There is a dispute growing in Covington over the response of firefighters... and it's all because of money. Last week, 68-year-old Joan Herron died when her home on Garrard Street near Byrd caught fire.
It took fire fighters just minutes to get a ladder truck to the home. The nearest fire station at Robbins and Scott is a half mile away - but it's one pumper truck is browned-out. So an engine truck had to come from the station at 15th and Holmes - which is a mile and a half from Herron's home. A second engine was also called from Latonia - which is more than three miles from the home.
Now the fire union says that extra time could be putting lives on the line. Local 12 News Reporter Angela Ingram says if you live close to this firehouse and you call 9-1-1, they can send a ladder truck from here and a rescue truck - but the pumper which carries 500 gallons of water and hoses is browned-out.
Firefighters say the city's cost-saving measure is putting lives at risk.
Joan Herron's death devastated her family and friends. "She was a good woman, very friendly, very good woman."
The president of Covington's firefighter union blames the brownout. He says the same engine that would've responded - engine one - could've also prevented a man from being burned at a house fire in January. "It definitely is a threat to public safety as well as the safety of the firefighters who are here to protect the citizens."
Commissioner Michelle Williams says city leaders are split over whether to put the pumper back in service. "I am one of two commissioners that are trying to basically get the staff increased in the fire department."
But Covington's city manager says it would cost about a- million-and-a half-dollars a year to put the engine in service and staff it. He also says the original call to Joan Herron's home came in as a 9-1-1 hang-up - so police responded before firefighters which caused a delay. He says there's no way to prove the pumper would've saved Joan.
But, the union president says having to wait for engines from 15th and Holman and Latonia is dangerous. "The U.S. Fire Administration has done studies and says that a fire can double in size every minute."
Some friends of Herron are hoping the city finds money for pumper one. "I just hope and pray that nobody else gets burned up and that they will, they will give us the safety that they need."
The city manager also says Covington spends far more than the average city on its fire department - 40-percent more than other cities of the same size. The city browned out engine one in 2011 to save money.
The number of firefighters per 24 hour shift was also cut from 30 to 27.