Lightning fire sparks talk of slow response times in Bartram Springs area

Residents want nearby fire station

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's a terrifying thought: Lightning strikes your home while you and your family are inside.

It's something Brian Frampton experienced firsthand Monday afternoon.

"All of a sudden there was this huge clap of thunder, a bright flash," Frampton said. "I got shocked, went up the mouse. I was on the computer, went up my arm. I heard my daughter scream from the back of the room."

The next thing he knew, he smelled smoke and realized fire was coming from the roof. He called 911 and said it took about 20 minutes before firefighters arrived at his home on Ginnie Springs Road.

The people who live in the neighborhood say its been around for about 10 years. And when there's a fire, it still takes several minutes for firefighters to respond. And the clock is ticking.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue says the call to Frampton's home came in as the nearest fire truck was clearing up a wreck on Interstate 295 North. Officials say that accounted for the longer response time.

According to a call sheet, the fire was reported at 5:13 p.m. Engine 54 completed its assignment at the crash on I-295 and was en route to the fire at 5:15 p.m. It arrived on scene at 5:31 p.m.

Chief Martin Senterfitt says building a fire station in the Bartram Springs area will cut that response time down to less than five minutes.

"It will be quite significant," he said. "In our line of work, it really is all about the response time. How quickly can I get there to solve the emergency?"

Frampton said he'll be glad to see a fire station in the area. He's also thankful because he said his fire could have been a lot worse.

"We could have been hurt," he said. "A little shock isn't bad. I've been shocked a lot more than that in the Navy. So we're fine. The house is just material stuff and it's just the roof. We'll get it fixed and just keep on going."

The groundbreaking for a new fire station in the area is set to take place this summer. It will be up and running about six months later.

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