker and a pumper. A fire station in the neighborhood has been a dream for residents of the Bethel Road community for years.
Pastor Barney O'Neal is one of those resident.
"I think, in a few words, we'll say we have arrived!"
Windy Swetman, Harrison County District 1 Supervisor, Windy Swetman says, "The residents of this community certainly voiced their concerns. They needed increased fire protection here in the Northern Eastern part of Harrison County. We heard their concerns and made sure that we addressed them."
The Bethel Road station will cover a five mile radius in all directions, which will improve response times for medical emergencies, car accidents and fires.
Harrison County Fire Marshal George Mixon says, "Prior to this station coming on line, the closest fire station was nine miles away."
Mixon says better response times is just one benefit.
"This is going to help reduce the homeowners insurance in the Northeast part of the county in District One, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent when everything gets put together," Mixon says.
And the spacious fire station will double as a community center.
"A place for the community to come and gather, for us to hold public events at as a central hub in this community," Swetman says.
The Residents say they will rest a little easier knowing help is just minutes away.
"I feel safer," O'Neal says. "I'm sure we'll all sleep better."
The fire station and new trucks were funded through a state grant and by the Harrison County Board Of Supervisors. The land was donated to the county by the Blacklidge family.
Supervisor Swetman says there are plans to build a community park in the area.