Massive flames engulfed several semi trucks before daybreak Saturday at Love’s Travel Stop.
Steve Dunham, Dayton Fire Fighter’s Union President, told News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy that the closest fire station was closed when the fire broke out shortly before 6 a.m.
“Engine 10, probably the first due engine, was out of service, browned out because of staffing reason,” he said.
The city of Dayton said brown outs at a station happen when staffing gets low and the department temporarily shuts down certain stations. The city says this helps the fire departments continue operating as efficiently as possible.
Dunham says this has been happening frequently at Station 10 for more than a year, a practice he called dangerous.
“The further away we have to come … the fire can grow rapidly,” he said.
From Station 10 to Love’s is 1.1 miles. The distance from Station 11, which was the first to respond, is 2.5 miles.
Station 11 was able to reach Loves within 4½ minutes, but Dunham said that is enough time for the situation to get worse.
“The fire can double in size rather quickly,” he said.
The city told us last year, “ensuring public safety for both our citizens and firefighters is our number one priority” but Dunham said to accomplish that they need to have those stations running.
“We want to have the staffing on the scene when we need them,” he said.