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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Even the Uh-Oh Squad Didn't Show Up

JUST ABOUT A MONTH AGO, on December 10 Firegeezer reported HERE on the Tacoma, Washington, City Council's brilliant decision to "save money" (and thus keep things like libraries open later) by shutting down two fire stations, kinda'.  Their sleight-of-hand called for removing the fire engines and replacing them with pickup trucks at stations 13 and 15.

The emergency pickups are being staffed with two firefighters and stocked with first-aid equipment, plus they are only in  service from 7 am to 7 pm.  "People don’t have emergencies just at certain times of the day," said Susan Zubalick, who lives near Station 13.  Now if somebody in their district has a fire, they get an uh-oh squad who will be able to join the residents in the front yard going, "Uh-oh" until the real fire engine arrives.  The grand plan went into operation on Tuesday, January 8.

Tacoma's Uh-oh Squad trucks.  (KING-TV)

Our Pacific Northwest scout, Firefighter Dave tells us that the grand plan was tested just one hour into its inception last Tuesday.  KOMO-TV reported:

The Tacoma Fire Department's new deployment model was tested within its first hour of operation this morning when a house caught fire fewer than two blocks from the department's Station 13. As of 7 a.m. today, Tacoma's Stations 13 and 15 no longer have fire engines — which means they don't have water pumps when they respond to a call.

The department responded to the full-alarm electrical fire at 4010 N. 25th St. at 7:49 this morning.  (The first fire engine and battalion chief, traveling from Station 9, arrived at the scene at 7:53 and reported that smoke and flames were showing from the one-story residence.)

Two residents were inside the house at the time, Tacoma Fire Department spokesperson Jim Zuluaga said, but there were no reported injuries. Station 13 is located down the street from the home at 3825 N. 25th St. "They would have been there in moments, probably under a minute," Zuluaga said.

The real engine company handled the call easily 
(Tacoma FD photo)

The station's newly formed Squad 13, a team of two firefighters in a pick-up truck, was actually responding to another call at the time.

Tacoma Fire Department online report on the fire HERE.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Legeros

    Here’s my question, Bill and Mike. Fires are down and medical calls are up. But everybody has heartburn when you attempt to adjust resources along those lines. Is the concept of a “right sized “fire department ultimately heresy?

  • Irakli

    Four minutes sound like a good response time to me