Firefighters respond to one home 1,100 times in three years

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Firefighters have been called to one home 1,100 times in the last three years.

The Virginia Beach couple who lives there calls for help twice a day. Firefighters respond to help George Niemiec, who struggles to get around.

"We wanted to keep him at home, and the only help he needs is getting in and out of bed," said his wife Shirley Niemiec.

Cameras were rolling as a crew showed up at the house on Thursday.

"When we decide to go to a call, it's not really whether or not we're going to go, whether it's a emergency or non-emergency," said District Chief Kenneth Pravet with the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

Firefighters said they are working to get this couple the appropriate resources. But there's a problem. The couple said they don't qualify for social services and can't afford home health care.

The fire department recognizes this is a problematic situation.

"We are not in the home health care business. We are not here to provide non-emergency support. We will certainly help mitigate any problem that you have. But if it's not an emergency, it's not what we can cover under our normal scope," Pravetz said.

Fire officials said they don't know how much all these calls for service are costing the city.

"Certainly there is cost associated with anyone going to one address multiple times," Pravetz said.

Shirley said she bought a device that could help lift George out of the bed.

"I got (it) before and I thought I could do it myself, but I couldn't. If the nurses aide comes out they have to stay at least three or four hours, it's $25 an hour." she said that is a price she can not afford.

The fire department said this is a growing problem in the city as they have seen a rise in the number of older people needing lift assistance.