By LaBetha Casey
DeSoto Parish Fire District #2, Station #3 in Gloster, held a come and go open house on Saturday, April, 29, 2023, which started at noon and lasted until 2 pm. Dist #2 firefighters were on hand to greet guests, to show firetrucks and equipment, and to grill hot dogs and hamburgers. A bouncy house and bean bag toss was available for the children to have a fun play time, and goody bags and fire hats were handed out.
Fire Chief, Timmy McInnis, has been employed with Fire Dist #2 for 17 years and became fire chief in February. He stated, “We wanted to have an open house to show appreciation to the residents.” In the March, 2023 election, a tax renewal and increase from 8 mills to 11 mills was passed for their fire district. Though money from the Haynesville shale provided money to help with more equipment, including putting an ambulance in Keatchie with the help of DeSoto Parish EMS, McInnis hopes to purchase new equipment and add more firefighters. At present he is the only full-time paid staff. Future plans include rebuilding the Gloster station with a training facility.
Their primary station is located in Keatchie, Station #2 is in Shiloh, and Station #3 is in Gloster. Twenty part-time paid firefighters are scheduled among the 3 stations, having four on duty per 24-hour shift. They respond to approximately 500 calls per year.
One recent call was for the train derailment near Keatchie which had a chemical leak, and a number of nearby residents were evacuated. McInnis stated that he was on the scene for 3-4 days. Residents have been concerned about the safety of their water supply since then. According to McInnis, Union Pacific Railway contracted having all of the contaminated dirt dug out and removed from the site, and are continuing to test and monitor the area.
One thing missing from Fire District #2 is volunteer firefighters, so brochures were on hand at the open house to recruit volunteers. So, if you have some extra time on your hands and would be committed to helping your neighbor in their time of need, you may stop by one of the fire stations or contact them at 318-933-8799 for an application. They will provide the necessary training.