"It takes absolutely too long for first responders to respond to fires in municipalities like Mound Bayou. The problem is that municipality trucks cannot leave the city and if they do, they get in lots of trouble," said Billings.
He said he has been reiterating this matter to other supervisors for some time now but nothing is being done; therefore, he decided to being in someone who will reinforce his concern.
" I have spoken with the State Deputy Fire Coordinator at Mississippi Insurance Department Brad Smith and he has agreed to attend the board meeting on June 21. He will explain all of the specifics and shed more light on the situation," said Billings.
According to Billings, Smith is knowledgeable about this matter and he has agreed to attend the next scheduled board meeting.
"I mentioned the problem to him during Board of Supervisors Conference in Biloxi and he said that he knows how the situation can be remedied. He agreed to come at his own expense to enlighten members of the board. I asked him whether or not a county fire truck could be placed in Mound Bayou and he said this would be a highly suggested solution," said Billings.
Although Smith is set to attend the meeting, Bill Quinton, Emergency Management Director, said Smith is not qualified to make decisions such as this.
Deputy Fire Coordinators act as advisor to the Fire Chief or Officer-in-Charge when responding to fires, assist the Officer-in-Charge or Fire Chief at a fire scene by securing additional equipment as needed, ascertain if stand-by equipment is needed, and act as liaison officer to outside agencies while at fire scene.
This person also assist in the investigation of fires to determine cause and origin and prepare reports on fire investigations.
Deputy Fire Coordinators maintain records of investigations and determine the need for firefighting and fire prevention courses.
"Smith is going to make sure that we do not receive second hand information. We have to protect the entire county and not just Cleveland and surrounding areas. I just want a truck in Mound Bayou, I knew that it was going to be a lot of friction about this and that is why I invited Smith to come," said Billings.
"We are supposed to deal directly with Joe Phillips about situations such as this and not Mr. Quinton. Once we accept the gentleman's presentation, it is going to boil down to possibly three of the five board supervisors saying 'okay,'" he added.