The Main Stream

Nov 13, 2012 1:11 AM by Sean Mooney

Rillito community at risk with no fire protection

Tucson - Rillito covers a little more than two square miles just west of I-10 between Avra Valley and Tangerine Roads. It is a small community with a big problem. It is not covered under any fire district.

The unincorporated community's lack of life and property protecting services was made plain Monday during a mobile home fire that happened on Monday.

Crews from Northwest Fire and Golder Ranch arrived to find smoke and flames pouring from the place.

Once there, they got the situation under control quickly with no injuries. But with all the mobile homes in the area grouped so closely together it could have been much worse.

After residents called 911 operators routed the call to the closest fire department, Northwest Fire, but because it is not under the district's jurisdiction a request by the Pima County Sheriff's Department was needed. According to Northwest Fire's, Adam Golberg, officers at the scene thought someone might be inside the trailer and made the call. "When there is that life threat we will respond and mitigate the emergency", he said, "thankfully in this case we found there were no victims inside."

A good ending this time. But Northwest Fire's arrival was clearly affected by the process of getting clearance. If no life threatening situation exists a fire department is not obligated to respond. Many residents were not even aware that the area was not covered by a fire district.

In order to get fire protection the community must organize and vote to annex to a fire district. So far all attempts to organize and get that done has fallen short.

Adam Goldberg says with no fire protection the community continues to be at risk. "It is dangerous. There is no guarantee that in 20 or 30 seconds of calling 911, Northwest Fire trucks are going to be on the road fully geared up and ready to come, whether it is a fire emergency or a medical emergency."

There are also no fire hydrants in the entire area.

When there is a fire water has to be brought in to put it out.

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