Photo taken of citizens helping firefighters sparks discussion - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Photo taken of citizens helping firefighters sparks discussion

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Memphians helping to fight fires? That is what a picture making the rounds on the Internet shows. Memphians helping to fight fires? That is what a picture making the rounds on the Internet shows.
Four Memphis firefighters are recovering after a wall collapsed on them as they fought the fire in a vacant building on Walnut Street. Four Memphis firefighters are recovering after a wall collapsed on them as they fought the fire in a vacant building on Walnut Street.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Memphians helping to fight fires? That is what a picture making the rounds on the Internet shows. It is raising questions about whether cuts made to fire services are too deep.

The photo appears to show citizens helping fire fighters pull a water line in a Saturday blaze that injured four firefighters. But did it have anything to do with recent budget cuts?

Four Memphis firefighters are recovering after a wall collapsed on them as they fought the fire in a vacant building on Walnut Street.

"My concern is not so much them helping, it's why they saw the need to help. Did we not have enough people there?" wondered Thomas Malone, Memphis Fire Association.

Fire union president Thomas Malone says they cannot speculate what happened in this photo, but they know the closest truck was out of service Saturday due to the cuts.

"Had that truck been in service, it would have been there sooner," said Malone.

The first truck arrived on scene in 11 minutes. Malone says the response failed safety standards for high rises.

"It calls for four trucks to get on the scene within eight to nine minutes," he explained.

Fire Director Alvin Benson shared his interpretation of the photo. He said it is common for citizens to want to help.

"I think it was just a photographer took an opportunity to take a picture of some helpful civilians," he said, but did agree that the first truck would have arrived sooner without a brownout.

"That was the case that day so we browned out the truck," he said. "Yes, when we brown out, there's always the potential the response time can be compromised."

Benson says a lack of manpower was not a factor at the point in the fire when the wall collapsed.

"There was a fire company there that helped pull the firefighters to rescue there," he added.

All of the firefighters are out of the hospital, but one firefighter will be down for some time recovering.

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