Donation gives all Hattiesburg fire stations a safe shelter

Donation gives all Hattiesburg fire stations a safe shelter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - All first responders with the Hattiesburg Fire Department now have a safe place to ride out any severe weather that heads to the Pine Belt.

Torsel donated a new storm shelter to Station 1 on North Main Street Thursday Morning.

This comes a week after the company donated a shelter to Station 2, which was completely destroyed by the EF-3 tornado on January 21st.

Firefighters at that station immediately went out into the community after the storm passed.

"We had four fatalities, I'm shocked it wasn't more," said Fire Chief Paul Presley.  "This gives me a sense of relief and I'm sure them to, that they can be safe until the storm passes."

Station 1 was the last fire station in Hattiesburg that did not have a storm shelter on it's property.

Chief Presley said Thursday's donation now gives all first responders a safe place. The shelters can hold over 15 people.

"If they are not safe,  they can't go out and help other people," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree.  "I can't say enough for these first responders, they put their lives on the line.  The least we can do is make sure they are safe."

Torsel is located in Oklahoma, but has delivered storm shelters all over the southeast, most recently to Mississippi and Georgia after deadly tornadoes within a week of each other.

"We give back to the community, we are part of the community.  We are part of Mississippi so that's really important for us," said company spokesman Israel Martinez.  "It's important to send a message to the community about the importance of having a place to go."