I-TEAM: Slow response to another raging Medina fire raises new questions

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MEDINA, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered video of another raging fire in Medina where it took 20 minutes to get water on the flames.

We’re asking new questions since we also recently reported a similar response to a fire in Medina that turned deadly. We previously reported it took 23 minutes from the time of the 911 call to get water on the flames of a trailer home where a woman died.

Now, we’ve investigated a call for a raging house fire on Friendship Street that left two people hurt.

On a 911 call, a woman reports “We got a house continually exploding. It’s on fire. It’s on fire.”

Police body camera video shows witnesses at the scene watched with one big question in common.

One person says, “There’s no fire trucks…”

Another says to an officer, “Where is the fire trucks? They on the way?”

And, yet another approaches an officer with, “The fire trucks?….”

Again, the video shows, from the time of the 911 call, it took 20 minutes for firefighters to get there and start putting water on the fire.

This case and the one we reported on earlier both happened last month on weekends. And, we’ve revealed Medina does not have fire stations staffed overnight or on weekends.

In fact, at the scene on Friendship, you hear officers trying to explain.

One told a resident, “They all have to come from home, go to their fire stations, then come here. We don’t have a full -time fire department.” A resident responded, “Oh, that’s ridiculous.”

So, what about that? Again, we’ve uncovered two fires like this within weeks. We sent questions to the mayor of Medina. We asked if anything is being done to get more firefighters to scenes like these more quickly? Any talk about what can be done?

In an e-mail, Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the city is working to hire a new fire chief. And, he said, “When a new chief is appointed we will review and make recommendations to council to fill gaps on overnight shift, weekend days/afternoons or both.”

But, he also says, somehow, the town has to find the money. It can’t do more without more money.

Medina police footage photo

“We are limited with a 1.25% income tax rate that has a partial credit. We are the lowest city in the county and one of the lowest in the state,” the mayor said in an email.

We also asked whatever happened to discussions about having a few firefighters on duty overnight on a trial basis.

To that, the mayor responded, “We are hoping to have further discussions with Medina Hospital for possibly using two medics coupled with two firefighters to handle fire calls when not needed for medic calls on weekends and overnight shifts. This discussion was again put on hold until our new fire chief is selected and in place.”

The Mayor says he’s in the final stages of selecting a new fire chief.

We’ll keep monitoring fire calls in Medina and any changes in fire department response.

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