Home Lost to Fire; Owners Say Slow Response to Blame

Don and Lucy Todd say slow response time and improper equipment are responsible for the total loss of their two-story Wellborn home and their Cadillac.

Lucy says, "It's tragic to watch your home just go down like this. It's tragic."

The Todds say it took firemen more than 35 minutes to arrive. Suwannee County coordinator Johnny Wooley says it only took county firemen, who were first on the scene, 17 minutes to respond from about 17 miles away.

The Wellborn Volunteer Fire Station is only one mile from the Todd residence.

Tom Maynard, Fire Chief for the Wellborn Volunteer Fire Department says, "I don't know when they were toned out. We got our tone, and I live five or six miles from here, came to the station and got the engine."

Donald Todd says, "Me laying on the ground and my wife out there begging, pleading, crying, 'please put water on my house,' and no water available. The excuse is 'we don't have any money,' 'our equipment doesn't work.' That's a pretty poor excuse."

The Todds say they're lucky to only be mourning the loss of their home and not their
four-year-old granddaughter who escaped the burning home with them.

The cause is still undetermined. The Suwannee County Board of Commissioners will discuss Fire Department funding at a meeting with a consultant and firemen June 16 at 9:30 in the morning at the public library in Live Oak.