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Fire response time was faster than reported

A few weeks ago, there was a story about a house fire in the 2900 block of Crater Lake Avenue, and it said the response time for the fire was seven minutes. But the house is only 3/4 of a mile from the nearest fire station. Why so long?

— Billy J., Medford

Well, Billy, this particular fire — which occurred July 20 — did report a seven-minute response time. However, in this case, that was just a glitch, according to Justin Bates, deputy chief of Medford fire station No. 5, which responded to the call.

Bates said response times are recorded in a few stages — from the dispatch 911 call to when the fire station is dispatched, then from the time the bells sound at the station until the engine pulls out of the station, and then the travel time from the station to the scene.

In this case, the firefighters en route merely forgot to confirm the time using the computer systems in the engine. Bates tracked all the calls and traced the engine's route, and using GPS, was able to discern the actual response times.

The first leg from 911 dispatch to the fire station dispatch was 28 seconds, from the bells sounding to leaving the station was 1:19, and the travel time was 2:16. So the total response time was actually only 4:03, which is a pretty fast time, Bates noted.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.