Neighbors petition City Council for new fire station to speed up response times

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Phoenix neighborhood wants fire station. (July 21, 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Phoenix neighborhood wants fire station. (July 21, 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]

A valley community is rallying together, trying to convince Phoenix City Council they need a fire station built nearby.

At the I-17 and Jomax, there was a plan for a fire station several years ago. The city bought a piece of land for that purpose using bond referendum money back in 2006.

But nothing was ever built.

"Being realistic we know it was probably because of budget cuts, and then eventually we would get the fire station back that our neighborhood was promised,” said neighbor and community advocate Julie Read. “But now that the economy is starting to recover and we have a lot of building that's going on up here, the response time issue has been brought up several different times."

Neighbors say long response times are putting them at risk.

Blood clots in Steve Schadel’s lungs prompted an emergency call for help a couple of weeks ago.

"Really short of breath," recalled Steve.

What his wife Susan remembers are the minutes spent waiting for help after she called 911. "Waited and waited, and I’m like, 'Oh my gosh this is taking forever," said Susan.  

It took fire crews exactly 10 minutes to get to their Norterra home, much longer than the department’s three to five minute average in other parts of town.

"I thank god it wasn't a life or death emergency, he was fine but I was thinking in my head, if he was unconscious and I was doing CPR 10 minutes is a long time," said Susan.  

North Phoenix exploded in size over a decade ago, and more homes are being built every day. But the Schadels’ nearest fire stations are still several miles away.

"With how many people live in this area there's no reason not to have a fire department there," said Susan.

Nearly 400 neighbors have now signed a petition to get a new fire station built in their community.

 “It tells me that that's a big need here," said Read.

The Schadels say Phoenix Fire Deputy Chief Shelly Jamison called them personally to discuss their recent call for help.

“I think they’re doing what they can right now and it’s something that definitely needs to be looked at and they need to get that on the schedule,” said Steve.

Jamison says if construction started today, it would cost about $5 million. She says a project of that size is going to take City Council approval.

Several City Council members and Fire Department leaders say they have heard the community’s request. While there are no plans to take it to a vote just yet, they say those conversations are now being had, thanks to the community’s involvement.

"I think that anytime a community wants to engage with its local government, only good things can happen," said Read.  

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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