City no longer to fight county fires
AGREEMENT – If the Meridian City Council votes today to rescind a firefighting agreement with Lauderdale County, this fire engine at Station 5 on Highway 39 near Marion will not be able to respond to fires in the county. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 6, 2002
Lauderdale County residents would no longer receive assistance from city firefighters if Meridian City Council members rescind a city-county firefighting agreement today.
Council members said the move would protect the city's fire rating and residents' low insurance rates. Currently, the city's fire rating would be jeopardized if a home burns down in the county.
The current firefighting agreement was passed in 1986 and states that city firefighters can respond to a fire in the county if their assistance is needed. The county is served by 22 volunteer fire departments.
Some city and county officials, though, say the firefighting agreement hasn't been used at all during the past few years.
Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors and the District 3 supervisor, agreed.
One thing that would change by rescinding the firefighting agreement is the fire rating of county residents who live near the city limits.
Meridian and areas near the city limits have a Class 4 rating, while areas in the county have Class 8 to Class 10 ratings. The lower ratings mean lower insurance premiums for homeowners.
Partridge said state law allows subdivisions with approved fire hydrants within 5 miles of the city limits to enjoy the same fire class rating as the city.
Partridge said today's vote to rescind firefighting agreements will not affect rescue calls. He said his department will still respond to emergency calls and car accidents if needed.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith said the elimination of the firefighting agreement is long overdue.
Smith said it has never seemed fair to him that a person living in the county could benefit from living near the city limits.