IFD stations investigated for response times

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An investigation is underway into how fast Indianapolis firefighters respond to emergencies. IMPD is investigating allegations coming from Indianapolis firefighters about some of their own.

When lives could be on the line in an emergency, every second counts.

"It is our duty to save lives and protect property and so we want to do that in as timely a manner as we can," said Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Burris.

Internal affairs is looking into whether two IFD stations on the north side reported getting to scenes faster than they really did.

City-County Councilwoman Christine Scales said the investigation was sparked by reports she received from IFD Station 21 and brought to Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

"There are all kinds of consequences that can come from early markings and it is serious," said Scales of reporting false run times.

Right before a fire crew leaves the station, they hit a button.

"They get on the apparatus and they head towards the scene," explained Burris, who said once a crew gets on scene, the officer on the truck hits a button to mark the time a crew gets to the scene.

The first allegation being investigated comes from a May 26th run, where Station 21 and Station 6 both responded. Run time logs show Station 6's crew left 22 seconds after Station 21's crew.

Station 6 got on scene a minute and 19 seconds after station 21's crew got there.

"There's virtually no way they could have made it in the same time, given twice the distance," said Scales, explaining that Station 6 was a much further distance from that scene on that incident.

The second call being investigated came June 6th.

Run time logs show a crew from Station 9 left 27 seconds after station 21's crew. On the way, Station 21 was told to turn around, because Station 9 was already on the scene.

"They start to do a turn around at the parking lot at the church at 79th and Allisonville and they see Engine 9 coming down through the intersection at 82nd and Allisonville," said Scales of the Station 21 crew. "They're traveling through the intersection and as Engine 21 is watching, Engine 9 speeds past them and they're a little bit in shock."

Now, Scales said fire crews need to answer the allegations, but it won't be easy.

"They're concerned about their rank. They're concerned about retribution. The people at Station 21 have already been receiving harassing phone calls," said Scales.

The truth could come down to firefighters answering tough questions about the alleged actions of some of their own.

Burris said the department will let the investigation run its course, but said getting on scene is never a competition between stations and crews are not encouraged to take any kind of safety risks to get on scene the fastest.