Troy Fire Chief: Fire station no storm shelter
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Messenger Associate Editor
Residents of Troy, listen up! Your fire chief has a message for you.
“When a tornado warning is issued and 911 sets off the siren, that it not a siren to tell you to get in your car and drive to the fire station,” he said.
Fire Chief Mark Watson said there were about 75 people who showed up at the fire station during the recent tornado warning. “It is not a certified storm shelter,” he said, adding should the top of the building be demolished, there would be no ventilation in the basement.
In fact, when the National Weather Service issues a warning for this county, Watson said residents should take immediate cover. He added he remembers news reports from people who said they heard the warning and then, immediately, their houses started to tear apart.
“When the warning is issued, it is time to take immediate cover in your house. I would like to emphasize that,” Watson said.
“I think some people are confused and they think they are suppose to come to the fire station,” he said, adding if Troy residents are unsure where the safest place would be in their home to call the department and he will have someone visit and make recommendations.
Mayor Jimmie Hart said in that situation everyone is really on their own and shouldn’t depend on the firefighters, police officers or their neighbors. “It’s up to you to take care of yourself,” he said.
He added the town’s outdoor sirens are exactly that — for warning people who are outdoors. He said they are not meant to be heard by people who are in their homes, especially those who are in their beds asleep.
Hart strongly suggested residents invest a small amount in a battery-operated weather radio, which will sound when warnings are issued for the county.
Watson also stated for those people who think a vehicle is a safe place to be in such a storm, he invites them to look at photographs of the cars in the parking lots at Union University in Jackson.
Watson said a recent Internet search showed an F2 tornado ripped through downtown Troy on March 26, 1949, destroying nearly every building downtown and causing $250,000 in damage, which was mainly from rainwater pouring into houses which had no roofs.
Hart added the recent tornado in Jackson came within a one-quarter mile distance of another tornado which had hit Jackson a few years ago.
In other business, the board:
• Received a clean audit report from the accounting firm of John R. Reese. The town has combined net assets of almost $7.5 million, it was noted.
“The Town of Troy is in very good shape. We have about 10 municipalities and Troy is sitting at the top,” said Eric Spencer. “Cheryl (Cranford) does a good job with the books and the records.”
• Agreed to allow a yard sale to be held at City Park April 5 to raise money for the Priscilla (Muse) Ray Scholarship Fund.
• Voted no longer to allow roadblocks in the city.
• Learned Hart has two bids for street signs and is awaiting a third. He has also spoken with several people about installation.
The board also agreed to get prices on decorative signs for the square.
• Heard a park bench was donated to the city by an anonymous donor in memory of Jewell Dodson. Gene Robertson also donated two benches for the parks and is repairing two others, which had been at Trojan Park.
• Was informed the mowing specs will be ready by the next meeting and may be picked up at City Hall by those wishing to submit a bid.
• Learned two applications have been submitted for the parks director’s position. One person is from Dyersburg; the other is from Dresden.
• Heard Brett Kirk has earned the status of state-certified firefighter class 1.
• Learned the fire department’s main repeater and a new mobile data unit were hit by lightning in a recent thunderstorm.
• Heard from Hart he had spoken to Watson about new firefighters and the need for them to be physically capable of doing the job, especially since the town takes on the liability. Watson said firefighting is a dangerous job and the physical stress placed on the body is tremendous. He said heart attacks suffered after getting back from fires is one of the largest killers of firefighters.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.19.08