Gulfport Uncertain About Future Of Damaged Fire Station - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Uncertain About Future Of Damaged Fire Station

Gulfport built fire station number seven in 2000. At the time, it was a sparkling new fire house with plenty of amenties for its rescue crews.

Katrina brought the state of the art facility to its knees.

Charles Horvath wasn't there that day. But he's stationed there now. Horvath admits he's not your typical Gulfport firefighter.

"I like to clean the kitchen at night, whether it needs it or not," he laughed.

He likes to clean, period. If you pull into station seven's parking lot when C shift isn't on a call, there's a chance Horvath will get somebody to wash your car.

"We're just working with what we have," he said, explaining that he liked helping out people who helped others during and after the storm.

What station seven has these days is a post Katrina hangover that won't go away. Sobering pictures from the middle of the hurricane are saved on the station house computer. They help you understand why firefighters must live in a temporary trailer along Cowan Road.

"We don't have the Taj Mahal's brand new station seven anymore," Horvath said. "But you know what, that trailer ain't that bad."

According to Chief Pat Sullivan, the crews stationed at seven better get used to the temporary accommodations.

"The amount of destruction to that station, we're going to have to rebuild it from the ground up," the chief said.

And that's where questions begin to flare up. For instance, should station seven be rebuilt on the same piece of land where Katrina washed right through it?

If the answer is yes, should the city make it larger, so aerial trucks can park here?

If the answer is no, where should station seven be rebuilt? And what other stations must be moved to make sure the city has adequate fire protection on both sides of the railroad tracks?

"It's not going to be a quick answer to any of those questions," Sullvan said. "We hope sooner rather than later. But, it's not going to be quick, no."

What does Charles Horvath think the best answers are to those questions?

"That's for the big boys to worry about," he said. "My job is simple. I have to come to work and be prepared to work."

For much of his work day, Horvath is in the temporary trailer. He's not complaining, because the firefighter is doing something he loves.

"We've got a shower, so we've got everything we need," he said. "I don't care what they do. They can put a tent up. That's how I feel about it."

by Brad Kessie

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