PITTSBURG — After more than 30 years of effort, the city’s fire rating was recently upgraded from class three to class two.

The Insurance Services Organization recently completed an audit of the city’s fire protection and issued the upgrade.

According to a release from Pittsburg Fire Chief Mike Simons, the last class change that we made was 31 years ago when the city moved from a class 4 to a class 3. Out of 1,114 fire departments in Kansas there are only 14 class two departments and six class one departments.

According to Simons, that puts Pittsburg in the top two percent of the state and the top three percent out of 46,042 fire departments nationally.

“I’m ecstatic,” Simons said by phone Thursday.

The scoring is broken down into three sections — emergency communications is 10 percent of the score, water supply is 40 percent, and the fire department at 50 percent.

Simons said the public safety sales tax — while not the only factor — has been a large factor as well, allowing PFD and the Pittsburg fire department to acquire training and equipment they would not otherwise have been able to afford.

Among the things which contributed to the upgrade were improvements to the city water system, and now there is nowhere in town more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant.

“This was a combined effort from multiple departments within our city,” Simons said in the release. “We are very fortunate to have the dispatch capabilities and superb hydrant system throughout our jurisdiction. This change would not have been possible without the PD and Utilities continually improving their systems.”

The change may see insurance rates go down as well.

“There is the potential for financial benefit to our community for this change in class,” Simons said in the release. “This is especially true for insurance cost on commercial properties.

While each insurance underwriter is different, I spoke with one … who indicated that there was the potential of a two- to three-percent reduction in insurance cost for moving from a class three to a Class two. Again, this depends on each underwriter and may not be the case for every insurance policy.”

Simons said that for residential purposes some underwriters group classes one through three together, but for commercial properties the change may well be significant.

City Manager Daron Hall said he was excited about the news.

“That’s something you can hang your hat on,” he said.

— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at prichardson@morningsun.net, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.