- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SCOTT, La. (AP) - For years, the city of Scott has had to make do with a lack of fire hydrants, unpaid volunteer firefighters and a nonexistent fire inspector. That won’t be the case for much longer.

The City Council last week approved plans to upgrade water lines in the downtown area, give incentive pay to volunteer firefighters and hire the city’s first fire inspector, The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1cx0Tu8).

Scott Fire Chief Chad Sonnier said that by replacing 9,000 feet of old and undersized water lines, the Fire Department will be able to install 15 fire hydrants downtown.

The water pressure in the old lines is too low to sustain fire hydrants, forcing firefighters to rely on large portable water tanks.

“We would bring the tanker in and dump it, leave the scene, fill up and come back,” Sonnier said. The improvements will allow firefighters to stay on the scene, the chief said.

The state awarded Scott a grant in March of up to $467,600 to upgrade the lines.

Sonnier said the city will hire a part-time fire inspector to start work on July 1.

Scott currently relies on the State Fire Marshal’s Office to conduct inspections, which often means longer wait times for businesses to undergo the routine.

“Our inspector can go in and do an inspection so that business can open up quicker,” Sonnier said.

The city also plans to use $50,000 to $75,000 as incentives for its 32 volunteer firefighters. Currently they do not receive money for their time or gasoline.

The city will continue to employ six paid, part-time firefighters.

Sonnier said the city’s fire rating could improve from a “weak three” to a “strong three” on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst.

Improvements to the fire ratings can lead to lower homeowner’s and property insurance costs.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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