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Albemarle Fire Chief Defends Crew's Response Time to Keswick Fir - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Fire Chief Defends Crew's Response Time to Keswick Fire

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Albemarle County's fire chief is firing back at criticism that his team didn't respond fast enough to a fatal fire in Keswick. At Wednesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Chief Dan Eggleston defended his team - saying they responded quickly and aggressively.

That fatal fire, which claimed the life of a mother and her two children, wasn't intended to be the highlight of a presentation on the fire department's delivery system, but Eggleston wanted to talk about it.

He called it a "horrible outcome,” and maintains that his guys were not dragging their feet to battle that blaze.

"I just want people to know that we responded to that scene really quickly and with force and did everything we could,” said Eggleston.

It was a meeting called with the intention of bringing the new board members up to speed on how a decision to invest in county stations has been paying off since the year 2000 - but criticism over this fatal fire at the Carriage Hill Farm apartments quickly became a talking point when Eggleston told the board his team did not withhold critical service.

"The first engine on scene, Monticello engine arrived on scene in 10 minutes and 39 seconds, and immediately went to work without hesitation, knocked the fire down in bedroom, moved one occupant just before the roof collapsed. So that gives you some idea of the kind of advance start this fire had,” said Eggleston.

The chief says just six minutes after the first unit was on scene there were 18 firefighters battling the fire. Monticello and the East Rivanna stations had the fastest response times out of anyone from both the city and the county.

"And the dispatch protocol that led to that decision is based on modeling and actual records of previous responses to that area,” said Eggleston.

During his presentation, Eggleston talked about the importance of making sure the city and county work together through the mutual aid agreement. The chief says during the Keswick fire, the city played a vital role in handling calls in the urban parts of the county.

Eggleston says they have started an initial review of the fire and are working with stakeholders to determine if they need to make any changes in protocol.

Meanwhile supervisors and the county executive applauded the work of firefighters.

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