Providence FirePROVIDENCE, Ky. (4/21/19) — The following letter to the editor has been received from a Florida citizen whose family resides in Providence.

Dear Editor,

I am writing to report an incident that I found very concerning that happened to property in Providence, Kentucky on April 20, 2019. This property was once our family home where my mother and aunts were raised. One of my aunts lives directly next door. My Aunt called to report that the home next door at 1106 Leeper Lane, was engulfed in flames. This initial call was made at 1:27am. At 1:33am she called a second time. The fire department arrived at 1:40am. The distance between the home and fire department is 1.8 miles.

Upon arrival the firemen hooked up to a hydrant further away (421 feet) than a much closer hydrant and walked to the fire. The other fire hydrant is approximately only 157 feet away from where the residential fire was occurring. That’s a significant difference when dealing with a blaze of that magnitude. There was no sense of urgency to put this fire out. There is video showing explosions coming from the home. They did not wet the garage down to make any effort to save that structure. They also did not spray the fence close to the residence in question which is my Aunt and Uncle’s property until after my uncle began spraying it himself with his own water hose. At approximately 3:13am, the firemen left. The fire was not fully extinguished and no one stayed to monitor the fire. I am aware that there should be a “Fire watch” protocol during a structure fire to engage any flare ups that are likely to occur in efforts to protect nearby residents and property. My uncle stayed up all night watching the fire to make sure his home did not also catch on fire because the original fire started strong again.

The next morning the fire department came back to the scene at approximately 9am. When asked why they left, one of the fireman stated “we didn’t have the water to put it out.” My aunt reported to this fireman that she was worried about her home catching fire and the fireman stated “I know.”

My husband and I are visiting from Florida and came to check on my aunt. At 12:31pm the fire was still burning in several areas with no firemen on site to monitor. A call was made to 911 because the wind was blowing quite strongly and we were concerned hot embers could become airborne and spread the flames to other homes in this residential area. A 911 dispatcher stated “ it’s under control”, though no one was watching.

This is concerning for the citizens that rely on this department to provide adequate service. I have many family members that live in this city. How can you run out of water? The pump on the truck did not seem to be operating properly as the water pressure was not strong enough to do much more than a large garden hose. There was no regard for the emotional devastation of watching your childhood home go up in flames. The fireman may not have known that however the proper training would tell them to treat everyone with sensitivity and respect.

I am writing this at 3:19pm and the small fires are continuing to burn and the wind continues to blow.

I am requesting an audit of the equipment to make sure the fire department has the proper and functioning equipment to adequately perform their duties with a level of competency that did not appear to be evident during this incident. I would also like a copy of the procedure when dealing with a fire in a residential area. In most places a fireman stays on site to put out the smaller fires that pop up. My aunt was told the Providence Fire Department does not do that. My husband is a first responder in Florida and works closely with fire departments on a regular basis. He could not believe how this situation was handled. He knows fire watches are common and that even the smallest flare ups would be dealt with quickly especially on a windy day. He is also concerned with the wellbeing of my family members if this is the way that the Providence Fire Department handles such calls for service.

Sincerely,
Crystal Lilly

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