Recently, in some rural areas of our Fire District, homeowners are experiencing annual insurance rate increases ranging from $350 to $1,800. Our residents are being told by some insurance companies they have “no fire protection” because they are more than 5 road miles from a fire station. Approximately 500 homeowners of the 35,000 we protect have been, will be or could be affected by these insurance industry policy changes.
When the Insurance Services Office (ISO) evaluated rural portions of our Fire District in 2004, they were an unbiased organization, separate from the insurance industry. ISO assigned a “Fire Protection Class” 7 rating to our rural areas of our Fire District. The ratings were based on water supply, fire apparatus, equipment, stations, manpower and much more. We worked hard for that rating so our residents could enjoy reduced homeowners rates.
On March 3, 2010, six years later, ISO, now owned by insurance companies, suddenly changed our rural Fire Protection Class to a 7/10 so that any home more than 5 road miles from a fire station is automatically a Fire Protection Class 10. Insurance companies who use ISO’s rating system to determine homeowners insurance rates (most do) consider this rating the most severe risk and therefore charge the highest premium. Since that time, insurance companies have been significantly increasing rates in the affected rural areas.
Since receiving notification of the changes, we have been working diligently with ISO to help our homeowners. We have complied with every request from ISO, such as providing with written automatic and mutual aid agreements drafted with other Fire Districts. These agreements mean that the 7 rating (less expensive) applies if the home is within 5 miles of any fire station, not just ours. We have also attempted to affect policy changes, by proving to ISO their “5 mile rule” does not exist in the National Fire Protection Association standards they use to evaluate our Fire District. However, ISO and the insurance industry refuse to acknowledge this and insist on making their own rules without providing satisfactory evidence to support it.
Since 2004 we have made numerous positive changes to further improve our District’s Fire Protection Class rating. To tell our residents they have “no fire protection” and their insurance rates will be doubled is beyond ridiculous, in our opinion. Our residents do have fire protection. Good fire protection. Half a mile makes very little difference. There are homes in town that nearly burn to the ground, yet rural homes that we are able to save after a 15 minute response time. It all depends on the situation.
Moving forward, the only resolution for our homeowners is to have fire stations in these two to three rural areas of the District. ISO defines a fire station as a building that can house a fire engine, protect it from the elements (snow, rain, freezing temperatures), and that the Fire District has 24 hour access to. This means many enclosed residential outbuildings would meet the minimum requirements and qualify the surrounding 5 miles for the reduced rates. If you have a space and may be interested in allowing us to house a fire truck, please contact Mike Cherry, Fire Chief at 636-528-8567.
The highly affected areas are mostly in the extreme Southwest, Southeast and Northwest portions of our Fire District. A Fire District map can be found on our website at http://www.lincolncountyfire.org
In addition, the rating letters from ISO can be found on our website. The original from 2004 showing a Fire Protection Class 7 for all rural areas and another identical letter (even with the 2004 date) received by us on 3/3/10 showing the only change being a 7/10 rating. Note the fax date on the 2nd letter.
2/27/13, the Lincoln County Firefighter’s Foundation donated $750 to the Bread for Life Food Pantry. This money was raised during a recent food drive held by the Foundation.
LiveSafe is a home fire safety campaign designed by Lincoln County Fire Protection District #1. The project, in its beginning stages, focuses on identification of local fire causes and contributing factors, development of related safety messages and effective delivery of those messages to targeted audiences. The goal of the project is to reduce the number of home fires in the District which currently stands at an average of 70 fires per year.
Statistics show the vast majority of Lincoln County fires are caused by an unsafe action by the occupant or a failure to follow basic fire safety rules including proper maintenance of home systems, specifically appliances.
Historically, fire prevention programs focus the majority of educational messages on children or on nationally based campaigns. Local fire causes and factors however, may not necessarily align with broad national strategies. Children’s fire safety education will remain absolutely critical to the project’s success, but there are many other groups that need fire safety education. These groups, identified based on local fire statistics include elderly persons, smokers, single parents, tenants, homeowners and those on fixed/low incomes. The LiveSafe project will focus specifically on these groups, using effective means to reach them.
