Cedar-Popp's fire station to be dedicated Saturday
"Some people may be worried about the weather," Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich says of the Saturday morning dedication of the city's new fire station at Cedar-Popp's, "but, let me tell you, it's going to be inside, and this station can hold half of Keesler field."
The city on Saturday at 10 a.m. will formally dedicate a $4 million, 13,000-square-foot, battalion-size fire station and fire training facility on Popp's Ferry Road just east of Cedar Lake. The public ceremony will be followed by tours of the station and nearby training facility. Free hamburgers, hot dogs and soft drinks will be served afterward.
The station, known as Station 7, will be a command station to serve areas north of the Bay of Biloxi. Fire Chief Joe Boney said the station will typically be staffed by as many as eight firefighters, along with a battalion chief. The station will have three engine bays, including room for a 75-foot ladder truck now housed at Station 6 at the Margaret Sherry Library. The battalion chief is moving his office from Station 9 at Eagle Point, and the fire department's training operations also will be moved to the new station.
"This new station will be an impressive presence," Gilich said. "It makes a huge statement about this city's investment in public safety, especially north of the Bay.
"We want to thank Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, which worked with us on the financing for this $4 million station. This station has been a long time coming. The city first talked about it in 1999, 20 years ago, and we're pleased to be able to make it happen."
The station, which will be home to the city's first-ever fire training facility, will be second in size only to the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, where the fire department administration is housed. The department also plans to stage heavy rescue and swift-water rescue equipment at the station, which is near the I-10 exit at Cedar Lake Road.
"Mayor Gilich and the City Council recognized the case we made for constructing this larger station," Boney said. "This area north of the Bay is in the geographic center of the city. It's an area that has seen significant demographic changes in recent years. We've seen new medical facilities, new retirement facilities, new apartment complexes, new businesses and new subdivisions. We now have a huge high school, a huge junior high school and an elementary school in this station's run. None of these things were there when the city planned the current smaller station years ago.
Added Boney: "The mayor and council recognized these things, and this new station means we'll have the firefighters and the assets where they need to be so we can respond appropriately."
The city weeks ago also opened Station 10, on old Highway 67 just east of Cedar Lake Road. The new station is expected to dramatically decrease response times in the East Woolmarket area. Currently, according to Assistant Fire Chief Mark Dronet, the fire department has a four-minute-and-36-second average response time citywide, but the response time for Station 8 on Woolmarket Road is a minute higher, and three minutes higher when assisting in calls outside the city limits.
"A minute or even three minutes may not sound like a great deal of time," Boney said, "but a fire can double in size in three minutes, and, of course, every minute counts when responding to medical calls, which account for two-thirds of our calls."
(Source: City of Biloxi)