two fire trucks parked near each other.

Good and Bad News For Valparaiso Fire Department at Commission Meeting. Here’s What Happened:

Great news in Valparaiso as the fire department achieves a level 2 ISO rating, promising reduced insurance costs for residents. However, a surprising twist reveals a mold issue in the fire station, demanding urgent remediation efforts and a $25,000 investment.

The City of Valparaiso’s Fire Department, The Niceville-Valparaiso Fire Department, had some good and some bad news at Monday’s City Commission meeting. 

Good News, the Fire Department Made Your Insurance A Little Less Expensive in Valparaiso:

The good news is that the city’s ISO rating,   which represents how well-equipped a fire department is and how quickly they can respond to a fire for insurance purposes, was dropped to level two. Level two fire suppression areas are in the top 1,500 or so of almost 45,000 fire suppression areas nationwide. Only about 270 departments nationwide are rated as level 1. 

Chief Tommy Mayville, the chief of both the Niceville and Valparaiso fire departments (the chief position was merged in 2019 at the request of Valparaiso Commissioners), says this increase is good news for residents and their insurance premiums. 

“when you’re looking at your insurance, it could be a lower rate on commercial rates,” Mayville said, “So it would be it’d be something that you want to contact your insurance company. At one time we were, in Niceville, we were nine as a volunteer department. And then we went down to a five and then we went to four. So now, at two, we did it a few years back.”

According to, the highest aggregate score a fire department can receive on an ISO assessment is 105.5. The biggest share of the score, 50 points, comes from the efficacy of the local fire department. The next largest part of the score is the fire control area’s water supply, at 40 points. Communications systems count for 10 points, and community risk reduction makes up the last five-and-a-half points. 

a man speaks while dressed in a fire department uniform.
Matt Webster, Niceville Deputy Fire Chief, speaks to the Valparaiso City Commission about mold remediation in the Valparaiso Firehouse.

The Bad News – The Fire Department Has Mold

Firefighters assigned to the Valparaiso Fire Department Station recently discovered mold growing in the building. Assistant Fire Chief Matt Webster told the Valparaiso City Commission that the department would need about $25,000 up front to buy supplies for remediation. 

According to Fire Chief Mayville, mold grew in the station because of the materials used to construct it and the contrast in temperature inside and outside the building, which allowed condensation to build up. The money will also be used to replace items in the building affected by the mold. 

“It’s just something that’s got to be done,” Mayor Brent Smith said in response. 

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