New Wood Avenue fire station opens

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Natchez &8212; In January, after more than 50 years at the center of Adams County&8217;s firefighting action, Fire Station No. 4 was torn down to make way for a new Liberty Road interchange.

But on Monday, firefighters got to see the silver lining of that move. On that afternoon, the city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Station No. 4, now located on Wood Avenue.

According to Fire Chief Paul Johnson the station, still unfurnished as of Monday, should be ready for business by early next week.

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That can&8217;t come soon enough for the firefighters who will be stationed at Station No. 4 in the future.

The old station at Liberty Road and Seargent S. Prentiss Drive was showing signs of wear, from cracked tiles to aging restrooms, before it was demolished.

But that&8217;s the only reason firefighters will be anxious to move in. &8220;The main thing is, we&8217;ll have a lot more room here, and a lot more privacy,&8221; Firefighter Lucas Smith said.

That&8217;s especially true considered where the several firefighters of Station No. 4 have spent the year so far &8212; the Central Station on Main Street, which already had its own contingent of firefighters.

New facilities, still smelling of a fresh coat of paint Monday, aren&8217;t the only features of the new Station No. 4.

The station will also be home to all of the department&8217;s hazardous materials equipment, which must be kept in a climate-controlled environment, Johnson said.

&8220;We got $100,000 worth of hazmat equipment through a grant, all with no match,&8221; he said, noting the grant was from the Emergency Management Agency.

And more than 80 percent of the department&8217;s firefighters have undergone advanced hazmat training.

In addition, the station will be home to one fire truck and a rescue unit.

Officials who spoke at Monday&8217;s ceremony noted that without the Mississippi Department of Transportation paying for the move, the new station couldn&8217;t have become a reality.

&8220;If you need money, Butch will find a way to do it,&8221; said Alderman James &8220;Rickey&8221; Gray, who heads the Board of Aldermen&8217;s Fire Committee.

Gray was referring to Larry L. &8220;Butch&8221; Brown, a former Natchez mayor now serving as executive director of MDOT.