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Brownout impacts response to house fire

People in a Lexington neighborhood are furious over how long it took for firefighters to respond to a fire.

The fire started Thursday afternoon on Sheridan Drive. Firefighters say when they got the call, the closest station was closed due to a brownout. A brown-out is when you take an engine or ladder company out of service temporarily. The city of Lexington uses brownouts to reduce overtime costs.

The second closest station was unavailable to respond because its crew was sent to another call.

"When our EMS volume exceeds the amount of EMS units we have on duty, we take and convert that engine over to an EC unit or an ambulance, and they respond as an ambulance," said Asst. Chief Mike Gribbin with the Lexington Fire Department.

That left the third closest station, Station 20 on Harrodsburg & Arrowhead, to respond.

Firefighters say it took the first unit seven minutes to arrive. A spokesperson for the fire department says the national standard for first response is four minutes, and fires usually double in size every minute.

"Ideally it would have been better if 12 was in the station, and we could have responded with that," said Asst. Chief Gribbin.

While people at the scene said they are grateful that no one was injured, many are worried about what could happen the next time.

"It kind of takes people's safety at risk when you go shutting down emergency crews and things," said Tambra Boyd.

"It's just got to stop. They got to put our men back in the firehouses," said Theresa Mims.

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