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County VFDs combine for lower ratings

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
The Pine Springs Volunteer Fire Department has verbally agreed to be annexed into the Bailey Volunteer Fire Department, which will improve the community's fire rating from a 10 to an 8 and require the county to fund another truck.
Lauderdale County Fire Coordinator Clarence Butler told supervisors Thursday he has been working to combine volunteer fire departments all over the county in order to lower fire ratings, which translates into lower insurance premiums for homeowners.
One problem may be getting volunteer firefighters to release "ownership" of their departments. District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said he could understand firefighters' not wanting to relinquish ownership of a station they helped build.
When members of the Shucktown community began organizing a volunteer fire department, they agreed to be annexed into the Bailey VFD District, so their station will become Bailey Station No. 2.
The group has raised funds quickly. Butler said they have signed a contract with J &J Construction to build the station, and he will be asking supervisors at their Monday meeting to go ahead and advertise for their truck.
He said he called several companies who make the trucks and found that prices are expected to increase by 5 percent or about $8,000 in January, so advertising and purchasing now would save money.
Supervisors previously approved purchasing two trucks this year, one for Shucktown and one for Collinsville, but now they must buy a third if Pine Springs is to join Bailey. For Pine Springs to be annexed, Butler said they are required to have a newer truck.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@meridianstar.com.