Fire victims concerned over response time - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fire victims concerned over response time

You could call it a "nightmare before Christmas" on Holiday Drive in West Memphis.

"House caught fire and everything was destroyed," says Yolanda Dale.

Yolanda and Jeremy Dale are left to sift through the ashes with their two kids. A charred angel that once topped their christmas tree fits this family's mood.

"Oh, it's been terrible," says Dale.

Equally disturbing is what the Dales' have heard from neighbors about the time it took firefighters to arrive on the scene.

"Some people said it took them 30 minutes," says Dale.

But fire officials say it was actually less than five minutes.

"The report shows that the response time was three minutes from the time of the call," says West Memphis Fire Marshal Jeffery Carter.

He says it may have seemed like an eternity to neighbors who watched helplessly as flames swept through the house.

"It could seem like hours," says Carter.

And while those on Holiday drive are glad firefighters got this blaze under control, some stand behind what they believe was a lagging response time.

"The emergency response should be better than what it is," says concerned neighbor James Payne.

As the debate rages, members of the Dale family are just happy to be alive.

"It's sad, but we'll be okay," says Yolanda Dale.

The Dales are currently staying with family members. And despite personnel shortages, fire officials are confident they can respond to any fire in West Memphis within two to three minutes.

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