Consensus reached on closing Fire Station #1

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 25, 2004

The proposal to close Fire Station #1 met with little resistance at Tuesday’s Selma City Council workshop, though President George Evans’ suggestion of a public hearing first drew some heavy criticism.

Part of Mayor James Perkins Jr.’s budget reduction plan, the closing of the #1 Station would help fully stock the rest of the city’s stations without reducing the ability of the department to cover the city.

Because of overlapping coverage, #1 could be closed without affecting the city’s insurance fire rating Chief Henry Allen and Perkins said.

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The firefighters and equipment would be transferred to other stations and #1 would be changed to a training facility.

The budget cuts would come from cutting


in overtime for the city’s firefighters.

By fully staffing the remaining houses, Perkins estimates a substantial cut in overtime.

Also, the city temporarily cut three slots from the fire budget last year, Perkins recommends permanently cutting those slots.

The #1 building is a historic firehouse complete with a brass sliding pole, but Allen says

it won’t go to waste.

“This firehouse is going to become the training center dormitory, we’re not disturbing anything in there,” he said.

Evans expressed an interest in a public hearing on the issue before the city moves forward based on citizens concerns about the change.

Evans’ suggestion drew some criticism from Janie Venter, whose ward is served by the firehouse.

However, Perkins said he has no problem with the hearing.

“I’m all for the public hearing,” Perkins said. “The key issue is the rating would not be affected (by the move).”