Chief Linton Duet, Jr. Celebrates 20 Years as Lafitte Fire Chief

Lafitte Fire Chief Linton Duet Jr. is celebrating 20 years as fire chief of the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department. Chief Duet has had a career that has spanned 42 years, 29 of those years with the Lafitte Fire Department and was the first full time paid fire chief on the Westbank. The Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department boasts 12 paid staffers and 25 volunteers that all work under Chief Duet’s guidance to protect the citizens of Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point from fire and other dangers.

From day one, Chief Duet has dedicated himself to the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department and keeping the people of Lafitte and surrounding areas safe. When he started on the job, he worked 160 days without a day off getting equipment up to date and making sure that he was alert and ready at his new post, should any problems arise. Through Chief Duet’s hard work and through the work of his paid and volunteer firemen and staff, the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department received at class 3 rating in 2015, which reduces taxpayer’s insurance in the area. A millage renewal was just passed, thanks to the vote of the people, that ensures fire protection for this community for years to come.

Chief Duet admits that being the fire chief of such a small community is difficult- there’s a lot of scrutiny and he says that hurricane season is one of the most dreaded times of the year for the city. Being fire chief means more than just handling fire rescues; the department answers an average of 350 calls a year including fires, water rescues, medical calls and situations involving hazardous materials. Chief Duet explained to me that the job is 24 hours and he sleeps at the station during his shifts and is on call, even on his days off. He explained that the people of Lafitte have a good work ethic and he is always ready to protect them at a moment’s notice.

Being a fire chief takes a lot of hard work, studying and, as Chief Duet will be quick to tell you, test taking. Chief Duet started as a firefighter at the Bell Amie Volunteer Fire Department in Cut Off when he was just 16 years old. By the time he was 18 he was a captain and by the time he was 20 he was fire chief of the small city. Once a commercial shrimper, fisherman and pipe welder, Chief Duet made the decision to dedicate his life to the fire department. In 1989, he took a job with the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point fire department and throughout the years has received every fire certification possible in the state of Louisiana. He attended the Louisiana Fire and Emergency Training Institute (LSU FETI) and he is only one of three in the state of Louisiana to have passed the instructor 3 test- a test that takes over a year of preparation.

When Chief Duet took over as Chief of the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department in 1997, there was a lot of work to be done. The equipment was outdated, there was only $7,000 in the department account and the department in general needed an overhaul. Chief Duet decided to cut down on costs by only buying what is needed at any given time and he also credits Jefferson Parish Councilman Ricky Templet and Councilman Chris Roberts with helping with department purchases such as fire trucks and other necessary equipment. He also credits Lafitte Mayor Timothy P. Kerner with making the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department better through his support.

Something else that makes a good fire department is a good staff. Chief Duet is always encouraging his staff to keep learning and get state certifications so that they can better serve the people of Lafitte. His staff sees him as a patient leader and a brother, that they call “Superman”, who teaches them to do things the right way so that they can be the best department they can be. He has even trained others who have gone on to run other fire departments.

When Chief Duet isn’t spending countless hours at the fire station, he spends his free time collecting coins and is in his fifth term as president of the Crescent City Coin Club. He also enjoys duck hunting, fishing, and shrimping and enjoys cooking for the folks at the station. His specialties include gumbo, meatballs and spaghetti, and shrimp fettuccine. During Halloween he runs a haunted house at the fire station and at Christmas he drives a truck in the Christmas parade and hands out toys to local children. He also holds fundraisers and events to help the community at large. Chief Duet and his staff regularly travel to different schools in the area teaching children about fire safety with the belief that learning fire safety skills at an early age is an asset that one carries with them throughout their life.

Chief Duet is one of those rare people who has committed his life to his career. Through his efforts, the Lafitte Barataria Crown Point Fire Department became one of the best in the area, and in 2001 he was honored with a plaque dedicating the on-site training facility to his name. The plaque honors Chief Duet’s commitment and determination in obtaining funding for the training facility and is one of his proudest accomplishments. The people of Lafitte are lucky to have Chief Linton Duet Jr. at the helm of their fire department and they can rest easy knowing that they are safe in his capable hands.

About the author

Marielle Songy

Marielle Songy was born and raised on the Westbank and currently resides in Gretna. She is a graduate of Archbishop Blenk High School and UNO. A true Louisiana girl, Marielle enjoys creole food, jazz music and the occasional swamp tour.

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