La. gumbo festival helps fund new fire station
President Josh Falgoust said he hopes the new station will allow the department to maintain its Class 5 rating
By Bridget Mire
The Houma Courier
CHACKBAY, La. — The Chackbay Volunteer Fire Department's newest station near the Sugar Ridge neighborhood is helping the department keep up with the times.
Located at 103 Moonflower Drive along La. 20, the 3,690-square-foot building cost $827,360. It's paid for with a $45 parcel fee and proceeds from the Louisiana Gumbo Festival.
President Josh Falgoust said he hopes the new station will allow the department to maintain its Class 5 rating with the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana.
The association ranks departments on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best, based on factors such as response times, training, equipment and station locations. A better rating can mean lower insurance premiums for homeowners.
Chackbay's other two stations are located near Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church on La. 304 and Nocko's convenience store on La. 20.
"When we got rated last time with the Property Insurance Association, they told us that we needed another station this way," Falgoust said. "They draw a map, and they look at the distances from each station. Everything pretty much past Cascade Drive was out of our response range for the fire station by the church. The more houses outside your response area, that affects your rating. It doesn't matter where you live. If we're not covering a certain part of the community, then everybody's insurance goes up."
The new building includes a classroom, fitness room and office.
It has 14-foot doors, whereas the other stations can only fit trucks about 9 feet tall. When trucks start at the new station, they set off a gas monitor and an exhaust fan -- features the old stations lack.
Thomassie Construction and Gossen-Holloway-Cortez architectural firm, both based in Thibodaux, worked on the project.
Falgoust said the other stations will remain in use, but trainings and meetings will now take place at the new building. Previously, they were held in another station's truck bay.
A few changes and additions are needed, but the station is up and running.
The department is waiting on gym equipment to arrive.
"One of the biggest killers of firefighters, professional and volunteer, is heart disease," Falgoust said. "There's a big push to keep people in shape. A firefighter that can't climb a ladder or pull a hose isn't much good to us, so it's to keep people trained and in good shape so they can do the job that we ask them to do."
The gym should also help with response times, he said, because firefighters will already be at the station if a call comes in.
"We're also hoping it's a recruiting tool," he said. "People pay a lot of money to join gyms. Come put in some hours with the fire department and you've got your own."
Anyone interested in becoming a member can visit the new station about 6:30 p.m. on Mondays or message the department on Facebook.
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