County fire officials are moving forward with plans to build a second Jacinto fire station as the county fire services aim to shore up “gray areas” of fire protection.
Other areas may see new fire stations, as well.
Deputy County Fire Coordinator Jackie Farr told the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors that the planned location for the new station is on the west side of County Road 400 just south of County Road 430. The land was donated.
The planned station would include space for landing an air ambulance and a couple of storm shelters for the community.
“That particular area in the county is what we refer to as a ‘gray area,’” said Farr. “It’s beyond 5 miles of the existing fire departments now. Once we get the station in place and get it in operation, we should pretty well take care of probably better than 90 percent of that gray area that the county currently has.”
County Fire Coordinator Ricky Gibens said other planned locations for new fire stations are at the intersection of Kendrick Road and Highway 350, Highway 2 southwest of Kossuth, County Road 500, and possibly in Rienzi south of the railroad.
The move to improve coverage follows a substantial funding increase for the VFDs in the county budget.
“We told you we would lower ratings and we have, and we still will,” said Gibens. “And, also, not just lower ratings but provide the citizens of Alcorn County a better coverage from the fire services, both medically and fire-related.”
Insurance ratings are down to as low as 5 and 6 among some of the county fire districts.
“That’s unheard of out in the rural communities,” said Gibens.
The board approved the expansion of the Jacinto fire district, which will go to 9.56 square miles. A loan will be pursued for the new construction, and it will be repaid through available funds.
In another item from Monday’s meeting affecting the Jacinto area, Farmington Mayor Dale Fortenberry, a new member of the board of directors of the Jacinto Foundation, reported on the foundation’s activities. He said cleanup of the area and repairs to the courthouse are in progress.
Some community members volunteered to paint and clean up the old country store. Tree trimming is planned for the outskirts of the property, and an old house will be removed. In the future, it may be replaced with an open-air pavilion, Fortenberry said.