Residents worry neighborhood growth could stretch JFRD crews thin

by: Catherine Varnum Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The growth of new neighborhoods could stretch Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department crews thin when multiple emergencies happen. It takes only a matter of minutes for one fire station to respond to a call in a Southside neighborhood.   

"It's the reason I moved here, is the proximity to (an) existing station," said homeowner Rich Johnson. 

But those quick response times could start to increase when 2,500 homes are finished being built in the same area.

"I don't think they're staffed well enough," said Johnson.

Fire Chief Marty Senterfitt tells Action News they will be watching the calls for service to the station. Right now, it's roughly 300 a month.

"It's not one of the busiest and has room to expand," said Senterfitt. 

But the next closest stations are more than five miles to the east and more than five miles to the west, with coverage areas of their own to handle. So, if one station is busy with more calls, one of the other stations nearby would have to come in and help.

"We'll shuffle apparatus around to get it in the right place," said Senterfitt.

The chief doesn't expect the change to happen immediately, but one homeowner just hopes they start preparing now.

"They need to budget money to provide coverage," said Johnson. The fire chief says some of the other busy fire stations are responding to about 400 calls a month.