East Iberville fire station replacing paid first responders with volunteers

PAM BOESCH Correspondent

ST. GABRIEL - The City of St. Gabriel is being forced to shuffle its resources around and hopes a new deal with help protect its residents.

Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso is replacing city-paid first responders with volunteer firefighters and first responders at the East Iberville Fire Station on Highway 30 in St. Gabriel.

Parish officials say the city-paid workers have not been following correct protocols at the fire house.

The fire station and equipment belong to the parish.

“The city is not in the fire fighting business,” said Lionel Johnson, Mayor of St. Gabriel.  “We need to make other arrangements.”

Residents of St. Gabriel have complained that their area is not completely covered by ambulance service and that sometimes they have to wait 45 minutes or longer to get an ambulance in from Baton Rouge or Gonzales.

“I would not contradict that statement,” Johnson said. “We are not going to put any part if this city or its people at risk.”

Johnson said he will meet with the parish officials and try to work around any new changes. He wants Acadian Ambulance to increase services around the clock in St. Gabriel.

The city workers who are currently working out of the parish firehouse will likely be laid off or sent to other departments.