Family Still Suffering Months After Losing Home
Attorney Says City is to Blame
A home on 5th Street in shreveport's Martin Luther King neighborhood caught fire in the early morning hours. The family called 9-1-1 but when Shreveport Firefighters got there... They had trouble putting water on the fire ... And a faulty fire truck water-pump may be to blame. The fire was ruled an accident and the fire department promised an investigation. But almost two months after Caldwell lost his home, the fire department has yet to tell the public what happened. Caldwell has since filed a claim with the city... With his attorney saying that a broken pump may have cost his client his home and belongings.
"They just couldn't get water, if they had or could have got water, my house, woudn't have been like this. I lost all my grandkids toys, everything. We had the toys in this living area so when they come, we could give them to them," Caldwell said in an earlier interview. Caldwell's attorney provided KTBS 3 with a radio traffic report of the night that shows that the fire department got to the home within 2 minutes-- even faster than the department's average response time in a city with a class one fire protection rating. But almost 5 minutes later... The crew realized there was a problem and they couldn't get water onto the house. Another 4 minutes goes by... And they finally get the water flowing. John Settle, Caldwell's attorney said, "We all respect firemen and we put them up there on a pedestal but if the fire engine didn't work and we had a delay of five minutes that obviously caused additional damage to his house." And the community echoes support of the firefighters in the area. William Ealy said, "they do a good job at what they do and they service the neighborhood." But still... People in the area say, if the city is at fault they should own up to it.
To date... Caldwell and his attorney have not filed a lawsuit, only the claim with the City's Risk Management office. But Caldwell's attorney tells KTBS 3 news that he's afraid the city won't adequately respond to this family's needs unless they sue. Meanwhile Joe Caldwell and his family have been staying in a home offered by a good samaritan until this situation is worked out. KTBS also checked with the city's water and sewerage department---Which said no problems with water pressure -- or 5th street fire hydrants have been reported before -- or after the Christmas Day fire. The Shreveport Fire Department has also declined to discuss the fire-- or its investigation with KTBS denying even an open records request regarding response time.