Response to Harrisburg House Fire Sparks Criticism
SALINE COUNTY -- It's been six months since the Harrisburg City Council decided to stop covering fire calls outside the city limits. It's a financial decision that is being called into question after a Wednesday night house fire just outside of city limits.
"If the time could have been cut in half, perhaps there would have only been damage to one room," said fire victim Mike Dudley.
The fire broke out Wednesday night on Old Cain Road, just three miles from the Harrisburg Fire Department and six miles from Carrier Mills. The increased distance equals a travel time of three additional minutes for Carrier Mills firefighters, compared to Harrisburg firefighters.
Dudley lives less than half a mile west of the city limits. "It's just 600 yards up the road," he explained.
The distance of just six football fields prevents him from receiving fire coverage from the city. The Harrisburg council decided to stop taking those calls last July, a cost-cutting move.
"When it does happen to you, it certainly doesn't make you feel better about the decision or the people who made the decision," said Dudley.
Neighbors say the slower response time for fire protection is unfair.
"We're outside and we are here but it's like we don't exist," said Dudley's neighbor Tracy Morse.
No one was injured in the fire but Morse says changes need to be made in order to avoid future disasters.
"There needs to be some answer and it needs to be thought of soon before somebody ends up losing a life. You can replace property but you can't replace a life."
Wind: 12 MPH
Humidity: 77 %