With Cedar Lake Road/Popp's Ferry Road intersection becoming a hot bed for development, Biloxi leaders realize they need to improve fire protection in that area.
At a Tuesday Biloxi Rotary Club meeting, Mayor A.J. Holloway announced plans for a new Popp's Ferry fire station. It will replace a trailer that the city started using several years ago. Ever since then, rescue teams have worked and lived in less than pristine conditions. That ends in a little more than a year.
Joey Bosarge is on "A" shift with the Biloxi Fire Department. On Tuesday, he was in charge of the red beans boiling on the stove. His kitchen was in a trailer tucked next to a Biloxi water tower.
In that trailer, the men and women of station seven patiently waited for the next fire call. Brian McLeod has been with the fire department for three years.
"As long as we've got a roof over our heads, we're happy," he said.
Station seven is on Popp's Ferry Road in north Biloxi, right next to the city's vehicle maintenance shop. In fact, that garage is where station seven firefighters park their fire truck.
"When the rain falls, we've got a 75 foot to 100 foot run from our station to our truck. And the parking lot tends to pond up," laughed Bosarge. "That could be troublesome sometimes, get our feet wet before we get into the truck."
With Biloxi growing so much to the north, the city realizes better fire protection in that part of town is necessary. So, a new station seven is about to be built, just a few hundred feet from a bustling retail corridor at the Popp's Ferry Road/Cedar Lake Road intersection.
"In the summertime, when it's 98 degrees out here, this trailer can get a little warm. The same thing in the winter time, it can get cold," said Bosarge. "It's going to be nice to have some heat and AC."
Biloxi's mayor says the new station will give north Biloxi better fire protection from station seven, and the Margaret Sherry fire house a few miles away.
"We have to keep our rating," A.J. Holloway said. "And that's one of the things we have to do is meet, get those circles to meet."
Having fire stations in close proximity provides an added layer of protection for Biloxi residents. Replacing a trailer with a sturdy fire station adds a layer of comfort for station seven firefighters. Yet, Firefighter Bosarge, that's the least of his concerns.
"Just like Mr. McLeod said, we're here doing our job no matter what we're living in," he thought.
The new Biloxi fire station will cost about a million and a half dollars. Mayor Holloway said it should be built in about 15 months.