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Mount Pleasant losing six firefighters, won’t cover Titus County after October

MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas (KETK) – The Mount Pleasant Fire Department recently took to social media to share some coming changes with Titus County’s fire protection.

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“Apparently, there are many people who are unaware of the situation that has developed in regard to providing fire protection in the county,” the department said on Facebook.

Mount Pleasant Fire Department has covered the Titus County area for many years, but recent votes on the county’s commissioners court have changed that.

The city and county had reportedly agreed to a 10-year fire protection plan in December of 2022. That plan would pay the city $1.3 million a year for two years and then they would re-negotiate payment every year for the last eight years.

That deal is now set to end later this year after the commissioners court voted 3-2 to execute a clause to end the fire protection plan at their meeting on Sept. 25, 2023. According to Mount Pleasant FD, the court would continue to negotiate with them to come to a new deal while also working on making a new county fire department.

“We’re tired of paying that kind of money and it just went up and up so we decided to put in our own fire department,” Titus County Precinct 2 Commissioner Joe D. Mitchell said.

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Mount Pleasant offered the county $980,000 for the first year with a 3.5% increase for the following nine years but that deal was rejected by a 3-2 vote in the court’s Dec. 11, 2023 meeting.

Later in that same meeting, the court again voted 3 to 2 for terminating negotiations with Mount Pleasant for a fire protection contract, commissioners court meeting minutes show.

Mount Pleasant said that now they will no longer be operating outside of the city limits after Oct. 1 of this year.

“Most counties rely on their volunteer fire departments,” said Mitchell.

On top of the county’s volunteer fire departments, the court has already started work on the new county fire department. Mitchell said that people shouldn’t be scared of the changes that Mount Pleasant FD talked about.

Mount Pleasant Fire Department Chief Larry McRae still thinks that it would be better if they could keep covering the county.

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“The city has provided fire protection to the county for the 50 years that I’ve been in the department and I think the county would be better served if that continued,” said Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Larry McRae.

<em>Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Larry McRae has been with the department since 1984. Photo courtesy of the City of Mount Pleasant.</em>
Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Larry McRae has been with the department since 1984. Photo courtesy of the City of Mount Pleasant.

In their Jan. 22 special meeting, the commissioners court considered requests for hiring a consultant to help start the new Titus County Fire Department. In a 3 to 1 vote, they accepted a $56,000 proposal from Fire Chief Solutions.

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According to the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, losing the county’s fire protection contract will also affect their ability to protect the city since they’ll have to eliminate six positions from the department. They added that their on-duty firefighters will not be able to respond to any mutual aid calls from the county.

Mount Pleasant FD also claimed that the county has not provided information about the budget or level of service a new county fire department will be able to provide.

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