(Memphis) A vacant house that was torched over the weekend in North Memphis ignited a new debate over Fire Station 6.
On Friday, the fire director announced he was going to keep the station open, but it would not have a fire suppression engine.
Some people in North Memphis are worried that the recent fire highlights response time concerns.
“For him to say the water truck doesn’t matter. He’s a liar,” North Memphis resident L E Reed said.
He’s passionate about the changes coming to Fire Station 6.
Linda Ward is too.
“If my house is on fire, the fire truck will have to stand back and wait and watch my house burn,” Ward said.
They shared their views with Director Alvin Benson, who started the meeting explaining how Sunday nights house fire should ease their fears rather than raise them.
He said while Fire Station 6’s engine got to the fire in three minutes, the next engine arrived in under five. He said that’s better than the national average.
“Where you are right now even without Station 6, you get a good level of response times,” Benson explained.
In order to keep Station 6 open, the water truck will be removed and a ladder truck will be put in its place. So if a fire breaks out, the truck with the water will come from a different station.
But for some, a five minute response time is too long.
“In five minutes it would have been on the ground, director,” Reed said in response to the Sunday fire.
Benson said 75 percent of firefighter calls are actually medical, so this community that’s primarily elderly will still have a truck with 12 firemen to help them.
“That ladder truck can still respond and it is an anchor in the community,” he said.
Councilman Lee Harris and Myron Lowery call this a great compromise.
“What it was in my view was a straight victory,” Harris said.
“The bottom line is safety will not be compromised,” Lowery said.
Lowery added that he did not believe the arson over the weekend was a coincidence.
He said he believes that it was set intentionally to prove a point.
But he said the only point it proved was that even without Station 6, the response times were quick.