House fire victim questions Bulloch County Fire response times

House fire victim questions Bulloch County Fire response times

BULLOCH COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A house fire in Bulloch County has one victim asking where his county sends firefighters from.

Crews responded to Martin Swinson Road in the Eldora area nearly one week ago - close to the Bryan County line. The couple who lost their home say the firefighters who came rushed there as fast as they could and did all they could when they got there. They wonder if another crew closer by could have gotten there sooner.

Russ Sanders says the fire started in the wall of the home the couple had moved into and started remodeling. He says the fire ignited propane tanks on the porch. He and his wife woke up, got out, and called 911 for help. Then, they waited.

“They sent a firetruck from 25 miles away, when they could have send one from 4.2 miles away,” Sanders said.

Sanders thinks Bulloch County should have requested help from a Bryan County station that’s closer. Bulloch County lists the 911 call coming in at 8:23 that morning. They dispatched fire units at 8:25, and the first one started that way at 8:26, but took 26 minutes to get to the house in that part of the county. The 911 director tells WTOC county policy is to call out three volunteer crews, in addition to a full-time team from Statesboro, to any fire in the county.

“It’ll be the district that the structure is in, then the next two closest districts along with Statesboro Fire,” said Kelly Barnard, 911 Director.

She says they typically don’t request aid from adjoining counties unless the fire is massive and beyond what county teams can handle.

Sanders says a relative offered the county a plot of land to build a substation a decade ago. He hopes the county will reconsider before something tragic happens in the area.

County leaders say they’re already talking about adding a small number of full-time firefighters around the county to supplement the volunteer crews.

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