PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) — A supervisor and the union president for the Peoria Fire Department agree with the city manager: response time to a house fire Thursday was slowed because of equipment taken out of service to save money.
The home at 1113 W. Westwood drive, near War Memorial Drive and N. University Street, was burning just after 2:00 p.m.
Problem is, the first truck that arrived on Westwood didn’t have the right equipment to deliver water.
That truck, a firefighter tells 25News, was a ladder truck, not equipped with water or a water pump to access fire hydrants.
Another truck has been taken off the streets to help city leaders fill a multi-million dollar budget gap.
That’s known as Rescue 2.
But, Ryan Brady, president of the Peoria firefighter’s union, says that truck also doesn’t have the equipment needed to get water onto a fire.
“The first truck that would’ve came would’ve been our Rescue Two squad,” said battalion chief Bud Sous.
“And they’re no longer in commission at this point. So we had to wait till the Wisconsin fire house came with an engine so they could put water on it.”
So, crews had to do what they could, Sous said, including explore the home, finding one person inside with some burns as they waited for another truck, in this case Engine 3.
One person was taken to the hospital with what appear to be burns on her hands. The home does have extensive fire and smoke damage, estimated at $75,000.
As a result, Sous tells 25News us three people couldn’t stay in that home Thursday.
On Friday, Brady and city manager Patrick Urich responded.
“This was going to happen. While this is kind of minor, or being, you know, downplayed as minor, because nobody was seriously injured. No firefighters were injured. We still had a $75,000 loss,” Brady said.
He emphasized that a series of equipment losses due to years of budget restrictions, do impact response.
Brady mentioned another engine truck that has been out of service following an accident on a bridge, years ago.
“From knowing what it takes to do this job, and not having the right tools to do it, it’s very frustrating. It’s almost like sitting on the sidelines, watching the game because of an injury,” Brady said.
And city manager Patrick Urich tells 25News that while firefighters did have to wait for engine 3 to arrive and start putting water on the fire Thursday, Urich they waited for only :55 seconds.