Middletown residents worry about slow response to motel fire after layoffs

11 firefighters dismissed previous day

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - A day after 11 firefighters were laid off in Middletown, a motel fire demonstrated the diminished fire protection in the city.

Now residents are wondering if they are in danger.

Middletown had only two engines available – a total of six firefighters - to respond to a fire at the Super 8 Sunday night.

Prior to Saturday's layoffs, the standards would have called for 20 firefighters to reach the motel in 10 minutes.

But here is a breakdown of the response:

> Three Middletown firefighters arrive six minutes after the call;

> Three more arrive seven minutes later, 13 minutes after the call;

After neighboring agencies arrive. it takes a total of 27 minutes to amass 20 firefighters – 17 minutes longer than the standard response.

To the Middletown residence we spoke to, having only 13 firefighters on duty at any given time is unacceptable

"Coming from a big city, I think it's a little messed up," said Amanda Lockaby, who recently moved to Middletown from Indianapolis.

"In Indianapolis you have a firehouse on just about every corner, and to know that that they are possibly across the county and that's all they have, heaven forbid me and my son are at home.

"I'd want them to be able to get there more efficiently."

"Middletown is a big town and they need more than 13 to take care of it," said Lois Jewell of Middletown

"The response times are going to be extremely slow and it's vital for our community to have fast responders not only for our structures but also the community members as well," said Janeatte Frazier of Madison Township.

Before Saturday's layoff,Middletown might have had an additional engine and three more firefighters to respond.

The fire at the Super 8 was ruled accidental and did roughly $22,000 in damage.

The firefighters union voted to reject an offer from the city that would have saved the jobs.

WCPO's attempt to get on-the-record comment from the command staff and the firefighters union were unsuccessful due to the holiday.

We are told that Fire Chief Steve Botts will speak to the media regarding the layoffs and the fire on Tuesday.

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