Michael Myers’ letter of June 22 attacked Baton Rouge’s spending as being excessive in the construction of the new fire stations being built in the city of Baton Rouge. His letter was caustic and full of self-pity, including his “Taj Mahal” comments.
The station at Jefferson and Claycut is beautiful, as he stated. It is in a lovely, long-established neighborhood next to Westdale Middle School. That school and area are now well-protected by a fully functioning fire station with EMS as well. It is exactly where it should be by having access to many traffic arteries from that location.
The Sharp Road station is being built on city-owned property. Part of the old station was removed before construction began. After completion, the remainder of the old station will be demolished, and that portion will be paved as parking areas. Perhaps when Myers calculated the new station cost at $220 per square foot, he failed to figure in these other costs. The Sharp Road station still operates in the midst of all of the noise, dust and inconvenience.
On June 27, the new fire/EMS station No. 1 was dedicated at 3024 Florida Blvd. It replaces the 85-year-old station at Laurel and 19th streets and the EMS No. 6 on Acadian. I first visited that station in 1943, almost 67 years ago. I was 8 years old. I can say that this station and the others being replaced are well past their expiration dates. I have been to all 19 stations.
Our Baton Rouge firefighters are the best! The No. 1 rating for this city has been achieved by constant training, dedication and discipline, coupled with compassion and caring for others.
Each of the 19 city stations has three shifts of firefighters who take turns working 24-hour shifts. They pay for their own food and toiletries as well as their own vehicles and fuel to and from work.
Each station has hundreds of thousands of dollars in city-owned equipment, which the firefighters maintain. They are responsible for the cleanliness of each station as well as the lawn care.
Their meals, sleep and work details are interrupted by calls to scenes of horror and heartbreak that others can only imagine. They suffer from heat exhaustion in 100-degree-plus temperatures, lack of sleep and encounter injuries or loss of life on many of their calls.
Perhaps as Myers does his construction consultant job, he could come up with more “constructive” criticism for less-deserving projects. Hopefully, he will never have need of the Fire Department’s services. If he does, he will be treated with the utmost care and courtesy.
retired data processor