Power Outage Traps Firefighters At Station

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(Memphis) Memphis fire officials are inspecting doors at all fire stations after a power outage left firefighters trapped inside last month, preventing them from responding to calls right away.

One of those calls involved a fire on Orchi Road in North Memphis where a 55-year-old woman died.

The fire department says it's not to blame for the woman's death.

“I look at it every day. Everyday,” said Catrina Deniston about the house that caught fire.

Deniston lost her neighbor in the fire.

It's a fire that happened at the exact same time a power outage hit the North Memphis neighborhood.

The November 27th outage prevented a fire engine from leaving the station on Jackson because the garage door wouldn't open.

Firefighters say they tried to open the door manually by pulling the chain, but the pulley was broken.

“We anticipate unforeseen conditions on every response,” said Lt. Wayne Cooke, the public information officer with the Memphis Fire Dept.

Despite the problem, Cooke says the door issue did not prevent firefighters from responding to the call on time.

He says in all fire emergencies, three engines leave from three different stations to make sure the situation is handled.

“Because of the multiple equipment response, we will be able to respond to your home within the national response time.”

The national response standard for fire departments is 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Cooke says crews got to the Orchi fire ten seconds quicker than that, but admits when it comes to fires, every minute, every second counts.

Cooke says the Memphis Fire Department is working towards installing generators at all 50-plus Memphis fire stations.

Right now, a little less than half have them.

The broken pulley in Fire Station Number 23 has been fixed and the fire department is now making sure all are working around the city.

Cooke says even if the door was working that day, that fire truck still wouldn't have responded to the fire, because the station had a medical call two minutes before they were called about the fire.


  • Don

    I would like to to think that someone in the fire house would check the pulley every week or so to see if it is working, at least until the generator is on line.
    I would think that some of the trucks would have generators on board in case they need one. or a small truck could be put in service that could be housed at any station at any time.

  • Skeptic

    How can this have happened?? I thought all fire fighters were trained in how to use force to enter or in this instance, exit a building. Rip those doors off the tracks and get to the fire.

  • ron james

    Memphis Fire Department is suffering the same thing that has invaded ALL jobs and industry. MEDIOCRITY. This would have NEVER happened FORTY years ago. Because people cared enough to check the doors. NOW the only time they are checked IS when they quit running. Management FORTY years ago put it’s priority on life and property.

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