By Ray King

Firefighters in Pine Bluff answered 19 fewer calls in April than they did in March, according to the monthly report from the Fire and Emergency Services Department.

They responded to 310 calls last month compared to 329 in March. The April total includes seven structure fires, four in Ward 1, one in Ward 3 and two in Ward 4. There was one fire related death in April, the first of the year.

Unlike previous months when emergency medical responses accounted for more than 50 percent of the total calls, the monthly report there were 120 such call for 38.71 percent of the total. By comparison, there were 154 emergency medical response calls in March, or 34 more than in April.

Fire and Emergency Service Chief Shauwn Howell has said previously that dispatchers are now asking callers more questions, particularly as they relate to emergency medical responses and he attributed that to the decline.

Looking at some of the other numbers, two vehicle fires were reported in April compared to four in March, and six brush/grass/rubbish fires, one fewer than in March.

Firefighters responded to 15 traffic accidents with injuries in April, two less than in March and answered 31 alarm calls, an increase of three over March. There were 24 false alarms last month, six less than in March.

The report also indicated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all community related activities have been cancelled until further notice.