February 5, 2014
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors heard from the Fire Chief about the agreement between the city and the county.
The exact terms of that agreement have recently come under question after the fire that killed three people in January.
That devastating fatal fire happened roughly six months after that agreement between Charlottesville and Albemarle changed.
A mutual aid agreement changed on July 1st. Before, the way it worked was the city firefighters would automatically respond from the closest station to a fire call in the county.
But under the new agreement, the city firefighters have to be asked to help in order to respond to certain areas based on how close the stations are.
According to Fire Chief Dan Eggleston, there is no question nothing could have changed the tragic outcome.
"I want to be absolutely clear that we did not withhold any critical life safety resources from this tragic event. To imply that the outcome would have been any different if we had varied our initial response is incorrect."
So where was the closest available response team? It turns out, Albemarle County.
"The first two units on scene at this call Monticello and Rivanna had the fastest response times to that area, of any station city or county.”
City firefighters were not asked to respond.
The fire killed a 34-year-old Keswick woman and her two children.
Because of the extent of that fire, investigators were not able to determine the cause. They did narrow down the origin of it to close to a baseboard heater.
Chief Eggelston said they are planning on doing outreach to that community on fire prevention.