RANDALLSTOWN, Md. - Images taken at the scene capture the fire on Hernwood Road in Randallstown at its peak on Monday, forcing fire fighters to try to contain it from the outside, too dangerous to douse it from the inside.
The Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company was the first company alerted, but even though it's just over two miles away, it didn't answer the call, and that angers a former board member, Tyrone Keys.
"Are they prepared to do the work of the community? The captain's been suspended for safety violations and as a result of that, what happened yesterday could very well have made the difference, if they were able to arrive sooner,” said Keys, “If they were able to arrive at all."
Fortunately, the two people inside the home at the time made it out on their own, and Baltimore County Fire Spokeswoman Elise Armacost says it's not uncommon for career firefighters to answer the call when a volunteer company cannot.
"You're dealing with men and women who are doing this as volunteers and it's a tricky business, because you depend on them, but they are volunteers,” said Armacost, “They're not paid. They don't have to be there."
Keys says that is setting the bar far too low for citizens who see a fire station in their community and expect to be there for them when they need it the most.
"As a former board member of the Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company, I can tell you that our thrust is to have responses to emergencies,” said Keys, “We don't look at it as a game or play time or anything like that. We're very serious about trying to respond, and any time you have a non-conformance that puts property or lives at risk that's very concerning."
Keys says while safety concerns raised at the station in the past have included sending unqualified people without the proper equipment into dangerous situations, the volunteers must do more even if it requires temporarily shutting it down to address its inadequacies.
He adds in the last quarter of last year, the fire engines failed to respond to more than 78% of their calls----odds no one should be willing to accept when there's an active fire.