Mississippi Residents Begin Own Department

Updated: 05-24-2006 04:19:06 PM

Courtesy of The Bolivar Commercial

Residents of Linn, Steiner and Roundaway will soon have added protection against fires. The newly formed LSR Volunteer Fire Department is expected to serve 200 families these communities.

"A few months ago we started talking about the need and that insurance has gotten so high," said Ralph Braswell, president of the LSR Volunteer Fire Department and resident of Steiner. "We went to try to get a group together and it has led to this."

Braswell explained that because these communities lie on the outskirts of Bolivar County, it is difficult for local fire districts to respond in a timely manner. The LSR Volunteer Fire Department will serve resident in a five mile radius of Steiner, therefore will be able to reach properties in minutes time. Braswell said that those few minutes can make a life or death difference.

"We are so far away from Cleveland, Indianola, Shaw and Ruleville that by the time they get here it is too late," said Braswell.

The LSR Volunteer Fire Department will also serve the communities financially. By incorporating a volunteer fire department, residents in the service area stand to save an exorbitant amount on their insurance costs.

Residents of the Linn, Steiner and Roundaway communities ages 21 to 50 are invited to attend the LSR Volunteer Fire Department's June 19 meeting to learn more on the department. Volunteers must participate in 40 days of training and an evaluation in Jackson in order to be certified by the Mississippi State Fire Academy.

Sunflower County has aided in the development of the LSR Volunteer Fire Department and recently donated a fire truck to the force. The newly formed department is currently drafting grant proposals to aid in funding and hopes the government will respond by October.

"I think that we will need a pumper and some sort first response vehicle," said Travis Cooper, secretary/treasurer and resident of Steiner.

Thirty-five members of the community neighborhood watch, led by President Judy Braswell, will be hosting a bake sale fundraiser on June 24 at the Wal-mart SuperCenter in Cleveland, in which all proceeds will be donated to the LSR Volunteer Fire Department. Wal-mart will also be making a donation to the force.

"Wal-mart has said that they would match whatever we made and that will go to the fire department," said Cooper.