City leaders break ground on new Venetian Isles firehouse - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City leaders break ground on new Venetian Isles firehouse

New Orleans, La. -

Another piece of Katrina recovery is finally coming to fruition.

City leaders and fire officials broke ground Wednesday morning on a new firehouse in Venetian Isles.  Katrina's storm surge destroyed the old Alba Street fire station.

"It's a feeling of security, and all these years we haven't had a firehouse," said Venetian Isles resident Linda Giroir.

"We still gave the same amount of service that we normally would, except we did it out of trailers and out of a warehouse," said Chief Charles Parent.

"We're not building back the way we were," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We're building back better than before.

The 7,800-sq. foot, $3.6 million facility was paid for mostly by FEMA.  It will house two trucks and five firefighters per shift.

Neighbors in Venetian Isles felt there was protection before, but they are surrounded by scars of what an intense fire can do.  Some houses burned and the owners have still not repaired them.

"When the fire crews moved further down the highway we became more desperate than before," said Marguerite Guarino.  "A lot of neighbors swim out here and my concern... it was no way to reach someone in an emergency if someone drowned."

Most neighbors say having the firefighters in their subdivision is like having family around.

"We see them out cutting grass and running and they'll come if there's an older person who has fallen and help them," Nancy Bell said.

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