Fire department's response time called in to question

Fire department's response time called in to question

TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - There are some questions about how a fire department responded to a fire that burned a Timmonsville home on Tuesday.

"Soon as I ran out of the house the flames came. Flames were on the top," said Carol Pierson, who's house burned down.

Pierson said when she made it out of her burning home she called 911.

According to a CAD report, Florence County Central Dispatch called for EMS and Fire Rescue just seconds after getting that call.

The call was toned out at 7:53 a.m.

"The EMS came, but no fire people," Pierson said.

The town's administrator said the town's fire department did respond in a timely manner.

The first to arrive on scene was a volunteer firefighter who did not drive a fire truck to the scene.

This is a response the administrator said is typical of a volunteer fire department.

"It's not an uncommon practice for a volunteer firefighter to go by the scene of the incident, and then to notify his fellow volunteer firemen, so that they would have an idea of what's happening when they reach the site," Mary Bines, Timmonsville Administrator said.

According to radio traffic from the incident, the Timmonsville Fire department did not have anyone on duty to drive a fire truck.

"Do you have anybody to run a truck? Negative, not from our station, but I do have Sardis-Timmonsville enroute," fire crews could be heard saying over the radio. A copy of that audio is attached to this story.

It should be noted, that Timmonsville did get a truck to the scene after a crewman named Dustin picked it up, but it's unclear when that truck arrived.

Another issue the homeowner said she saw with the department's response, is that the crew ran out of water.

"It burned down unnecessary because when they got here they had water, but they ran out of water. Next thing you know that didn't do anything but make the fire mad and it spread," said Pierson.

WMBF News asked the town about that claim.

"We had plenty of water, as a matter of fact one of our neighboring fire departments pulled on the truck that the Timmonsville fire department was using," Administrator Bines said.

In addition, Sardis –Timmonsville and West Florence Fire Departments helped battle the blaze.

The team at the West Florence Fire Department said in part that it is always willing to lend a hand to any department in need.

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