History and Development of the Fire Stations

The following information describes time, dates, interesting facts and background of the Fire Stations and how, why, and who developed the Stations.

Around 1928

The first record of the Town of Mandeville having a designated “Fire Station” was around 1928. Mr. Bossie, Mr. Theophile “Dad” Prudhomme, Zachary Sharp, and others donated time, money and land to build a fire station for the newly acquired 1917 Model T Fire Truck purchased from the town of Covington. The small wooden Fire Station with two swing doors and an asbestos shingle roof was located at 2118 Monroe Street. The fire station was located near Sharp Motors and the alarm siren.

Mid 1930s

With a water tower was being installed behind the Town Hall at 1923 Jefferson Street along with water lines being installed throughout areas of Mandeville, the fire suppression response changed from a Model T Fire Apparatus to a Hose Cart. A two story wooden building at Jefferson Street and Carroll Street was the location of the second fire station. The fire station was approximately 20 feet wide and 35 feet long. The entrance to the fire station was along Jefferson Street. From the mid 1930s to 1947, the two story wooden building housed the first and second Hose Carts. The first cart was pulled by draft horses and the second cart, built on a Buick automotive chassis, was pulled by the town’s dump truck. The upstairs area was a living area occupied by a town employee, Mr. J.B. Joiner. Joiner served as a town worker during the day and the custodian of the fire station on nights, weekends, holidays, etc. In the 1930s, this area was considered the “Heart of Mandeville” and was the central business area. The fire station was located across the intersection from the Bell Telephone Office. The telephone office had a duty operator who manually transferred calls.

1947 to 1950

The fire station was moved to 2013 Jefferson Street in 1947. The fire station was a wood frame building with tin walls and a wooden truss roof covered with tin. The wooden swing doors opened toward Jefferson Street. The building was approximately 30 feet wide by 30 feet long and still stands today. The persons responsible for the construction of the building are unknown. The building was likely located on private property owned by the Smith family.

1950 to 1963

In 1950, the Fire Station was moved to a wood frame, tin building approximately 30 feet by 30 feet at 1920 Madison Street. The building had two double doors which opened to Madison Street. The building was owned by the town of Mandeville and was located in front of the old brick Jail House. The building has been renovated several times since 1963 and was used by the Water & Sewer Department for general storage. In May of 2007 the building was take down.

1963 to Present-Station 41

Station 41 around 1969
Station 41 1969
Fireman Frank Mooney
(First Paid Fireman)

The Fire Station (Station 41) located at 709 Girod Street was erected in 1962. The property was purchased from Mr. Preston Prieto for $2,200.00. Volunteers assembled on weekends and holidays to prepare the property for construction. Equipment borrowed from the Parish was located behind Eugene Esquinance’s home on 427 Lafitte Street in the Parish’s maintenance barn. Esquinance was a Police Jury member representing the Fourth Ward. Using the Parish’s dump truck, grader, and tractor, the volunteers would hand load the dump truck using shovels to bring fill dirt to the site of the new fire station. This procedure went on for months until the property was brought up to construction grade. Dirt was graded from roadway hills on Sharp Road and Lonesome Road.

William Berg, an Architect from Jefferson Parish, was hired to develop plans and served as the engineer for the original Fire Station at 709 Girod Street. The costs for his services and inspections were $425.00. At $9,318.15, Gill Brothers of Mandeville offered the lowest bid of the six contractors submitting bids. The original building made of concrete block was 35 feet by 50 feet. The Fire Station has a pre-cast concrete roof with three forward and one rear garage doors.

In 1969, an addition to the original building was built. The addition was used for a meeting room, bathrooms, office area, and kitchen. The construction style matched the original construction with concrete blocks and a pre-cast concrete roof. Lloyd Palliser, a local contractor, was the builder.

In 1982, the Fire Department was awarded a federal grant from the Coastal Energy Impact Program to add onto the Fire Station. Mr. Lynn R. Mitchell, A.I.A. and Clover Contractors built the addition. The addition included two rear apparatus bays, one side apparatus bay, offices along the north side, limited sleeping space, a workshop, and a generator room.

In 1993 a fourth addition to the original building was constructed. This addition included office space along the south side and a rear carport. Mr. Lynn R. Mitchell, A.I.A. and Zip Construction built the addition.

In 2000, a fifth construction project updated the building. A small workout gym and additional bathrooms were added. Piazza, A.I.A. Firm of Mandeville designed the building upgrade and it was built by Pellegrin Construction.

