NEW ORLEANS — It's been a year and a half since Hurricane Ida and a fire chief has been waiting on insurance and FEMA to try and rebuild two of his fire stations.
"We've had hurricanes come through but never anything this bad," Little Caillou Fire Department Chief Marty Thibodeaux said.
Firefighters in Chauvin lost two of their four Little Caillou Fire Dept. stations.
"One of them we actually had trucks housed it in. We had to dig the trucks out the next morning," Thibodeaux said.
Station 1 and station 4 were built in 1972 on Highway 56.
"They were both destroyed the same day go figure," Thibodeaux said.
It's been a waiting game for Thibodeaux who has been waiting a year and a half already to start the rebuilding process.
"The main thing is patience, just having patience to let it happen. I'm starting to run out of it because it’s a year and a half later," he said.
Last year he hired an attorney to push insurance companies to speed up payouts.
He's now seeing checks come in and was able to tear down what remained of the buildings two months ago.
"It took a while to do because we had to get permission from FEMA to do it," Thibodeaux said.
Just about a mile away from fire station 1, a temporary building is being installed this week. Thibodeaux said it will be a simple, metal building that will at least allow them to house two fire trucks in the area.
"We'll try to get some type of temporary housing for the firefighters that will stay there," he said.
Down the bayou near station 4, a hotel owner is letting firefighters stay there for free while on shift.
"They're able to keep the fire truck under a building out of the weather," Thibodeaux said.
That's helping with response time.
"It definitely hurt us a little, but we're lucky we have not had significant calls since then," Thibodeaux said.
He estimates station 1 will cost nearly $2 million to rebuild in a year or two. He estimates station 4 will cost around $300,000. He hopes to rebuild that one this year since it won't require FEMA assistance.
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