Published: Apr 18, 2011 11:25 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2011 8:26 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla.- The Naples Fire Department wants be able to provide the best service they can to residents living in the city. But today, Fire Chief Steve McInerny told city council members that they're having a hard time protecting one particular part of the city.

"We had some 23 annexations since 1989, and we're looking to provide the same level of service on the eastern end of the city as we do on the north and south sides of the city," explained McInerny.

The chief plans to do that by adding a new engine with 12 firefighters. The new engine would cost $600,000, while the crew's salaries and protective gear would cost another $892,000.

"The money would have to come out of current existing ad valorem taxes or perhaps generating new taxes," McInerny told WINK News.

Chief McInerny said he understands we're going through hard economic times right now, but the public's safety is suffering.

"We have respond times of anywhere from seven to eleven minutes. The national standard requires six minutes or less 90 percent of the time," he said.

Another issue: The department is short-handed. They have been operating with 63 personnel for the past 20 years, and they're only getting busier.

"Our run volume is up 12 percent just in the 1st quarter of this year alone," said McInerny. "

The department hopes to add the new engine with firefighters by late October 2013.