New Fire Truck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Como Civic Club’s donation toward the Como Volunteer Fire Department’s purchase of a thermal imaging device was celebrated Saturday with a check passing from club members, including Sharon McConnell-Dickerson and Margie Best (second and third from left) to fire department volunteers Aron Coleman (left) and (from right) Don Gill and Fire Chief Randy Perkins. For the occasion, McConnell-Dickerson hosted a tasting for a chili recipe contest and raised over $600 for the club’s next project: buyi

Fire chiefs support Batesville fire truck

By John Howell Sr.

The Panola County Fire Chiefs Association has unanimously endorsed the use of approximately $270,000 in county funds for the Batesville Fire Department to purchase a new truck, according to Mayor Jerry Autrey and BFD Chief Tim Taylor.

Autrey told aldermen at their February 7 meeting that Panola County Board of Supervisors President Kelly Morris had sought the input from the county’s fire chiefs after the city had requested the money from the county for purchase of a fire engine for responses outside city limits. The city officials said that the Mississippi State Rating Bureau (MSRB) will require the Batesville Fire Department to replace during 2013 two 1991 fire engines now in service in order to maintain the city’s Class Six fire insurance rating and still answer fire calls outside city limits.

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“We need one for ourselves to keep our rating, but if we continue to go out in the county, we need two trucks to keep our rating,” the mayor said at the January 17 meeting of the mayor and aldermen.

In discussions at the January 17 and February 7 meeting, aldermen said they envisioned the city’s fire department’s role expanding outside city limits. Batesville has the only fire department with full-time paid firemen. The city officials noted that fire departments outside the city are staffed by volunteers, some of whom have paid jobs that are distant from the communities where they serve.

Chief Taylor has also said that employers have become increasingly reluctant to release during crucial work periods employees who serve as volunteer firefighters.

According to incident reports prepared by BFD Fire and Life Safety Officer Rip Copeland, the city fire department responded to 31 alarms during January, including 14 outside municipal limits. Of those, two were classified as structure fires, two were grass/brush fires, three were false or cancelled alarms, two were for medical assistance or rescue and two were classified as “other.”

Mayor Autrey said that he and two aldermen will continue meetings concerning the fire engine purchase with County Administrator Kelley Magee and Board of Supervisors President Kelly Morris.