Residents Living Near Weekend Blaze Outraged Over No Fire Engine - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Residents Living Near Weekend Blaze Outraged Over No Fire Engine in Neighborhood

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Residents in a Tall City neighborhood are outraged over a fire that destroyed a home over the weekend. It also sent an elderly woman to the hospital.

They said the closest fire station is just a couple of minutes away but it no longer has a fire engine because the city removed it.

Ellen Bryant watched helplessly on Saturday as a fire ripped through a home in the 2300 block of Sinclair. But Bryant and others said the home could've been saved.

"We were both just standing there and it was sickening because again knowing that truck used to be able to make it here in a quick amount of time," Bryant said.

The District five fire station is just a few blocks away but their fire engine was removed back in January.

"When I first saw this, I was stunned," a resident, who didn't want to be identified, said. "How sad it is to have a fire station two minutes away yet this is what happened to this house because obviously it wasn't enough."

The fire started in the garage but flames jumped to the attic and then to the kitchen before firefighters were able to get it under control.

Midland Fire Chief Robert Isbell said the District five engine was removed because the majority of its calls were for medical services.

"We basically took it out of service and we're introducing a new response unit to serve what has been a big draw in demand on more than one fire district," Isbell said. "Our goal is to make sure that those engines reliability are higher and that they're more available for fire calls."

He said the Midland Fire Department conducted studies over the last two years that revealed the District five engine was only reliable 50% of the time because it was always out on EMS calls.

"It means half the time, an out of district engine would be the first on engine and those were done again in respectable response times so it just shows that fact that we've got good overlapping coverage," Isbell said.

Chief Isbell said the stations on Wall Street, Lamesa and Haynes can all respond in an effective time.

"The issue still comes down to do we have adequate coverage and I would say yes," he said. "As the fire chief, that's my job, is to make sure that the citizens are protected the best I can with the resources I have."

But not everyone is convinced.

"Obviously those aren't close enough because this house is pretty much destroyed," one woman said.

"When this happened Saturday, it was just devastating," Bryant said. "Bring our fire engine back to station five."

Chief Isbell said he plans on meeting with residents to address their concerns.

There's still no cause for the fire and the elderly woman who was burned is still in a Lubbock hospital.

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