Fire contract in Village of Golf means closest station isn't always the one to respond

Boynton Beach provides fire protection to village
Posted at 7:23 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 19:26:36-04

NewsChannel 5 uncovered the reason why when there's an emergency in one shopping district, the closest fire station does not respond.
A woman collapsed in the parking lot of the Village Square at Golf shopping center Monday. 

Several people called 911, thinking help was just seconds away. A county fire station is one block away, near the intersection of Woolbright Road and Military Trail.

Instead, paramedics from a station two miles away got the call and needed six minutes to get to the plaza.

“I heard the screaming so I called 911,” remembered Jose Mendez.

He looked out the window of Jacob’s Restaurant and Delicatessen and saw a woman on the pavement.

He and others told NewsChannel 5 it felt like at least 15 minutes before paramedics arrived on scene.

“In my mind, I was like why did they take so long, they're right here,” Mendez said, pointing to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue station 41, one block away.

The shopping center is part of the Village  of Golf; a municipality that pays Boynton Beach Fire Rescue to respond to emergencies within the village. So firefighters from two miles away, Boynton Beach’s closest station responded.

“It doesn't makes sense,” said Thomas Martin, who visits the shopping center twice a week. “If they're right across the street, why don't they come here?”

Deputy Fire Chief Greg Hoggat explained Boynton Beach Fire gets the first call since it holds the contract with Golf.

“The majority of the Village of Golf is closest to our fire station 2, this just happens to be one of their commercial areas on the end of the border,” he pointed out.

He said data showed his paramedics got to Monday's emergency in 6 minutes. Below the national average of 8.

“It makes me think more than twice, makes me think a lot,” said Martin, still not reassured the fastest help gets to the center.

If the first responders from Boynton Beach’s fire station are on a call when something happens in Golf, Palm Beach County’s fire rescue would cover the area.