1967 to Present

Parking Lot across from Station 41

For many years, the Fire Department leased a parcel of land bound by Girod Street and General Pershing Street for additional parking. The land is directly across from Station 41. The first lease was with the Gulf-Mobile-New Orleans Railroad for $40.00 per year and later with the Illinois-Central Railroad. The property was purchased for $6,000.00 in August of 1977. In 2006, the City of Mandeville paved the parking lot with concrete.

Prior Parking Lot History

Before the Fire Department developed the property in the late 1960s, the property was the site of an abandoned wooden cattle pen. The cattle pen was made of 3″ by 12″ heavy timbers. Cattle were unloaded from the train through a wooden shoot and held in the area. The town also used the stock yard/pen to hold livestock found unattended within the town limits.

Late 1960s to 1974

Riverwood Fire Station

In the late 1960s through the early 1970s, the Riverwood and Covington Country Club Subdivisions petitioned the Fire District to build a Fire Station in their area for a quicker response. Due to limited funds, the Fire District came to an agreement with the Riverwood/Covington Country Club group. The agreement was that the fire department would build a second fire station in a geographically balanced location to protect several areas and not only two exclusive areas. Until the new station could be build, the fire district offered the group limited funds, training, an alarm system, support, and eventually a 1947 Fire Apparatus.

The Riverwood/Covington Country Club group obtained a used 1941 Fire Apparatus from the Michoud Assembly Facility in Eastern New Orleans. The Apparatus was first stored on Crapemyrtle Drive in the Riverwood Subdivision at Mr. McIntire’s residence. It was stored in his front yard with a canvas cover for over two years.

A local contractor from the Riverwood/Covington Country Club area offered to build a fire station at no charge for the Riverwood/Country Club group. A wood frame two bay fire station with a tin roof was constructed. The sub-station was erected on Marilyn Drive in Riverwood Subdivision near the Club House. The Station was used until 1975 when the Walter Smith Memorial Fire Station was opened. Mr. Robert Stanford of the Riverwood/Covington Country Club area was the manger of the sub-Station. The building was later used as a maintenance barn for the area and then dismantled.

1974 to Present-Station 42

Walter Smith, for whom the station is named, was a Police Jury member from 1968 to 1974. Fulfilling the wishes of Smith, Station 42 located at 3951 Highway 22 became a reality in 1975.

Today, the Parish operates as a single body with one budget headed by a Parish President and elected members overseeing specific areas within the Parish. However, in the early 1970s, the St. Tammany Parish Government was structured differently. In the 1970s, the Police Jury system was operated with one member from each Ward and each member had a separate budget. This form of government allowed the taxes collected in an area to maintain that area.

For several years Smith saved a portion of his area’s collected tax money and federal revenue shared money for general improvements and wished to build a combined fire station and polling booth. His wishes were only known by his wife, Nedra Smith.

The Smiths were very close friends with Mr. and Mrs. Malcom Stein of Madisonville. Mr. Stein was also a member of the Police Jury. The Smiths and Steins were returning home after attending a social function in Slidell in the Steins automobile when Mr. Smith suffered a massive heart attack. Smith was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

At the next monthly meeting of the Parish Police, Mrs. Smith was appointed to her husband post as Police Juror for the remainder of his term (less than a year). Mrs. Smith requested the assistance of Mr. Stein in fulfilling her husband’s wishes of a combined fire station and polling booth.

Mr. Stein and Mrs. Smith approached the Commissioners of the Fire District and unveiled the plan conceived by the late Walter Smith. Due to the limited time period of Mrs. Smith term as a Police Juror, the directions and plan was as follows:

  1. The money was immediately available.
  2. The fire station/polling booth had to be completed before Mrs. Smith’s term expired (less than a year).
  3. The August Perez, A.I.A. Firm, architect for the Parish, would draw up the plans. Starting next week if the Fire District is ready or not.
  4. The building must meet the architectural design of the Beau Chêne area. At the time, the design for the condominiums near the Beau Chêne Club House and other areas was an exterior design of 1″ by 12″ board and batten with cedar roof shingles.

The only question asked to of Fire Department officials was “How long is a Fire Truck?” Beau Chêne donated a parcel of land within three miles as required by PIAL.

In 1975, the fire station opened on schedule and at no charge to the Fire District. Mrs. Smith dedicated the fire station at the ceremony on October 12, 1975. The contractor who was responsible for building the station was Campbell Engineering Company.

The Station was positioned on the property with the apparatus doors opening to the east. The door positioning was a result of future plans of the Beau Chêne subdivision. The subdivision was planning an additional entrance, but later moved it to another location (Fontainebleau Entrance).

