Vinton fire chief retires after 50 years of service - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Vinton fire chief retires after 50 years of service

KPLC-TV KPLC-TV
VINTON, LA (KPLC) -

The Town of Vinton's fire chief is retiring after 50 years of fighting fires and helping with rescues and traffic accidents. It didn't take long for Jerry Merchant to prove himself as a volunteer firefighter. In 1967, he helped fellow townspeople fight a fire at what was then known as Vinton Negro School.

"We had the fire knocked down and I was behind the building," said Merchant. "A piece of glass fell and it cut my arm open. Somebody went and got the chief and brought him around there. He told me, 'you joined the fire department this morning'." 

Merchant says he'll never forget a day in 1993 when a car full of naked members of a Texas church wrecked a car in town.

"After the car stopped, people started crawling out of it. This was a Grand Am. There were 20 people. No clothes."

Merchant says it's hard to watch people lose their children.

"Watching people in town, people you know, people on the interstate, Highway 90, people you don't know. They lose a child. It's terrible." 

Especially pleased that he was part of the effort to improve Vinton's fire rating, which lowered property insurance rates. 

The Town of Vinton has announced that Chris Vice, an assistant chief with the Vinton fire department, will be the new fire chief.

Copyright 2017 KPLC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Shop small this 'Small Business Saturday'

    Shop small this 'Small Business Saturday'

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 5:34 AM EST2017-11-22 10:34:50 GMT
    (Source: www.americanexpress.com)(Source: www.americanexpress.com)

    This Saturday, small businesses across the country will be opening their doors with deals for customers. It's part of Small Business Saturday – an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In the Bayou State, there are a total of 436,867 small businesses with a total of 910,366 employ...

    More >>

    This Saturday, small businesses across the country will be opening their doors with deals for customers. It's part of Small Business Saturday – an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In the Bayou State, there are a total of 436,867 small businesses with a total of 910,366 employ...

    More >>
  • WATCH LIVE 7NEWS SUNRISE: Teen violence

    WATCH LIVE 7NEWS SUNRISE: Teen violence

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 5:34 AM EST2017-11-22 10:34:42 GMT
    (Source: Raycom News Network)(Source: Raycom News Network)

    Good Morning. John Bridges and Britney Glaser with a look at what's coming up on 7News Sunrise.

    More >>

    Good Morning. John Bridges and Britney Glaser with a look at what's coming up on 7News Sunrise.

    More >>
  • DOTD and Sasol install traffic signal system to mitigate traffic woes

    DOTD and Sasol install traffic signal system to mitigate traffic woes

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 11:48 PM EST2017-11-22 04:48:21 GMT
    Source: Christian PiekosSource: Christian Piekos

    To attempt to quell commuter headaches in Westlake, D.O.T.D. and Sasol teamed up to implement a traffic signal system. This system is the first of its kind in Louisiana, it's called an "adaptive traffic signal system." "The system adjusts the traffic signal timings based on actual traffic demand and helps reduce the amount of congestion," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, DOTD secretary. "It enhances safety, reduces delays and shortens travel times for drivers..." ...

    More >>

    To attempt to quell commuter headaches in Westlake, D.O.T.D. and Sasol teamed up to implement a traffic signal system. This system is the first of its kind in Louisiana, it's called an "adaptive traffic signal system." "The system adjusts the traffic signal timings based on actual traffic demand and helps reduce the amount of congestion," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, DOTD secretary. "It enhances safety, reduces delays and shortens travel times for drivers..." ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly