Arkansas News

Friday, May 24, 2019

Disaster Declaration made for Crawford County

VIDEO: County Judge Dennis Gilstrap issued a Disaster Declaration for Crawford County Friday, ahead of possibly historic flooding. In Crawford County, there are about 26 miles of levee protection between Mt. Vista and Mays Branch near Clear Creek Park. The county expects the water levels to stay about 4 feet below the top of the levee. "We ask that you stay aware of the situation and please stay away from the levees and flood waters," a county press release read. Volunteer firefighters in nearby Kibler filled up sandbags. There are several homes in the area that are prone to flooding. You can get free sandbags outside the emergency manager's office on Chestnut Street in Van Buren. "You can come down here, get your sandbags," Tia Woodruff, Crawford County JP for District 8, said. "We're trying to help as much as we can." The Van Buren Police Department warned citizens about flooding on the Arkansas River. "This is a very dangerous situation and we ask that citizens please stay away from flooded areas," the department said in a news release.

Arkansas River Valley Fire Academy hosted at Arkansas Tech University campus

Firefighter trainees participated in the two-week Arkansas River Valley Fire Academy on the Arkansas Tech University campus. Hosted by the Arkansas Agriculture Department's Forestry Commission, the United States Forest Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the National Park Service, the academy was able to bring in 13 states to participate in the event. Courses taught at the academy are accredited by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). The academy includes courses such as basic forest firefighter training and dispatch and communication. Austin Heffington of Russellville participated in the academy in 2016 as a student liaison to assist with the planning of the academy and returned in 2019 to take a pumps course that otherwise he would have to take out-of-state. "Basically, this is a good local opportunity so we don't have to go to different states to build up classes," he said.
Courier News

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Jonesboro Fire Department needs two more stations to keep up with city growth

VIDEO: As homes and businesses continue to pop up around Jonesboro, the fire department is struggling to keep up with the growth. And if they don't find the money needed to expand, it may start affecting your wallet. It's all about the Jonesboro Fire Department's ISO rating. The Insurance Services Office rates departments on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best, 10 meaning no fire protection at all. Right now, Jonesboro is a Class 1. That means home and business owners in the city pay the cheapest amount when it comes to insurance. However, with so much growth on Hwy. 49 near NEA Baptist and Hwy. 49 South near Valley View, if the department can't come up with the money to add two more fire stations in the next couple of years, their Class 1 rating will be in jeopardy. "It's never been a question of if we need new fire stations and if we need new personnel, it's how do we pay for it," Fire Chief Kevin Miller said. "How do we meet that funding need, that's always been the issue."

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