In the late 1980s, the Fire Department installed vinyl siding on the exterior of the Fire Station.  The original municipal address of the station was 3915 Highway 22. However, after the vinyl siding was installed it was noticed the municipal address was reinstalled incorrectly as 3951 Highway 22. Since it was not corrected immediately and other businesses began to open in the area, the municipal address is now 3951 Highway 22.

In 1994, the station was enlarged to accommodate the expanding needs of the Fire Department. An additional bay was added to house the Aerial Apparatus. This addition was developed by Lynn Mitchell, A.I.A of Mandeville and Zip Construction.

In 2004, the station built its third addition. This addition included additional living space, gym, and locker room. This addition was developed and constructed by Piazza, A.I.A. of Mandeville and TCB Builders of Slidell.

February 1985 to Present-Station 43

Station 43 located at 68458 Highway 59 opened in February of 1985. The land was donated by the J. Clay Prieto Family to the Fire District. The fire station plans were developed by Lynn Mitchell, A.I.A. of Mandeville and built by Campbell Construction for $192,708.00.

Prior to construction of the station, the fire department installed a 4″ P.V.C. water line from the fires station to an artesian well site approximately 1 mile away in the Pine Grove Industrial Park. This project was completed with duty personnel and is still in limited operation today.

The donated property was below grade and subject to flooding. At the time, the City of Mandeville was upgrading the municipal boat launch on Jackson Avenue at Bayou Castine. All of the excavated dirt was relocated from the boat launch to the Station 43 site on Highway 59. The relocation process took several weeks and went on day and night until completed.

When the concrete foundation for the new station was being poured the form boards failed on the south side and released a large amount of wet concrete. The area had to be jack hammered out and removed. In several places the jack hammering repairs left large squares and odd shapes inside the apparatus room. The replacement/repair marks are still visible today in apparatus room.

Shortly after the building was completed a company named JIMCO a concrete company donated daily concrete overages to the department at no charge. The donations varied from day to day. The employees poured and finished the rear driveway at no charge to the department. Since the department did not have time to bring in fill dirt between donations, some areas of the rear driveway are 18″ thick.

In 1996 the building was renovated and a state-of-the-art Dispatch Center was built at the rear of the station. The Dispatch Center was in operation for several years until the service was moved to the Slidell Fire Department Facility.

1990-Training Facility

The Training Facility site was originally around four acres. It was purchased from the J. Clay Prieto family for $25,000.00 in August of 1990. In December of 2006, an additional 7 acres of land was purchased from the Prieto Family for $569,877.00.

The facility’s first training prop, a four story masonry drill tower, was erected in 1992. Mike Piazza, A.I.A developed the plans and Owens Construction of Slidell built the tower at a cost of $108,200.00. The engineering report referencing the soil composition indicated a need for piling under the drill tower. While the Architect and Structural Engineer ordered piling to be driven, the construction Superintendent misread the blue prints and had the pilings placed opposite to the drawing. The Contractor had to drive additional piling in order to meet the engineer’s specifications.

Every year since 1990, the department has funded development for the Training Facility. Some of the capital improvements include fencing of the perimeter, a drafting pond, improved roadways, facility bathrooms, additional props, parking, a designated burn area, portable classrooms (donated in 1998 by the School), and a C-PAT Test center.

In 2004, a 60′ by 100′ metal building was erected by Mendow Construction of Mandeville. In 2007, the inside of the building was completed with a design by Rick Border, A.I.A. of Mandeville and an interior built by Mendow Construction of Mandeville. The cost was less than $200,000.00. The building allows the full-time training staff to offer classes developed in house, classes from the L.S.U. Firemen Training Institute in Baton Rouge, Delgado Community College courses, and National Fire Academy coursework.

1987-Station 44

In 1986, Fire District Chairman Elmo Hahn and the Board of Commissioners requested from the State of Louisiana Department of State Parks a one acre parcel of property in Fontainebleau State Park for a Fire Station. The property requested was located on the South side of Highway 190 near Bayou Cane. Even though Hahn was a State Official and was in charge of all draw bridges and ferry boats in South Louisiana, the Park system would not donate a parcel of land on the south side of Highway 190. They did donate a parcel of land on the north side of Highway 190 near Bayou Cane. The station was designed by Ron Kilcrease, A.I.A. of Mandeville and built by C.S. Enterprise Inc. of Slidell for $109,650.00. The address is 24301 Highway 190 East.

2000-Administration Building

Administration Building
Administration Building

In 2000, coinciding with renovations to Station 41 the Administration building was constructed.

The two story building was designed by Piazza, A.I.A of Mandeville and built by Pellegrin Construction.

