Posted March 5, 2021:
Extreme caution should be used if conducting any open burning, Louisburg Fire Chief Gerald Rittinghouse says. Conditions are extremely dry, and fires can get out of hand in a matter of minutes. While Miami County is not currently in a burn ban, Chief Rittinghouse encourages those who have plans to burn this weekend or the next few weeks to hold off until the area receives significant rainfall. The chief says some recent fires were rekindled during strong winds. Residents who want to burn should be looking at weather forecasts for several days ahead. As a reminder, a burn permit is required for residents who live outside of the city limits and are located in Rural Fire District #1. The link to the permit can be found below. You must call the Miami County Sheriff’s Office at 913-294-4444, option 4, before conducting any burn.
Burn permits are available online and are required for residents living outside the city limits and located in Rural Fire District #1. Burn permits are valid for 6 months, either January-June or July-December. A county resident is allowed unlimited burns during that time but must call 913-294-4444 Option 4 before each burn. There are additional regulations that are detailed in the permit form. Completed permits may be returned to City Hall or emailed to the address on the form. Forms are also available at City Hall. City residents do not need a permit but burning is only allowed on Fridays and Saturdays. No permit number will be issued. Please do not call the Louisburg Fire Department before burning. You must call the Miami County Sheriff’s Office at the above number each time you plan to burn.
For other non-emergency inquiries or to arrange a tour of the fire station for your organization, contact the fire department at 913-837-4700.
ISO rating improves
Residents in and around Louisburg may see their insurance premiums drop a bit after Louisburg Fire Chief Gerald Rittinghouse presented good news to the City Council at its June 1, 2020, meeting.
Chief Rittinghouse told the Council the ISO rating for the City of Louisburg and Fire District No. 1 has been lowered to an ISO fire rating of 3 due to improvements and updated safety standards implemented at the station. An ISO fire rating is issued by the Insurance Services Office and is based on how well equipped a fire department is in putting out structure fires.
“There are only 10 percent of fire departments in the state that meet this requirement,” Rittinghouse said. An ISO Class 3 rating is very difficult for a volunteer unit to achieve, he said, and is a great testament to the work the volunteers put into the department.
Rittinghouse compiled the information for the review. The review includes proof of training, proof of new equipment and proven response times.
“We’re usually out the door in four to five minutes and usually have 10 volunteers on a call,” the chief said. The new rating only relates to structure fires.
He said other factors that contribute to a positive ISO rating are the tests conducted on all hydrants by the department, all hydrant locations are available via GPS and the department has a secondary communication method with dispatch. Other factors include the department working with the Marais des Cygnes Public Utility Authority, the city’s water plant, to verify water pressure, testing of hydrants and the PUA’s day-to-day routine all benefits the ratings changes
Insurance companies that provide homeowner insurance use this number when setting premiums. A lower ISO number can result in a drop in premium cost. Rittinghouse said the new ISO rating goes into effect Sept. 1, 2020. The city moved from an ISO rating of 4 to 3. Some areas in the rural fire district moved from 9 to a 6 rating. The highest ISO rating is a 10.
“This rating drop will result in a bit of a savings on insurance if you are in the classification area,” Rittinghouse said. He suggested that homeowners contact their insurance company in August if they haven’t been notified of a change to their premium. He said savings residents can depend on the type of insurance they and their insurance company.
Commercial businesses will also benefit from the new ISO rating and they may see a significant savings in insurance premiums, he said.
An ISO rating can be reviewed every five years. Rittinghouse said the last review for the Louisburg station was about 10 years ago.
“This was an entire department effort. It is based on each volunteer’s certifications, training hours, education and number of calls made,” the chief said.
The fire chief is the only paid employee on the fire department staff. All others are volunteers. There is a five-person command staff with an additional 15 volunteers.
The entire ISO review process takes about 7 months. This includes collecting reports and data and then working with the ISO review process.
Rittinghouse said the department is still working with the county sheriff’s office to improve communications between dispatch and the Louisburg fire department which could further lower the ISO rating in the future.
History of the Louisburg Fire Department
(as gathered and shared by local historian Fred Barnes and information compiled by the Louisburg Historical Society and printed in the “Celebrating Louisburg 1868-2018” magazine published for the City’s Sesquecentennial.)
The first efforts of a Louisburg fire department occurred March 15, 1895, when Jesse Williams was asked to build a hook and ladder fire truck for the city, according to news reports in the Louisburg Herald.
The Louisburg Herald reported a fire destroyed City Hall and burned all records Nov. 18, 1909. Damages were estimated at $3,000. The entire block, located on the west side of Broadway between Amity and S. First St., was destroyed.
In 1917, the City purchased a fire truck and put W.T. Breckenridge in charge of the truck.
On Dec. 4, 1919, according to The Herald, Mayor Tronjo appointed R. Henry Reed as Fire Chief. The engine will be housed in the Reed garage and the following are the crew: W. T. Breckenridge, E. J. McGuirk, H. Earl Young, W. A. Stephenson, George Tronjo, J. M. McClusky and Henry Reed.
In 1924 the community had its first fire station. It was in the former City power plant just south of the current Fox Hall near Broadway & S. Second Street and next door to the police station.
In 1925 several businesses were destroyed by fire on the east side of Broadway in downtown. Damages were estimated at $50,000.
In the 1980s the fire station moved to Amity Street located in the north end of the NAPA Auto Parts building. In 1990, a new station was built at 209 S. Metcalf Road. The current station at 205 S. Metcalf was built in 2006 to house larger fire equipment, with a storm shelter located in the basement, while the old station was refurbished as the police station.
By 2020 the fire crew still remains largely a volunteer crew with a full-time fire chief. The station houses city-owned fire equipment, including an aerial truck purchased in 2016, and equipment for Rural Fire District #1.
County emergency alert: Everbridge
County residents may sign up for emergency alerts for situations like weather, traffic or other incidents through Everbridge, Miami County's emergency notification service. Sign up for Everbridge on the Miami County page on that website at: https://bit.ly/2Xw1XJT. Residents may also text MICOALERTS to 88777 to opt in. You will receive a reply with a link to follow to create an account.