Charlotte man tries to put house fire out before department response



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A man in southwest Charlotte said he tried to put out a fire himself while waiting for firefighters to respond. He said he had to call three times this morning before they arrived on S.J. Lawrence Road near Steele Creek.

Eyewitness News spoke to firefighters who say they got there on time.

The pink insulation piled in front yard and the charred remnants of what used to be a patio are just some of what needs to be clean up and repaired after a fire at a southwest Charlotte home Monday morning.

"I've lived here 15 years, and I built the house. And I remodeled the whole house," said homeowner Jeff Foor.

Officials said a grill on the back patio started the fire, which spread through part of the house and into the attic. The estimated damage is $40,000.

Foor said he thinks that number could have been less if firefighters had responded sooner. Foor also said he called the fire department several times and had to wait 15 to 20 minutes before they arrived.

In that time frame he says he was able to get his wife and three kids out of the house and even tried to put the fire out himself with a water hose.

"They're only like two miles away and I had to call them three times and they finally got here," said Foor.

Charlotte firefighters said they responded within a minute of getting the call and arrived in less than five minutes. A communications manager for the department says the response times were well within guidelines.

"It’s a minute to respond for call taking and within six minutes for a response from the fire department," said Greg Houser, CFD Communications operations manager.

When we asked the department about the three calls they told us the homeowner’s phone technology is to blame.

Eyewitness News learned the homeowner’s first call went to York County dispatch and they could not find the address. Charlotte firefighters said his second call was the first one they received, and when he called back again they were already on their way.

"On the first call, we received his daughter called at the same time and we had a response on the way," said Houser.

Fire fighters say it took 39 minutes to get the fire under control.

Foor says he's glad his wife and three kids are safe.  Now he says it's time to rebuild.
"Everyone is safe. My philosophy is, you do what you can and move forward," Foor said.

Firefighters haven't examined the phone but believe the homeowner has an older model phone without GPS technology.

They say he lived only two miles from the state line which is why his call was originally sent to York County.