LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Election day is nov. 6, but some people are already looking forward to the Dec. 8 election. That’s when voters will have the chance to decide if the Houston River Fire Department will get a new home.
The fire department has had its fair share of flooding and while it’s not as bad as it has been in the past, minor flooding is still an issue.
“I remember back in ’06 we had 3 1/2 feet of water in this building. We had water in it in 2015, 2016, March of ’16 and December of ’16 and then again January of ’17,” Fire Chief Dean Lappe said. “The rains we’ve had over the weekend, and today; we’ve got water again coming up through the floor of the building and coming into our truck bays.”
Flooding is just one of the reasons he said they need a new station, and another, to meet the needs of the growing community they serve.
“God forbid another hurricane come through the area. The fire department doesn’t have to leave, we can stay right here, hunker down, ride the storm out right here and be readily available to help our residents in time of tragedy like that,” Lappe said.
To meet those needs, Lappe said the station will need more manpower.
“Calcasieu Parish is growing the way this fire district is growing. We’re going to need full time folks, and the only way to really house full time people is they have to have living quarters, they have to have a kitchen to cook in,” he said.
While the bond on the December 8 ballot may seem costly, Lappe said a new station will beneficial for everyone.
“Station one, our main station, we’re looking at about $2.5 million dollars in construction for that building and about close to 700 or 800 thousand dollars for a two-bay substation west of here. If west of here gets that station, we’re going to have to purchase two new trucks to put in that station out there to provide the necessary protection. So, all total, we’re looking real close to $5 million,” Lappe said.
On Nov. 12, there will be a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. at the Houston River Baptist Church on the corner of Highway 27 and Houston River Road.