The Public Safety Committee of the Pine Bluff City Council on Wednesday recommended that a resolution naming Fire Station Six in the Dollarway area for a retired firefighter be approved by the full council when they meet Sept. 3.
Before the last council meeting Monday, a resolution naming the station for Capt. Norris Williams, who retired after 33 years of service, was pulled by its sponsor, Council Member Bruce Lockett, and sent to the Public Safety Committee, which is made up of Council members Win Trafford, Joni Alexander and Ivan Whitfield.
On Wednesday, Andrea Harrell, Williams’ daughter, said her father started at Station Six on Aug. 20, 1966, and finished it there on July 13, 1999, and also lived in the Dollarway area. She also said that currently, Station Six is not named.
In addition to Harrell, retired firefighters Jerry Garganeous and Dean James spoke, asking the committee to recommend that the station be named for Williams. Garganeous, who retired as a lieutenant, said he worked with Williams more than 30 years ago.
“He was Dew Dropper,” Garganeous said about Williams. “He was from that community and made a difference to guys like me who were just starting.”
James said Williams’ first priority when firefighters went to a scene was to “make sure no one was in there. When he came to work he made sure everything (firefighters needed to do their job) was on the truck.”
Trafford, who is chairman of the committee asked Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell about Williams and Howell said Williams was “ending his career as I was beginning mine.”
Howell said 60 percent of the current firefighters did not work with Williams during his career but said he had talked to “old timers” who had worked with Williams and they all supported the idea of naming the station for him.
He said, however, that there are currently no guidelines for naming city property and, going forward, he believes that some guidelines would be necessary.
Alexander and Whitfield both agreed with Alexander, saying that “we cannot justify not putting his name on the building. We did good with this guy.”
“If we’re not going to do this, it should have never gotten this far,” Whitfield said.
“There’s a lot to be said for co-workers who come and speak on behalf of this,” Trafford said. “I think when a fire station is named it needs to be someone involved with the department. It’s the right thing to do.”