The building serves as office space for the Fire Chief and staff personnel.



William C. “Billy” Esquinance
Chief of Operations

Acknowledgments & Bibliography

This information was taken from the following informational sources and past members.

  • St. Tammany Parish Farmer News Paper
  • Banner News Paper
  • Times-Picayune News Paper
  • Dixie Roto Magazine
  • The Mandeville Sun, New Paper
  • Departmental Files & Records
  • St. Tammany 1885 -1945 a photographic essay
  • St. Tammany Historical Society Gazett of 1981
  • Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville 1785 – 1868 (Book by Ellen Ulken)

Interviews with:

  • Emory Esquinance, (Past Fireman, Chairman of Board of Commissioners, [1958 – 1976], Superintend [1977 – 1986] Sec./Treas. to Fire District 4. [1987 – 1990]
  • Paul D. Esquinance Jr.,(Past Fire Chief [1958 – 1976] and lifelong Member)
  • Leonard L. Frosch, (Past Fire Chief [1976 -1988], Board of Commissioners Member [1990 -1999] and lifelong member

Edited by:
Martin and Jane Latino
Jennifer Esquinance

Emergency Call Volume Responses

Below is a legend of the call volume since 1957 for St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District No. 4. The call volume represents all types of calls to which the department responds. These include but are not limited to the following: Structure Fires, Motor Vehicles Incidents, Mutual Aid requests, Public Assistance, Medical Emergencies, Stand-by requests, Hazardous Material Incidents, and Rescue scenarios.

Year Calls Year Calls
1957 10 1985 560
1958 31 1986 711
1959 N/A 1987 595
1960 N/A 1988 626
1961 20 1989 611
1962 58 1990 689
1963 79 1991 745
1964 43 1992 995
1965 53 1993 1144
1966 105 1994 1549
1967 85 1995 2168
1968 119 1996 2365
1969 90 1997 2384
1970 89 1998 2887
1971 91 1999 2934
1972 110 2000 3374
1973 109 2001 3353
1974 138 2002 3211
1975 148 2003 3219
1976 297 2004 3762
1977 271 2005 4389
1978 371 2006 4615
1979 380 2007 4416
1980 399 2008 4987
1981 581 2009 4643
1982 553 2010 4617
1983 556 2011 4789
1984 541 2012 4972


F.Y.I. The Total Budget Expense was:

1958 just over $ 5000.00
1994 $1,976,526
1995 $2,416,153
1996 $2,838,810
1997 $3,378,554
1998 $3,522,030
1999 $4,322,422
2000 $4,312,224
2001 $4,754,878
2002 $5,106,098
2003 $5,929,238
2004 $6,474,682
2005 $7,621,283
2006 $7,929,940
2007 $11,167,561
2008 $11,742,294
2009 $13,043,687
2010 $12,673,822
2011 $14,357,153

Fire Insurance Classification

The Property Insurance Agents of Louisiana, commonly known as the Rating Bureau, grades the Community and the Fire Department to determine the efficiency of the department and other related departments. The classification is also known as the ISO Rating. The rating schedule is very complex and is based on many factors. The rating schedule covers the efficiency of the department from the fire ground operations, future planning, available water supply, communications, etc.

The rating schedule ranges from Class 1 to Class 10. A Class 1 rating is the best and is associated with the lowest fire insurance premium rating. A Class 10 rating indicates improvement is needed and is associated with the highest fire insurance premium rate.

The rating schedule is broken into three sections: Fire Suppression, Communications, and Water Supply. The percentage values of the three rating sections are:

  1. Fire Suppression 50% of the department’s grade.
  2. Communications 10% of the department’s grade.
  3. Water Supply 40% of the department’s grade.

Total 100% of Grade

The following is a history of Fire District No. 4 Fire Insurance Rating Classifications:

Effective Date: Public Protection Class Area Assigned Public Protection Class
Before November 18, 1963 N/A N/A
November 18, 1963 Class 9 Town of Mandeville only
May 13, 1974 Class 7 Town of Mandeville only
December 20, 1974 Class 7 3 miles road distance of Riverwood sub-station on Marilyn Drive
August 27, 1975 Class 7 3 miles road distance of Walter Smith Memorial Fire Station, 3951 Highway 22. (Opened)
October 18, 1982 Class 5 Complete Fire District
January 25, 1988 Class 5 Fontainebleau Fire Station Opened
March 21, 1988 Class 4 Complete Fire District
September 3, 1991 Class 3 Complete Fire District
March 11, 2002 Class 2 Complete Fire District
Due in early 2008 Class 2 Complete Fire District