Poor fire rating causes safety concerns

Monday, July 30, 2012 - 10:17pm

It was hot and it was stuffy, but that didn't stop dozens from coming out in Alsen, upset about the community's fire rating.

"When I go to sleep at night, my children, my father, we have no fire protection," said Moses Evan, Jr., who lives in Alsen.

Alsen's fire rating was scored at a ten -- the worst possible score -- driving up insurance premiums in the area and leaving many people questioning whether the town has any fire protection at all.

"We deserve better. We need help from government to protect and immediately restore safety and protection the community deserves," Evans said.

Senator Sharon Weston Broome said the blame for the poor protection falls squarely on local government, namely the Metro Council and their representative in Alsen.

"This could've been resolved if leadership would've stepped up to the plate and done what was needed," said State Senator Sharon Weston Broome.

Alsen's fire chief Ronald Hives couldn't make the meeting, but said that he inherited the problems with the department. He said he's confident the rating will improve, if only they can get more volunteers to sign up.

But residents who pay taxes and now face increasing insurance costs, are just fed up.

"We're faced with rates doubling," Evans said. "Most people here are elderly on a fixed income. I'm emotional and upset about it."

The fire chief said there are no full-time firefighters in Alsen. They depend on 20 contract firefighters to respond from neighboring areas in case of fire.

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