A Florida man wonders if his burning house could have been saved had his local fire station not turned him away when he needed them most.
Neville Morrison, 67, ran barefoot from his burning home Nov. 15. He was only four doors down from the nearest fire station in Plantation, Florida.
When he arrived he said he began banging on the door, shouting that his house was on fire.
But Morrison was turned away. He says the emergency medical technician who answered the door told him to go home and call 911.
“I said, 'I have no phone,’” Morrison told the Sun-Sentinel. “I said, ‘You can see the blaze coming out of the roof of my house.’ He told me twice to call 911, and then he closed the door with me standing outside.”
It didn’t take long for a neighbor and passerby to notice the blaze. They both dialed 911 for Morrison.
But it still took nearly eight minutes for the volunteer fire team to arrive on the scene, according to the Raw Story.
Department spokesman Joel Gordon said the response time is not outside the normal range of acceptable times — they average about six minutes. He declined to name the paramedic who turned Morrison away.
“It's not ideal for us, but it's not out of the ordinary,” he said. “On occasion this does happen and we get them longer than that.”
The department is not investigating the slow response time, but Gordon said they are investigating why the first technician Morrison contacted turned him away.
“Obviously that's not the way we do business,” Gordon said. “Now there is an investigation going on.
“The individual has been counseled already and spoken to,” he added. “It was a mistake, an obvious mistake. It appears to be a moment of bad judgment.”
Gordon also suggested that in the panic of the fire Morrison might not have been able to provide his address.
That’s a claim Morrison disputes.
“He never asked me my address,” he said. “I lived in my house 24 years. In my sleep I know my address.”
Morrison’s home was destroyed by the fire and Gordon said there was probably nothing the fire department could have done to save it.
“The fire was so bad, whether it would have been three minutes or eight minutes, it wouldn't have made a difference,” he said.
No one was injured, but Morrison’s two cats were killed in the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
The American Red Cross moved Morrison, his wife, and three children to a nearby hotel.