OUR VIEW: Time to get moving on satellite fire station planImagine calling 911 to report a house fire. Then imagine waiting 10 minutes for firefighters to show up. That’s not a hypothetical situation. It actually happened Monday morning in Mitchell.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Imagine calling 911 to report a house fire. Then imagine waiting 10 minutes for firefighters to show up.
That’s not a hypothetical situation. It actually happened Monday morning in Mitchell.
A caller reported a fire at 170 N. Harmon Drive at 6:20 a.m. Firefighters were dispatched at 6:22 and arrived at the house at 6:30.
That’s a 10-minute response time, or eight minutes if 6:22 is used as the starting point. Whatever the case, it’s too long. National standards call for a response of five minutes.
There has been talk of placing a satellite fire station in northern or northwest Mitchell for years. There has never been much urgency attached to the idea, perhaps because many of the houses in that part of the city are newer, nicer homes that don’t tend to start on fire very often. Anecdotally speaking, most house fires in Mitchell seem to occur in older neighborhoods closer to downtown, where the existing fire station is located.
Monday’s fire, which sent huge flames into the dark sky that could be seen from vantage points around Lake Mitchell, was a stark reminder that fires can happen anywhere. The residents of northwest Mitchell pay taxes just like the residents of other parts of the city, and they deserve fire protection that’s just as good as everybody else receives, or at least as good as city government can realistically make it.
Ten minutes is not good. In a relatively small city such as ours, nobody should have to wait that long for firefighters to show up.
We do not blame the firefighters. They’re doing everything they can to reach fire scenes quickly and safely. They can only work with the location and the equipment they’re given.
It’s now time for the taxpayers and elected officials who depend on firefighters to step up and give them them the tools they need to do their job effectively. One of those tools, we believe, is a satellite station.
Would a satellite station have made any difference in the outcome of Monday’s fire, which destroyed a house on the lake shore? We don’t know. We do suspect that firefighters departing from a satellite station would have gotten there sooner, and a quicker response time is always a good thing.
We understand the City Council has been hesitant to undertake such a project, because it could cost an estimated $1 million. But it’s now time for the council to use the sense of urgency created by this fire and finally get this long-languishing project under way.