Aurora firefighters respond to fire from 3 miles away instead of Cunningham firefighters 1 mile away
House fires occurred in Aurora city limits
Last Updated: 110 days ago
AURORA, Colo. - When two Aurora homes caught fire in a southeast Aurora neighborhood, firefighters did not respond from the closest fire station.
Two homes were destroyed in the 17000 block of Temple Drive on Tuesday afternoon.
Aurora Fire dispatched firefighters from Station 10, about three miles away near Hampden Avenue and Reservoir Road. There is a closer fire station, but it's in the Cunningham Fire Protection District. Cunningham Station 62 is at Smoky Hill and Buckley Roads, one mile from the houses.
7NEWS confirmed there is a mutual aid agreement between Aurora Fire and Cunningham Fire, meaning Cunningham could have helped if Aurora asked for help.
An Aurora Fire spokeswoman told 7NEWS that firefighters try to get to a call within eight minutes. Firefighters from Aurora Station 10 were at the homes in seven.
"To do that in seven minutes amazes me every day," said Cunningham Fire Protection Chief Jerry Rhodes.
The drive from Cunningham Station Two to the homes is about four minutes.
"Does three minutes make a difference? Does it save that second home?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.
"Time always makes a difference, but time makes a difference on other calculations," said Rhodes.
Rhodes said mutual aid depends on where the other crews are located and if they're even available or already on a call in their own district.
"It all depends on, unfortunately, that very first caller," said Rhodes.
If the first 911 call reported a fire that was just started, Rhodes said it could be possible to save the second home with a crew that responded faster. If the first 911 call reported flames showing outside, a quicker response would likely not change the outcome.
He also said mutual aid requires the responding agency to first dispatch its own units and then call for help from the neighboring jurisdiction.
"If we have to pick up the phone, it can actually take a few minutes," said Rhodes. "Sometimes the closest unit that's in a different jurisdiction may not get there in as timely basis as the units from the jurisdiction. So even though they're physically farther away, they may arrive first."
7NEWS also learned Aurora and Cunningham have an automatic aid agreement with four fire houses. Aurora Fire Station 11 near Iliff Avenue and Havana Street and Cunningham Fire Station 61 near Iliff Avenue and Parker Road have an automatic aid agreement where both stations are notified of a fire in their areas simultaneously. Whoever is closest and available responds to the call.
The same agreement exists with Aurora Fire Station 13 near Arapahoe Road and E-470 and Cunningham Station 63 at 5405 S. Riviera Way near Eaglecrest High School.
According to Rhodes, Aurora Fire is working on a plan to create more automatic aid agreements with Cunningham.
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