Joint effort fire protection for rural area - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Joint effort fire protection for rural area

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

It's been this way for a while. The Lake Charles Fire Department helps out the Grand Lake Fire Department in the area cut off by the intracoastal waterway. 

The fire hydrants in the Deatonville area have been out of commission for many years, but residents shouldn't be concerned. The fire departments in both Grand Lake and Lake Charles have each others' backs in case one of the pontoon bridges is out of service.

But this partnership comes with even more benefits to the departments and to the residents.

The fire hydrants in Deatonville are tagged with a yellow ring to let firefighters know not to pump from them due to the low water pressure.

"It would be more catastrophic and time wasting to hook up and realize you're not going to get enough water to do the job," said LCFD Chief Keith Murray. 

Murray said the firefighters won't use a hydrant if it pumps out less than 500 gallons per minute. The 10 or 12 hydrants in Deatonville don't make the grade.

"In rural areas like that, we send tankers which are very large trucks that carry a large quantity of water. And all of the trucks, both from Lake Charles and Grand Lake, are all tankers that go there," he said.

With Deatonville just on the other side of the intracoastal waterway, getting fire protection for this area was difficult, according to Murray, because the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana said residents have to live within a 7-mile radius of a fire station in order to receive protection.

"The problem is that the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana does now acknowledge pontoon bridges and there's one at each end, so those people in Deatonville actually live on an island," Murray said.

But the Grand Lake Fire Department is within a 7-mile radius on both pontoons, so the LCFD and GLFD partners up, responds to fires together in the area and helps out when the pontoon bridges are down.

"I can tell you, it doesn't hurt us. When we arrive, since we're outside the city and we're bringing tankers anyway, we don't lose any time," Murray said.

So those 10 to 12 fire hydrants in Deatonville, even though they are unused, will serve as a last resort. 

All the property taxes from the impact area are given to the City of Lake Charles by the parish to pay for fire protection. That total is budgeted at $1,604,825.01. 

Also, residents in Ward Three Fire Protection District No. 2 should be paying an insurance rate based on fire protection rate four. But if not, Murray said to bring in a copy of the statement to the Lake Charles fire station and he can help get it fixed to the proper rate. 

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