Fire Rating in Bay St Louis at risk

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Right now, Bay St. Louis has a Class 5 fire rating, considered above average for a city the size of Bay St Louis. City leaders now find themselves scrambling to keep that rating from going up.

Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre said, "They came in, and they did their evaluation. And they found some deficiencies, if you will. The deficiencies that they identified as being any sort of major deficiencies had to do with the annexed area that we have."

That area off of Highway 603 is known as Shoreline Park. The report cited inadequate water supply in the area, as well as too few fire hydrants. And there's no fire station in the area.

When that area was annexed in 2006, the fire rating bureau gave the city five years to address those issues.

Mayor Favre said, "Unfortunately when the rating folks came down for their evaluation, they were not waiting 'til the end of the five year period. They included it in their evaluation for now."

Mayor Favre says the county's water district is currently addressing the water supply issues, and the funding is already in place to build two new fire stations.

"We've already taken bids on building fire station number one, and we're almost finished with the design on fire station number two in the East Hancock area," said Favre.

Fire Chief Fred Butts says the report noted the department had improved the communication system, but the city will need to buy a ladder truck.

Butts said, "With the number of three story building that are being built in the city with the apartment projects and so on, we're going to have to have an aerial device that's going to be one of the requirements."

Chief Butts and the mayor say they are confident they can make the required improvements before the next fire bureau evaluation in five years.

Mayor Favre is optimistic that once the upgrades are complete, the city could end up with a lower fire rating, which would translate into lower fire insurance costs.