Officials work out emergency call protocol

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 20, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. — Following a disagreement involving a Sunday fire call, Ferriday’s fire and police chiefs will meet &uot;in the near future&uot; to figure out how they will work together on future calls, Fire Chief Hermon Smith confirmed Friday.

The dispute between Police Chief Eddie Newman and Smith happened on Sunday afternoon after Ferriday firefighters were called to a fire at Concordia Apartments on Kyle Road.

The Ferriday Fire Department was called to the fire at around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a written statement Smith read to Ferriday aldermen during a special meeting held Wednesday afternoon.

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As Smith was driving to the fire, he heard Newman on the radio asking a police dispatcher to call Concordia Fire District No. 2 to assist at the fire, Smith wrote in his statement.

Smith said he then called to tell the dispatcher not to call any out-of-town fire departments until he had a chance to see whether they were needed. In his statement, Smith said that while he was pumping water from the fire truck, Newman started an argument with him in front of the apartments.

&uot;The police chief … said not to get on the radio like that again (because) if I&160;did he would arrest me,&uot;&160;Smith said.

In his statement, Smith said Newman has called out-of-town fire departments to all fires that have happened in Ferriday in the last year. Smith said Friday that he is not sure what prompted Newman to call Concordia Fire District No. 2 to the Concordia Apartments fire.

Nolen Cochran, chief of Concordia Fire District No. 2, said Friday that his department did not respond to the fire, instead referring the call back to the Ferriday Fire Department.

Newman would not comment on the incident or give The Natchez Democrat a copy of the statement he read to aldermen Wednesday.

&uot;It’s a personnel matter, so I can’t comment on it,&uot;&160;he said.

At Smith’s request, aldermen held a meeting Wednesday to hear both sides of the story and attempt to work out a resolution.

&uot;We felt it would be better for everyone to hear it from them than for each alderman to hear about it individually,&uot; said Alderman William Rucker. The meeting ended with Newman and Smith agreeing to &uot;work out a protocol&uot; for how they would work together on such emergency calls in the future, Rucker said.

When contacted Friday, Smith said that he and Newman have not yet set a time for that meeting but that he expects it to be held &uot;in the near future.&uot;

Smith would not comment further on the incident.