Gulfport fire station closing worries nearby residents - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport fire station closing worries nearby residents

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Fire station number four in Gulfport is now closed. The station was shut down Tuesday morning as a cost cutting measure by the city.

Outside the station, flags were flying at half staff to mark the somber occasion. Inside, firemen spent the morning packing up their gear and saying goodbye to the old firehouse. 

Clarence Darden is a mechanic who has worked in the neighborhood for 20 years.  His reaction to the closing is to the point.  

"It's not right," Darden said. "What is everybody else going to do around here when we have a medical emergency? The medics automatically come from there."  

Several Gulfport firefighters we talked to did not want to be interviewed on camera. Off camera, however, they expressed their concern for public safety now that station four is no longer operating.

Carl Necaise is also worried about safety. Last year, the home right next to his was struck by lightning. He believes station four's firefighters kept it from burning to the ground. 

"It could have been a lot more damage, probably three quarters or a completely damaged house rather than just half a house that was damaged, the quick response saved the house," Necaise said. 

The style of homes near the station is what concerns Chuck Myers, who has built several houses in the older neighborhood.

"These are houses that will go up in a hurry," Myers said. "These are wooden structures, they aren't brick."  

"Granted, maybe a mile away is a downtown fire station. But when you got one right here, they're in and out, boom." 

Some people we talked to also expressed concern the closing could lead to a higher fire rating in the neighborhood, which could mean higher insurance rates.

Joe Shoemaker with the state fire rating bureau told WLOX News that is a possibility. But Shoemaker said his agency is in the process of collecting information from the city about the closing before making any final determination about the fire rating.

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