By Hannah Caver, Staff Writer
CENTER POINT — Center Point Fire District displayed a shoe wall at the Alabama Butterbean Festival that was in tribute to the 91 individuals who lost their lives due to structure fires in Alabama this year.
“Now this is something that’s been going around for a while, but we’ve got this booth created,” Fire Chief Gene Coleman said. “Each pair of shoes represents somebody that’s died within the state of Alabama in a fire. Alabama is one of the leading states in the country in civilian fire deaths.”
Fire doesn’t know the difference between young or old, poor or rich, female or male, and the shoe wall displays different shoe types and sizes. October is also fire prevention month, but Center Point Fire District has been spreading fire prevention awareness year-round because they want to keep their community safe.
Coleman said anyone in the fire distric that doesn’t have a smoke detector, can call the fire department at (205) 853-5098 and they will bring you a free smoke detector and install it themselves. He said the goal is to make sure everyone is safe in the event of a fire.
“Fire departments in our area, provide smoke detectors for people at no charge, call our office for Center Point, Pinson, or Clay, and we will come in, and we’ll install them we’ll do a quickfire safety check,” Coleman said. “Hopefully, make sure that they’re safe if we can prevent any injury. That’s the whole goal.”
Coleman explained that maybe a smoke detector would have made a difference to any of these people represented on the wall, but he and the rest of the Center Point Fire District hope to be the difference that saves a life in their community.
Center Point Fire District is committed to preventing the loss of life from fire, and they remind the public to:
- Keep a beep where you sleep
- Close the door where you snore
- Have your address properly posted on the street
- Have a plan of where to meet outside if there’s a fire in your home
“Our number is 911 and we still make house calls,” Coleman added.
Center Point Fire District has also introduced a new fire truck, a 2021 Cyclone II custom-built Fire Pumper, into their fleet. There were many steps involved in the almost five-month-long process: researching, planning, designing, bidding, and construction that required many hours of meeting and decision making.
It’s going to serve the community for at least 10 to 15 years. It’s an advanced life support pumper, which means that it has paramedics on board and carries 750 gallons of water, pumps 1500 gallons a minute, and has a foam feature on it as well.
“It’s got a lot of safety features for us, lights, sirens, and things like that, but there’s a new system that communicates to some of the driving apps like Waze,” Coleman said. “As the fire truck approaches, it’s supposed to notify you, and it’ll say a fire truck is ahead of you or behind you.”
The new fire engine proudly reps the Pinson Valley High School logo, and Coleman said if you see the truck coming, “don’t fear the spear” because they’re there to help.
“It’s our job as firefighters and paramedics to hopefully reduce the number of fire deaths; if we don’t have to use [the fire truck], that’s the best thing in the world if can prevent fire,” Coleman said.
Center Point Fire District would like to thank those involved in making the arrival and commissioning of the new fire truck happen:
- Mayor Joe Cochran
- City Council of Pinson
- Council members Dawn Tanner, Brad Walker, Robbie Roberts, John Churchwell, and Glenda Kirkland
- County Commissioner Joe Knight
- State Representative Danny Garrett
- State Senator Shay Shelnutt
- Center Point Fire Board Members
- President Jody Harris, Vice President Sue Duke, Commissioner Robert Pritchett, Treasurer Dina Foster, and Secretary Eddie Dawson
- Center Point Fire District Apparatus Committee
- Fire Cheif Gene Coleman, Battalion Chief Al Tinney, Captain Chris Horn, Captain Craig Higginbotham, Captain Greg Busby, and Maintenance Technician Rusty Piersol
- Sunbelt Fire, Inc.
- Sales Associate Dwight Calloway and Wendell Harless
- E-One Emergency Vehicles and Rescue Trucks for constructing the 2021 Cyclone II custom-built Fire Pumper.
Center Point Fire District also presented a check to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama for $10,088 raised through their annual golf tournament held in memory of Ricky Davis, a Center Point Firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty.
In addition, Center Point Fire District offers CPR classes on the third Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. at their administrative office located at 2229 Center Point Parkway. The cost is $20 a person, and no pre-registration or sign-up is required. Contact Battalion Chief Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.