OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Drive along Blackjack Road in Oktibbeha County and there’s a chance you’ll run across construction crews and cement trucks. For fire services coordinator Kirk Rosenhan growth also causes concern.
“Apartments are going up everywhere. We’ve got 2 stories, 3 stories, some 4 story apartments coming. Quite a complex operation. Streets and utilities are important, but of course i’m looking at the fire protection,” said Rosenhan.
That’s because none of Oktibbeha County’s Volunteer Fire Department trucks have ladders. The county currently has a mutual agreement with the city if the situation calls for backup. But Rosenhan doesn’t want to take any chances.
“We did have a multiple fatality fire in this general area last year. Very unusual, right in the middle of the day in a residential setting. We’ve had several apartment fires in the last several years, including 2 major ones. We have a significant life hazard over and above the fact that these are multi-stories,” said Rosenhan.
Companies, like Alfa Insurance, say they prepare for these scenarios long before residents move in.
” Before the structure’s even built, we have our underwriting put in place to account for those types of things. We know what the fire departments are rated for the equipment that they have and Alfa Insurance is going to be well aware of those things before the structure even starts. We set the rate based on that. Whether it be commercial or residential,” said Alfa Insurance Agent Chris Ballard.
Rosenhan says despite their concern, he knows progress is being made.
“The County is well aware of what’s going on out here. The supervisors have been up-to-date. There are plans afoot and already in the stages of planning. The infrastructure over and above fire protection is very important,” said Rosenhan.
Rosenhan says the department’s working with the county on obtaining ladder trucks. They’re also strengthening their water supply to accommodate for Oktibbeha County’s growing population.