Aug 5, 2014 8:34 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 investigates emergency response times; how long are you waiting?

Fire station 2 covering the northern portion of Black Forest will remain unstaffed until further notice.

Earlier this year, the station went unmanned to cut expenses after the fire district hit financial troubles following the Black Forest fire.

Although we're told this is only temporary, some homeowners are asking whether their safety is at risk.

The fire district will not refer to station 2 as "closed". Instead, they refer to the station as a "fully operational facility" that remains unstaffed.

Is this change impacting emergency response times?

To view a comprehensive response time chart, click here:

Response Times.pdf

"Yes, it would preferable to have a fully-staffed station," long time Black Forest homeowner Chuck Lidderdale said.

The decision to stop staffing station 2 came as a result of a $130,000 expense to investigate Chief Bob Harvey.

Harvey came under fire last year for sluggish response times and mismanaging resources during the Black Forest Fire.

The independent investigation ultimately found Harvey did not break any laws.

"That money was spent because the a small ground of Black Forest citizens demanded the chief be fired without cause," Lidderdale said.

According to the public information officer for the district, no positions were eliminated as a result of this expense. Instead, hours were cut and those positions were shifted to fire station 1, located at 11445 Teachout Road.

"Before the independent investigation, we had two full-time firefighters here (at fire station two) during the day," Kathy Russell said.

Russell is adamant the "move" does not impact homeowners.

"We are meeting the response expectations through the national standards," she said.

To view a list of those national standards, click here:

Response Standards.pdf

Russell says the unstaffed station is not the ideal situation. After all, the nearest fire station from station 2 is 5.6 miles away.

"In a perfect world, we would love to see 3-4 people here (at station 2) on duty 24-7," Russell said. "With the financial constraints of our budget, we have not been able to achieve that staffing.Our citizens have not voted the funds to make that happen."

The equipment currently in fire station 2 will remain there for on-call volunteers which do report to that station, but don't necessarily have a set schedule.

Meanwhile, the fire district says if there were ever another massive wildfire, they will be able to partner with other surrounding agencies.



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