Family Questions Slow Fire Response

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Johnson County family wants to know why it took so long for firefighters to respond to their burning home. (Published Sunday, Mar 31, 2013)

    A family in Venus wants to know why it took so long for firefighters to respond to their burning home late Friday night.

    The house is in the 2600 block of Howell Drive in Venus. It took more than a half hour for help to arrive, despite a fire station in neighboring Mansfield.

    The Helsley family sat around an outdoor fireplace on their patio Friday night when the flames got out of control, spreading to the house. They called 911.

    "It seemed to be a cross between being in Venus in one county and in Mansfield," said homeowner Lori Helsley. "And it took them about half an hour to get here and we just had to watch our house burned down."

    The Helsley's said their home may have been spared if the Mansfield Fire Department, with a fire house less than a mile away, had responded. But despite the proximity, their home is not in Mansfield.

    "Hey, we know how this is supposed to work but we're going to lose the whole house if we don't get here in five minutes," said homeowner John Helsley. "One of my sons called 911 again saying where are you, where are you? And they ended up hanging up on him, I guess because he was so upset."

    With the help of their entire neighborhood, the Helseley's spent Saturday trying to salvage what they could.

    "The good side of this is that no one got hurt and like she said we've got the best neighbors in the world," said Lori Helsely.

    On Sunday afternoon, Belinda Willis, Director of Communications & Marketing for the City of Mansfield emailed NBCDFW the following statement:

    "Mansfield received a request from Johnson County Friday evening (3/29/13) to provide mutual aid to a house fire not in Mansfield's jurisdiction. Mansfield Fire Rescue was the first on the scene and provided four pieces of equipment to fight the fire. The department personnel and equipment were on the scene for six hours."

    NBC 5 News reached out to the Johnson County Sheriff's Department for comment. We have not yet received a response.