Latimer residents one step closer to lower fire insurance rates

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Folks in Latimer are one step closer to getting cheaper fire insurance and more fire coverage.

Fire officials said right now the community has the worst fire rating possible, a 10. To improve that rating, Jackson County supervisors approved a plan which will combine the manpower of St. Martin fire stations with Latimer.

Jackson County supervisors had no problem giving their okay for St. Martin and Latimer Fire grading districts to team up.

"Nobody is going to complain about saving money, particularly in this day in time," County Fire Manager Ray Watson said.

Watson said Latimer's fire rating is a 10 and St. Martin's is better at a seven. He hopes the two districts working together will boost response time, lower Latimer's fire rating, and fire insurance costs for residents.

"It is going to be a 35 to 45 percent, and most of that it is going to be $500, $600, $700 or more based on the type of house they are in."

Watson said under the new plan, there will still be two districts in West Jackson County. But the three fire stations located in St. Martin and Latimer will work together and be supervised by one person in order to cover more neighborhoods.

"In order to expand the St. Martin grading district, we had to reduce Latimer fire grading district; we reduce them by about 16 square miles," Watson said. "The main reason for doing it that way is that St. Martin Fire District has fire hydrants and a water system."

Watson does point out that the state has to give its okay before any changes take place.

"If this can happen before Christmas, it certainly will be a wonderful thing to finish off the year with less costs," Latimer citizen Donna Dulude said.

Folks in Latimer said just the thought of saving a few dollars is enough reason for them to say yes to the plan.

"With these tough economic times, anything that will help and also give you better coverage, who wouldn't be for that?" Latimer citizen Karen Taliancich asked.

Jackson County Fire Manager Ray Watson said he hopes to have the fire district plan approved by the state before the end of the year.

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