One component of the LiveSafe project is free Home Fire Safety Reviews for District residents. When a resident requests a review, a trained Fire Inspector will provide them with a graded Home Fire Safety Report showing strong points and areas of improvement. Residents are customers of the Fire District and will not be required to fix or repair any deficiencies found. The goal of this component is to help our residents keep their families safe. To schedule a Home Fire Safety Review, visit us on the web at www.lincolncountyfire.org or call us at 636-528-8567.
Many additional components are planned and will be added to the program in the future.
Jan. 14, 2013, 11:24 P.M. Lincoln County Firefighters were dispatched to the 1000 block of Old Cap Au Gris in Troy, MO for a reported structure fire. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the eaves of the home. The homeowner told firefighters of a fire in the basement.
After rescuing a dog from the home, Firefighters entered through the front door and proceeded to the basement. While firefighters were in the basement, fire extended through a bathroom floor and quickly engulfed the living room and front door, blocking one of their escape routes. The flashover also caused their hoseline to rupture and lose water pressure. Firefighters were ordered to evacuate the building and emerged from the basement into the kitchen with flames rolling over their heads. They quickly found an alternative exit through the rear door of the home and escaped unharmed.
A family of four were asleep in the home when the parents awoke to a smell of smoke in the home. On investigating the source, they found a fire in the basement of the home. A male occupant attempted to extinguish the fire with a bucket of water while his wife and two children escaped. The man was unsuccessful and evacuated the residence.
The cause of the fire is undetermined, but electrical factors cannot be ruled out. No one was injured. In all, approximately 30 firefighters responded to the scene. Additional units were called in due to the cold weather conditions. Mutual aid companies included Old Monroe, Winfield-Foley and Wentzville Fire Protection Districts.
On this date and during the last week, Lincoln County Fire was dispatched to five separate reported structure fires. Most of which caused almost no damage and were confined to furnaces and other appliances. The primary factor resulting in these smaller fires was a lack of appropriate care and maintenance of appliances. Furnace filters must be changed monthly, stovetops and ovens must be cleaned after each use and dryer vent exhaust should be disassembled and cleaned at least monthly or weekly if heavily used.
Gary and Marge Cockrum, owners of The Mercantile Outlet, held a holiday gift raffle for charity at their store location at 800 E. Cherry St. in Troy from Monday, November 19th through Monday, December 10, 2012.
The drawing was held on Monday, December 10th at 2pm with members of Lincoln County Fire Protection District #1 drawing names of the winners. First place was a mission-style wood server table valued at $249.99 won by Helen Maxfield. Second place was a 100% cotton kingsize quilt with 2 shams valued at $59.99 won by Bill Barnes. The third place prize was an oval metal ice bucket stand valued at $35.99 won by Becky Crossfield. All the raffle prizes were donated by the Mercantile Outlet.
Thank you to all who participated in the holiday raffle. The Mercantile Outlet raised $569 for the Lincoln County Firefighters Foundation Food & Toy Drive!
St. Louis, MO – Roy William Gunn was sentenced to 96 months in prison on charges involving the attempted arson of four different buildings in Elsberry, MO.
According to court documents, Gunn attempted to destroy the building at 309 South 3rd Street, which is owned by the City of Elsberry, on July 19, 2011; on August 30, 2011, the building at 306 South 3rd Street, also owned by the City of Elsberry; on August 31, 2011, Stu’s Countryside Convenience Store at 990 Missouri State Highway B; and on September 10, 2011, Spies Tax Service at 301 South Main Street.
Gunn, 32, Elsberry, MO, pled guilty October to two felony counts of damaging a property receiving federal financial assistance; and two felony counts of damaging or destroying a building used in interstate commerce, and appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry.
This case was investigated by the Missouri State Fire Marshals, Elsberry Fire Protection District, Elsberry Police Department, the Lincoln County Arson Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Dean Hoag handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Press release courtesy of Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.