Jones marking 32 years with Vicksburg Fire Department

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 31, 2023

Captain James Jones of the Vicksburg Fire Department has almost 32 years of service under his belt.

Previously he did survey work as a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A long time ago I used to pass by (the fire station). I used to see the young men out there sitting on the step, washing their vehicle and going to a fire calls,” Jones said. “I always thought of that as something I would like to do.”

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Jones saw an ad in the paper and decided to put in an application. However, he didn’t pass the physical exam on his first try.

“The first time I tried out, I didn’t make the run,” he said. “It was something that I thought that, ‘Hey, I could just go out there on the track field and do it,’ and I didn’t make it.”

After failing the physical exam, Jones said he got to training. He was allowed to take the test again and passed.

Jones spoke about the kind of mentality it takes to succeed in the firefighting field.

“One thing that’s important about it, is you actually have to care about people. You have to care about people’s property. At a house fire, we could go in there and it could be a fire that probably wouldn’t take as much water as someone might use if they didn’t care about (the victim’s) property,” Jones said. “If you don’t care about their property, you could go in there and put water in three or four rooms and destroy that stuff.”

Jones said he definitely recommends a firefighting career path for young people figuring out what they want to do with their lives.

“I drive a school bus part-time, and I’ll tell the young men and women about firefighting,” he said. “And I will say it’s strange, the women now seem now to be more interested than the guys.”

Jones also said that job security was an attractive incentive for him to apply.

“I knew I had a job that I could count on and could have for 25 years if I wanted; if I do the right thing. And (the job) also has good insurance, great medical and very good benefits,” he said.

Jones added that he plans to retire in 2024 after 33 years of service.