Out of Reach

It's been more than 48 hours since a home stood in place of a burned pile near Old Maid Canyon Road.

Tuesday afternoon, a fire erupted at a home near White Swan, forcing a family of 8 to scramble for their lives.

The homeowner's nephew, Donald Isadore says the family repeatedly called 911 for hours, pleading for aid.

"Unfortunately, during one of the phone calls, Yakima County Fire District 5 told my aunt they could not come out here because this was out of their jurisdiction. "

With no help coming, the house was left to burn.

Firefighters say Isadore's aunt's house lies less than a mile north of Old Maid Canyon Road, the dividing line between the boundary covered by the fire district and what firefighters call, "no man's land."

The fire district says those boundaries were created about 10 years ago to tighten the district up -- anyone in "no man's land" would have to take extra precautions and fireproof their own homes.

"This actually came as a shock not only to our family, but to our community members here in White Swan," said Isadore, "I think that each and every one of us in this community, which is rural and unincorporated, need to be aware of this type of situation."

"We're in the business to serve," said District 5 Fire Chief Brian Vogel, "But again, our primary responsibility is for people within our district boundary, and the firefighters within District 5 and in any fire district, their main priority is to provide a service to those people."

Chief Vogel says if he sent crews to a fire outside of district boundaries, it could open up possible lawsuits if something were to go wrong -- however, Donald Isadore believes it should have been worth the risk.

"For them to not come out here and to provide those services, this home could have probably been prevented from burning down if we had those services available for our family," said Isadore.

Fire District 5 says this is only the second house fire, since the boundaries were put into place, where crews were unable to respond.

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