The Bethel-Tate Fire Department said it followed policy when a single firefighter was asked to respond to a structure fire Sunday morning about 500 feet away.
"It all boils down to safety. Lives are first. Property is second," Fire Chief Rick Stowell said. "You have to protect lives. Whether it's the citizens that we protect or our own personnel, that's the main thing." Stowell said there were five firefighters working Sunday and four were on other medical runs, leaving one back at the station when a structure fire call came in.
He explained it's standard procedure for firefighters to respond in at least a group of two.
"I have a policy and it's much like every other policy that any other fire department has. We operate in pairs, we don't go by ourselves," Stowell said.