A woman was injured in a blaze that destroyed her house on the Key Peninsula Tuesday.
Fire Chief Tom Lique said it took 16 minutes for firefighters to respond to the home because they were staffing a station several miles away. It took nearly two hours and eight additional firefighters from Gig Harbor to douse the flames.
The home was destroyed. Two people inside were able to escape the house on their own. An elderly woman was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, the department reported.
“We cover 65 square miles, and only have enough fire fighters to staff one station full-time,” Lique said. “We rotate crews between stations, but it’s impossible to predict where the calls will come from. Sometimes we get lucky. (Tuesday) morning was not one of those times.”
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that a fire district the size of Key Peninsula be able to respond to blazes within five minutes the majority of the time. The department’s average response time is 11 minutes, 39 seconds for fires – double the standard.
That’s why the Board of Fire Commissioners is putting a four-year levy on the November ballot and asking voters to fund eight full-time firefighter positions.