City cuts ribbon, unveils new fire station

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Vicksburg residents and officials got their first view of the city’s new fire station during a ribbon cutting and open house program Tuesday.

“It looks good, better than the hole we had,” Lee Griffin, a retired fire department captain, said with a laugh as he stood in the open bay of the 6,500-square-foot Independence 3 station on Berryman Road. “I worked at all the stations but 5 and 2.”

“This one’s bigger than the one down (U.S.) 61 (south) said Donnell Wince, another retired firefighter. “There’s a lot of room in here.”

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“I can put a lot of equipment in here,” Griffin added. “It looks real good; it’s a fine station.

“It’s big move. They’ve got better equipment and better training.”

“We came in the lower level,” Wince said. “Our first fire was at the old Wise Hotel.”

“We’re smoke fighters; we ate a lot of smoke,” Griffin.

“It took us three years before we got training.”

“This new station replaces an older station and enhances our fire, rescue and EMS,” Fire Chief Craig Danczyk told a crowd of about 50 people standing the station’s open bay.

“Whether it is emergency medical, motor vehicle collision or a working fire, the Vicksburg Fire Department is ready to respond.”

He outlined the decision involved naming the station, saying the first Independence station was named July 4, 1856, and the second July 4, 1867. When it came to the new station, he said, the decision was easy.

“This station will serve the public for many years to come,” he said.

“We consider today the first day of a game changer, because not only of this fire station, but there are some other developments we’re going to do that are going to change the direction of this city,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “Change the direction of this city in terms of economic development and protection as it relates to the services of this city.”

He called the fire station “a small token” to the firefighters for what they do for the city. “This is a game-changer because of its location,” Flaggs said.

“It didn’t come easy, it came with some opposition, but we (the Board of Mayor and Aldermen) knew that this was the site to be, because we had already talked the fire marshal, we had already talked to everybody. This location will create an opportunity to a quick fire response or a quick location on I-20.”

He hinted the city may be looking at building another station on the future after completion of the sports complex.

And is the station enough of an incentive for Griffin to rejoin the service?

“No, but if I were young, I would do it. It’s good satisfying job. When you save somebody or help somebody or an animal. We were getting a lot of cats out of trees.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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