Feb 052013

The fire station in the 1200 block of Arabella Street. (image via Google maps)

Residents served by the fire station on Arabella Street want more information about the upcoming cuts to staffing levels there and how that will impact the level of service they receive, they said at a neighborhood meeting Tuesday night.

The Arabella station is not closing, but it is losing a company of firefighters that operates a ladder truck out of the station, the New Orleans Fire Department announced in January. The move is part of a cost cutting plan that does not close any more stations but reduces the number of manpower overall.

Members of the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association said Tuesday night they have three main concerns. First, the neighborhood is home to a number of tall buildings that might need a ladder truck if a fire broke out, from Children’s Hospital and other institutions to the commercial storefronts on Magazine Street and even a number of home. Second, the neighborhood is tucked down so close to the river that it can be difficult to get there from even other parts of Uptown, raising concerns that response times will increase dramatically.

“We’re pretty isolated because we’re in this little funny bend,” said board member Marilyn Feldmeier.

Finally, the residents also worry that the changes may have some lead to increases on their homeowners’ insurance premiums.

After a brief discussion, the board asked Feldmeier to draft a letter to city officials outlining those concerns, and also planned to get a representative from the fire department to discuss the changes at the association’s March meeting. NOPD Commander Paul Noel is also scheduled to speak in March, and the board said the two public-safety topics would work well in one night.

The board also touched on a number of other topics during its meeting Tuesday. To read our live coverage, see below.

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