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Bossier Parish Fire Districts 3, 5 poised to combine - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bossier Parish Fire Districts 3, 5 poised to combine

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IVAN, La. -

Anne Young and her husband set out to open Ivan Fire District 3 in 1988 after her home was damaged by a strategically-started fire got out of control. The insurance company cut her a check and dropped her because their 10 fire rating- the worst possible- was too big a liability.

"My husband's not here to hide his head, but he and his brother decided to burn down an old shed that their dad had built," Young said of the fire. "It was made of old cypress shingles and cypress wood. They let it get away from them."

After two and a half decades later, Young says the department can't stand on its own anymore. Work boots line the wall without the volunteers to fill them. Sometimes there are only three people available for calls. That's why they're asking a neighboring fire district to take over.

They already have a mutual aid agreement with District 5 and want them now to absorb 3's 85 square-mile coverage area.

"It'll allow us to get more equipment and more personnel for the citizens of Bossier Parish," Fire Dist. 5 Board Chairman Tommy Green said.

Both sides say this is a win-win. District 3 hasn't had any structure fires in the past two years. Both agencies have "4" ratings. Both departments are free of debt.

Residents, however, will see their yearly taxes go up.

District 3's millage is 10.27%. 5's is about 22%. Young says that increase would be less than $20 each year for her house. Anyone with a home value under $75,000 is exempt under the Homestead Act. Plus, Young says homeowners would see their fire insurance rise if the two departments don't combine.

Everyone's who has attended the public hearings so far has signed on.

In order to take their proposal to the police jury, organizers need to get 50% of voters plus one additional person to sign onto the petition. That would make 148 signatures. Young says organizers have more than 65 signatures and will go door-to-door get the remaining names needed.

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