Cameron adds six firefighters to staff

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Six people were recently hired to serve as firefighters for Cameron Parish Fire District 10, something that one local official

said will improve response and service in Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach and lower fire insurance premiums.

Rhonda Morrison, the district’s secretary, said Tuesday that the six were chosen from a group of 18 applicants, and that three

are from Cameron. She said they will take part in a six-month certification program in Lake Charles, starting Aug. 1.

Once they are certified, Morrison said,

two firefighters will rotate working five days each week. One will work

out of the

Johnson Bayou station, and the other will work at the Holly Beach

station. She said the Holly Beach station will be modified

with nighttime sleeping quarters for both firefighters.

The district now has a Property Insurance Association of Louisiana fire rating of Class 6, according to Morrison. Fire districts

are graded on a scale of 1-10, with one being the best and 10 the worst.

Morrison said the district hopes to

lower its rating to a Class 3 or 4 once the firefighters are certified.

She said the district

has largely relied on volunteers to fight fires. There are about

20 volunteers on the district’s roster, with 10 of them being

active.

“Our volunteer response is very low because everyone has full-time jobs,” Morrison said. “It takes so many volunteers to make

one certified firefighter.”

The district starts at the Texas state

line and stretches east to the Cameron ferry and north to the Sabine

National Wildlife

Refuge. She said response can be an issue when only one of the two

fire stations is manned. The Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach

stations are “more than seven miles apart,” Morrison said.

“It will be nice to have that security to know someone can respond and at least control a fire until help arrives,” she said. “Our community supports this because they want the protection and the lower insurance rates.”

Morrison said the district still needs its volunteers to help out while the firefighters are being trained.

“It’s going to be hectic for the first six months,” she said. “Our volunteers still have to be very active and alert at all

times.”