BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It's been 19 long years in a trailer for the firefighters of Biloxi's Station 7.
Later this month, however, they will begin moving into their new $4.1 million station on Popp’s Ferry Road to put an end of that journey.
“This parcel of land was purchased by the city with the fire station in mind when we annexed Woolmarket,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney explained Wednesday, “but we’re just now getting around to building the station, and we’re very excited about it.
“We’re looking forward to getting them into a real fire station.”
Besides being home to six to eight firefighters, a ladder truck and a pumper, and the hub for Battalion 2, the facility includes a training facility for firefighters that has been an even longer time coming.
“We have a training facility for the first time in our history, our hundred-and-something-year history, we have a dedicated training classroom for the fire department,” Boney said.
There is also a three-story, state-of-the-art training tower that will allow firefighters to train on multiple skills.
“It will meet a lot of our requirements,” Boney said. “We can use this facility to do live fire training, we can do confined space rescue training, we can do high angle rescue training, we can do ladder truck rescue training, ladder truck firefighting.”
Because the training tower is built of Conex boxes, the cost was only $250,000, saving the city about $350,000.
It will also bring the department to the forefront in firefighting techniques.
“It doesn’t only allow us to train, it allows us to do research and that’s big for us,” Boney said. “To be able to research new firefighting techniques, do they work, do they not work for us. The type of equipment we use, does it work, does it not work for us. This will open up a whole new level for us as far as training and being equipped and prepared to do our job.”
The training classroom will also serve as the city’s Emergency Operations Center for hurricanes and other disasters. The station will have all the communication and other equipment needed for those situations.
“It was designed and built to withstand hurricanes,” Boney said.
Boney said he hopes to get the keys to the station as soon as next week and they will begin moving in as soon as possible.
Chief Boney invites everyone to come out and tour the facility during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 11.