When a fire breaks out, every second counts. That's what is worrying some Henderson Point residents these days. Katrina destroyed the community's only volunteer fire station. This week the Harrison County Board of Supervisors voted to start the bidding process for a new Henderson Point fire station. Bringing back that fire district will take more than just erecting a building, they must also find enough volunteers.
Neighbors say had it not been for Pass Christian firefighters, the fire at a Henderson Point home would have been a lot worse.
"We had a fire right down the street just recently and if it hadn't been for the city, that house would have burned down," Sharon Sofford said.
The new larger fire station planned for Henderson Point could open by early next year. But Harrison County Fire Marshal George Mixon doesn't know if there will be enough people to run it.
"What we need is about 18 to 20 volunteers in this community. But we had 530 homes destroyed in Henderson Point, and right now we probably have less than two dozen homes, if that many, in the community," Mixon said.
Mixon says many of Henderson Point's former volunteer firefighters don't plan on moving back. Mixon hopes the two or three still in the neighborhood can recruit reinforcements.
For now, the Cuevas and Delisle Volunteer Fire Departments are on standby, but the Pass Christian Fire Department is the first responder.
"It's a difference between having a fire truck here in five minutes or having a fire truck here in 15 to 20 minutes. That's a big difference," Mixon said.
For people starting over again after Katrina, those minutes could make all the difference.
"It's very important to homeowners to have that capability that in case you have a fire, to have them close," homeowner Jay Trishe said.
Closer fire protection will give returning homeowners some piece of mind as they rebuild Henderson Point.
When the Henderson Point station is rebuilt, George Mixon says it will help lower insurance costs for homeowners. The county will start taking bids on the new fire station next month.