November 25, 2009 Edition

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WRFD opens substation #3

Firefighter Dennis Kincaid with the Walnut Ridge Fire Department checks out hoses on the fire truck in the newly remodeled substation on East Main.
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The citizens of Walnut Ridge now have three fully manned fire stations to protect and serve them. The city's fire station on East Main has been remodeled and is now open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, according to Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Alan Haskins.

The old Fireman's Hall had to be demolished in February of 2008, with the fire truck bay area left standing to provide the fire department with a substation on the east side of the railroad tracks.

The substation has been remodeled and houses a fully equipped rescue truck as well as a fire truck. The living quarters include a sleeping area, an updated kitchen, bathroom and a living area for firefighters. The ground on the east side of the building where the old Fireman's Hall stood has been leveled and prepared for landscaping in the spring, complete with a place designated for a flowerbed and shrubs.

"This substation gives the city better coverage with men on both sides of the tracks, as well as at the station near the airport," Haskins said. WRFD's main station, station No. 1, is located on Highway 67B North, the No. 2 station is located near the airport, and the one on Main Street is station No. 3.

Three second-year students from the Black River Technical College Fire Training School will man the airport station. The city will pay their tuition for the school year as reimbursement for their work. The students are also on the fire department's roster of volunteer firemen.

"Having three stations will give the city better coverage and will assist us in the process of getting the city's ISO rating lowered," Haskins said. "A lower rating will benefit our citizens, businesses and industries by lowering insurance costs for fire protection."

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