Contrary to residents’ complaints about response time, firefighters arrived at the scene of Sunday morning’s Larchmont Acres fire
three minutes after being notified, a Town of Mamaroneck police and fire departments inquiry shows.
“Anytime of day, that’s excellent,” Fire Chief Sean McCarthy said at a press conference Wednesday at Town Hall.
The investigation showed that the Town and Westchester County emergency response system worked as designed when 911 calls reporting the fire, which forced the evacuation of the 48-unit building 4, first rang in to the police department at 4:28 a.m., McCarthy said.
Reports show that within a minute the desk officer on duty contacted Westchester County emergency dispatch, also called “60 Control,” which in turn paged the Town’s fire department.
A Fire Chief arrived at the Richbell Road fire three minutes later, and firefighting equipment was on the scene another minute after that, McCarthy said.
That’s markedly different from some residents’ claims that fire fighters took up to 10 minutes to get there.
While the investigation showed that that some of the firefighters’ pagers did not activate immediately, that didn’t hinder response times as alternative paging systems were used as well, McCarthy said.
“It was very adequate,” he said.
With 70 firefighters from various agencies including the villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck and New Rochelle responding to the blaze, it did take some firefighters longer than others to arrive on the scene, he said.
However, Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe said residents’ complaints could have been spurred in part by the sensation of time moving slowly when awaiting help.
“When you’re frightful you want immediate response,” she said. “Sometimes what seems like 10 minutes could be four minutes.”
Meantime, time is indeed dragging on for displaced residents who won’t be able to return home until problems with the building’s electrical and plumbing systems are repaired, town officials said. Some of those problems are fire-related. Some are not, said Town Administrator Stephen Altieri.
The Red Cross had helped find all displaced residents places to stay until they can return home. However, O’Keeffe said local landlords have offered empty apartments to people who need them.