Posted: Jul 1, 2014 5:30 PM by Alexa Vogue
Updated: Jul 1, 2014 6:17 PM
BATON ROUGE - Parish officials said a recent move to combine six fire subdistricts into one overall district will save money.
Parish President Riley Berthelot says the consolidation started July 1, but is far from done.
"The whole, parish-wide... You're probably looking at a five year plan to get it right," he told News 2.
Many residents in West Baton Rouge Parish are supportive of the idea.
"I think the parish president has done a wonderful job bringing this together," said WBR resident Horace Taylor.
Fire Chief Charles Stephens said the consolidation will not affect the physical location of the stations, or firefighters' response time. Many residents are still concerned about home insurance rates, but Stephens said any changes are still three to five years away.
"They'll have to come out and evaluate the parish completely as a new district," Stephens said. "For the people in those communities, we want to make sure that they're keeping what they have and if at all possible we want to try and get the best ratings as we possibly can throughout the parish."
Another concern is job security for the firefighters.
"No one is losing their job," Berthelot said.
What will change is the way money is handled and who heads the department. Fire Chief Charles Stephens will head all six departments instead of each department having their own chief. And starting Tuesday, the department will combine the money from all six departments and appropriate it out accordingly.