NAPLES, Fla. - The fire chief is sending out an S.O.S to the city and residents for more man power. It's an issue he's been trying to address for more than 4 years.
Chief Stephen McInerny wants to add 6 firefighters to his 14 man crew. On Monday, he had to call in additional help, from North and East Naples Fire and Rescue District, to battle a high rise fire.
Chief Mcinerny says "we've had fires in the past, we're going to have fires in the future I just can't tell you when and where that's going to break out."
But there is one thing he's sure of, "we have high risk properties, not unlike any major city in the state of Florida but we're a compact smaller area nontheless we have very hazardous type occupancies."
Those include hospitals, nursing homes, some of the largest homes in the country, and high rises. Chief McInerny says fighting high rise fires is labor intensive.
Fortunately on Monday morning that wasn't the case at the Le Parc Condos on Gulfshore Boulevard. Dozens of people evacuated after a plumber working on pipes accidentally sparked a fire.
No one was hurt, but it did cause $100,000 in damage.
In any case, the chief says they don't have enough man power to provide the city with the level of service needed. He says, "can we call mutual aid absolutely, do we use mutual aid absolutely, but do you want to wait 25 minutes to get additional help or do you think we should have that help immediately available."
One resident we talked to agrees. Bill Wiehl says "especially for some of those high rises theres a lot of people in those high rises they need to make sure the sprinklers are up to snuff and the fire supressions there are up to date."
There are 37 high rises in Naples, 15 have no or partial sprinkler systems.
The chief thinks it will cost at least half a million dollars a year to bring in more firefighters.
He will plead his case to city council on March 17.