IFD: Another entrance wouldn't have made a difference at explosion


The Indianapolis Fire Department claims another entrance into the Richmond Hill subdivision would not have made a difference in its response during Saturday night's deadly explosion.

In Marion County, any subdivision with 50 or more homes is only required to have one access point. Richmond Hill has more than 120 homes with one entrance on Sherman Road. However, just a few miles away in White River Township, a fairly new ordinance requires subdivisions with 50 or more homes to have at least two entrances.

Fire Chief Jeremy Pell said those extra access points can and have made a difference when every moment counts.

"In my years of experience, we have used multiple access points and we actually do it on a fairly routine basis," said Pell. "Two entrances improves our response time, but it also improves our ability to respond to a particular house, because often times once we put hose on the ground, we can't get past that one house."

He added that an extra exit point could also help during an evacuation when hundreds of homeowners are trying to leave their neighborhood at the same time first responders are rushing in.

"People trying to get out of the neighborhood at the same time we're trying to get in is a challenge getting those fire trucks into the neighborhood," he explained. "That's another situation where you could use your alternative entrances."

Captain Rita Burris with the Indianapolis Fire Department told Fox59, first responders did the best they could with what they were facing Saturday night, and that the response went as smoothly as it could have.

"I don't think that having two entrances would've made a difference based on the characteristic of the type of incident they were responding to," she said.

Still, Chief Pell believes the benefits of having more than one access point is worth looking into for any community.

"These requirements... is all done with an eye on making this community safer for our residents so that we can respond efficiently and save precious moments when their life's in danger," he said.

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