Some northwest residents to lose fire coverage

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- For the longest time, homeowners on Tucson's northwest side have counted on Rural Metro fire showing up if a fire breaks out. But after Thursday, that assurance goes away.

"We just have them around the house.  They're very messy, but very effective at putting out fires as well," said resident Douglas Duy.

Duy is stocking up on fire exstingushers.

"We received a letter from the Northwest Fire District telling us that Rural Metro was going to be dropping our coverage," said Duy.

Rural Metro is a subscription based fire station. Only 12 percent of the residents in Duy's northwest neighborhood subscribe to their services.

Rural Metro says that it was no longer viable for the department to continue coverage.

Northwest fire stepped in, telling folks in the area they needed a certain amount of signatures to annex themselves so they could rely on Northwest Fire for their emergency needs. So far, that has been a tough sell

"I know there is some resistance to Northwest Fire because it appears there's an increase in cost due to that," said Duy.

"For a lot of these folks, they don't feel the cost value or taxes for fire protection is worth the signature," said Northwest Fire Chief Jeff Piechura.

Northwest fire says the annexation process started last october. They need 297 signatures in one area to pass the measure. To date, they have only 136.

The petition is only valid for a year, so come this october if the signatures aren't there, neither will Northwest Fire.

In another area. They need 36 signatures by december they have 13.

"There's not a fire department near them that would respond.  They are in no mans land.  Northwest cannot respond out of its distriction and put at risk our tax payers who have paid for the system," said Chief Piechura.

"People don't understand why a private company could supply it for cheaper than a tax funded organization could," said Duy.

"If people take it as blunt curse coorispondance we're sorry but we're just trying to deliver the facts," said Chief Piechura.

Zero coverage begins July 1.