Two new fire stations are in the works for Biloxi north of the Bay and are expected to enhance fire protection, especially in the east Woolmarket area.
The first station to begin construction will be Station 7, on city property on Popp's Ferry Road, east of Cedar Lake Road. The station will be a new battalion-size operation, meaning it will be larger than a typical Biloxi fire station. It will replace a mobile home firefighters have operated out of for years and will serve as the city's emergency operations center.
The station is expected to cost about $3 million and could be complete as early as the fourth quarter of 2018.
The new Woolmarket station, on old Highway 67 just east of Cedar Lake Road, is expected to dramatically increase response times in the east Woolmarket area. Currently, according to Assistant Fire Chief Mark Dronet, the fire department has a four-minute-and-36-second average response time citywide, but the response time for Station 8 on Woolmarket Road is a minute higher, and three minutes higher when assisting in calls outside the city limits.
"A minute or even three minutes may not sound like a great deal of time," said Fire Chief Joe Boney, "but a fire can double in size in three minutes, and, of course, every minute counts when responding to medical calls, which account for two-thirds of our calls."
The three-acre Woolmarket site, where the station is expected to cost about $1.4 million and be completed in early 2019, also will have room for a public park to be constructed near the station.