Gulfport residents fear fire protection is not adequate - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport residents fear fire protection is not adequate

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – Not much is left of the home that belonged to James and Patricia Dennis. The elderly couple died in a fire that consumed their home in the early morning hours on Monday. Fire hydrants in the area are few and far between. 

Next door neighbor Kecia Walker said the tragic fire was a wake-up call for her.  

"Even if you have smoke detectors in your home, you could still lose your home without having the proper fire hydrants," Walker said.  "That night, they had to literally take turns coming in and out pumping water." 

Beverly Boris drives her daughter to school every morning.  When she bought her home, fire protection was the last thing on her mind.  

"When you look for a house, it's not something that you really think about," Boris said. "And I didn't realize the lack of hydrants until this recent tragedy."

Even though the South Pine Street area was annexed by the city of Gulfport back in 1992, residents are still concerned about fire protection in their area, and they make no secret about those concerns.

"I have a small fire hydrant across the street from me," Harold Stanley said, "but it's so small you could hook up maybe a little bit larger than a water hose to it I'm not sure that would do any good." 

R. Lee Flowers is the city councilman who represents the neighborhood.  He knows fire protection needs to be improved.

"Do we need to improve the infrastructure? Yes. And I'm going to work extremely hard for that," Flowers told WLOX News.  "It's not a simple fix, we still have to put water in some of the neighborhoods."  

But that fix can't come soon enough for residents, who hope to never again see something like a fatal house fire.

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