North Valley home goes up in flames, fire department response time is below standards

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Cars in a home's garage are believed to be the source of a fire that burned a home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Cars in a home's garage are believed to be the source of a fire that burned a home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Mario Torres's home burned over the weekend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Mario Torres's home burned over the weekend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Phoenix Fire Dept. Capt. Rob Mc Dade speaks about fire fighter response time. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Phoenix Fire Dept. Capt. Rob Mc Dade speaks about fire fighter response time. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

As their garage went up in flames Saturday night, Mario Torres and his family made it out of the home, but many of their belongings did not.

“Three cars, everything in the garage is actually gone,” said Torres.

Investigators believe one of the cars caused an electrical fire, but what has neighbors upset is how long it took the fire department to get to the scene.

“Well it feels like a long time when your property goes up in fire,” said Torres.

Fire Captain Rob McDade said it took their department nearly nine minutes to get to Skinner Drive that night.

“Our threshold in the city of Phoenix for delivering fire and EMS service is three to four minutes, so obviously that’s outside our range of what we strive for,” said Capt. McDade.

[RELATED: Neighbors petition City Council for new fire station to speed up response times]

McDade said the problem is that while a permanent station is being built, their temporary station in the area is only operational for 12 hours a day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., this fire broke out at 10:30 p.m.

[RELATED: Phoenix Fire to open new temporary fire station inside north Phoenix hotel]

The department said they’re waiting on the City of Phoenix to give them an answer on whether they can start operating 24/7 until the permanent station is built.

[RELATED: Fire department uses north Phoenix hotel as temporary fire station]

“Funding is the hurdle right now. It’s frustrating,” said McDade.

But Torres said he’s just thankful for the support from the fire crews and from his neighbors, like 10-year-old Abby Bryand.

“She slowed me down and she brought me a box of homemade cookies,” said Torres.
The Torreses' young neighbor stirred emotions with her kind gesture, “I really want to help this family, maybe I could like raise some money?” said Abby.

Monday, the fourth-grader delivered to the torres family $685 that she collected on her own.

“Thank you, Abby. Thank you for all you’ve done. I really appreciate it,” said Torres.

We reached out to the City of Phoenix to ask if they have plans to approve 24-hour service for the temporary fire station, but their communications representative said he needs to do more research to provide an answer. The fire department said the permanent station will open off I-17 and Jomax in two years.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

Click to learn more about Briana.

Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMA awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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