JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A homeowner in the Chet's Creek neighborhood is angry Sunday over what he says was a slow response to a fire at his home and a malfunctioning fire hydrant. He is considering a lawsuit against the city.
Art Pue and his wife were asleep in this home on Kelsey Island drive at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning. A neighbor saw the garage and these two vehicles on fire and banged on the door.
The two got out safely but then things got worse, says Pue.
"It took nearly twenty minutes for the first fire truck to arrive out here. In view of the fact the fire department is 3.2. or 3.1 miles, I may be off by a tenth of a mile away from here. That is an exorbitant amount of time for a fire truck to arrive from there to here," he said.
But Pue said, the first crew was able to contain the fire in and around the garage pumping all the water from their truck, a second and third truck arrived. Pue says the firemen then hooked up a hose to this fire hydrant about six houses down the street.
"When they tried to pump water into the truck they found the fire hydrant wouldn't pump any water at all," Pue said.
It took 15 minutes for the firemen to get water from a second hydrant down the street he says.
"The fire reignited in the garage, and spread to the remainder of the house and burnt it down!"
Pue says he lost memorabilia from a long career as an officer in the Army and as a golf teaching pro as well as photos of his great grandparents in Ireland and Scotland and other family members. Pue says he is very angry and he is going to take legal action against the city.
"If I don't meet code here when I build a house, I am going to get fined," Pue says. "The same applicable laws should be given to the city, when they don't live up to making and enforcing their own rules, they should pay me."
Pue believes 70% of his home could have been saved. The bravery of the firemen is not in question, but he says response was too slow, and when firemen could not get water from the hydrant, they could not fulfill their obligations.
Pue says the Fire Marshall told him the fire was likely caused by an electrical problem in the garage, but the investigation is not complete.
JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce tells First Coast News JEA is responsible for maintaining the hydrants but the fire department is in charge with testing the hydrants and submitting work orders to repair malfunctioning hydrants. They had not received one for the hydrant in question.
The fire department has not responded for comment.