There was a big brouhaha about the Midland, Texas, Fire Chief's decision to post a squad (pickup) truck at Fire Station #5 to replace a fire engine. Since 90% or more of the calls to the fire department are for something other than fires, that made sense.
But a fire a few blocks away from Station 5 demolished a house, so a small group of citizens took it upon themselves to draw attention to the fact that the station had no fire engine with which to respond to a real fire.
The Chief tried to explain that the 5:25 minutes it took for a fire engine to get there was a typical response time. However, the Chief eventually relented and put the engine back at the station.
There were three things missing from the public discussion.
First, the Chief put together a slide show a while back to show that there was a small part of the community where response times were a little bit slower than elsewhere, and that called for a new fire station to be built. I don't have a copy of the slide show, but if I recall, the response times that justified the new station were about the same as the response time at the fire in question. So why weren't the response times in that slide show used by either side of this dispute to bolster their case?
Second, another goal of the Fire Chief is to demolish Station 5 and rebuild it from the ground up. The excuse was that the new fire trucks the department wants are too tall to fit through the garage door. So to say that Station 5 doesn't need a fire engine would be saying the station structure is just fine the way it is.
But, the demolition/rebuild is already in the plan, and if the momentum to spend the money is there, then no department head is going to turn it down. Perhaps that had something to do with the decision to put the engine back at the station.
Third, fire prevention is the most important aspect of fire fighting. If you're old enough, you'll remember Smokey's admonition about who can prevent forest fires. The fire in question was supposed to have started in the garage. But what started it and how could it have been prevented? Whatever the cause, it has been kept a secret from the public.