BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As Biloxi’s newest asset inches closer to a ribbon cutting, Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney says the building’s on time and within budget completion, will happen by October.
“This is really going to be beneficial to the fire department and to the citizens up there,” said Chief Boney. “The roof was completed last week. We expect the garage doors and all to be here in the next couple of weeks. So, we’re going to finish closing that building in.”
The chief said construction is on-time, which is great news for those residents north of the river near Cedar Lake. Currently, there isn’t a way for fire trucks to drive over the bridge on Cedar Lake Road.
“Station seven would have to go all the way to the interstate in D’Iberville, come down new 67 and then come down old 67," Boney said.
According to Chief Boney, this causes an unacceptable response time for his teams. The usual response time is four to five minutes throughout the rest of the city, but calls in this area are topping out at nearly twelve minutes in some extreme cases.
“When a life is in danger or a property is at risk, that three, four, five, six minutes makes a big difference," Boney told WLOX.
With the addition of this station comes the question of staffing. Chief Boney said that he will not redistribute staff from other stations to this new location.
“This station will be, we will add nine new firefighters," said Boney. "We were fortunate enough to receive another federal grant to allow us to hire nine new firefighters.”
Notwithstanding the fact that this addition will ease the burden carried by the city when responding to calls in this area, it will offer a financial reprieve for the residents and businesses in the area.
As far as your fire insurance, you have to be so many miles from the nearest fire station," Boney said. "This will allow a lot of people in Northeast Biloxi to be able to access the lower insurance ratings that the rest of Biloxi is enjoying at this time.”