Slow response time and faulty equipment are being blamed for the destruction of an East Texas home, that was on fire for at least 30 minutes before the first help arrived. Ashes are all that remain of an Easton home belonging to Dinetha Barkins, but how it got that way has angered a community. According to Gregg County records, the first call came at 4:35 this morning.
Witnesses say it started much earlier. No one was available from the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, so Elderville was called and arrived at 5:06, 31 minutes after the first call. What has some residents infuriated is that less than two miles away from the fire, is the Easton Volunteer Fire Department. It could not get to the fire because their engine wasn't running at the time.
"I feel real bad about it because Easton is my home and I feel Easton should have responded when they got the call," said fire victim Dinetha Barkins.
The Elderville Volunteer Fire Department poured 1500 gallons of water on the fire and left. But they soon found, it was not enough. The fire rekindled and they had to come back on the scene, helped by units in Tatum.
"When I got here, the blaze was already burning on this section of the house, and then from this section they sprayed it and had it under control. I don't know if communications played a part in it. I say they had it under control and it could have been saved," said witness Reginald Jones.
A water truck with Easton, not a fire truck, arrived close to 8:45 a.m., but it was too late.
"Easton, why did you not respond when the call came in to you all?" Barkins says.