Budget cuts left one Tacoma neighborhood without a fire station for years. Now the city plans to reopen Station No. 5 in hopes of getting badly needed service in the Tideflats area and northeast Tacoma neighborhood.
"The city allowed these homes complicit with that is also the responsibility of taking care of the people that are here and their needs," said Chris Murphy, who moved into a new home in the northeast neighborhood 15 years ago.
"We're kind of the forgotten area of Tacoma," he said.
Murphy wants the city to step up public safety services to the area.
"We've had up to four stations in the Tideflats area in Tacoma,” said Tacoma firefights and local union representative Matt Frank. “Over time and financial difficulties in the City of Tacoma, that's dwindled to no current operating fire stations. "
Frank said slow response times put both firefighters and the community at risk.
"We did have a house fire up here and it took a long time to get any help," said Murphy.
Councilman Robert Thoms said he’s heard the complaints from the neighborhood about response times and introduced a resolution to restore service to the area.
"There have been instances because of road closures because of the tremendous amount of activity going in the port the lack of the 11th street bridge being open anymore there have been response times that are well beyond the appropriate time which is four minutes there have been some that are in the 10 and 12-minute range simply because of where the trucks are currently."
Councilman Thoms says city council passed a resolution that will first put about $2 million to fund an engine staffed by three firefighters. The engine will operate from the training station in Northeast Tacoma, and it is expected to be up and running by October.
Next, the city plans to re-open fire station number five which has been closed for the last five years.
It’s expected to up upgraded and open in 2018, and it will be staffed to run 24 hours per day.
Frank said it would help them better serve the area.
"Because there are no citizens that live in the area of the tide flats but they do surround the area so sometimes it does get neglected. The tide flats are a very high-risk area it's not as frequent, but it's important that we get there in a timely manner."