TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Emilio Monte says he heard a commotion next door on the morning of Nov. 21 and came outside to learn a 52-year-old man had just fallen off a two-story roof.
Monte says he immediately called 911. “I came right outside, followed by my wife, and I saw a gentleman that had been on the roof next door, fell off the roof. He was laying on the ground, and he was laying on the ground and his colleague, his co-worker was standing over him,” Monte said.
A neighbor started CPR, but Monte says it took nearly 20 minutes for first responders to arrive.
“The police got here first, but they didn’t have the right equipment,” Monte said.
The incident happened just four minutes away from Firehouse 19 in Port Tampa. The morning the man fell off the roof, first responders from Station 19 were busy fighting a two-alarm fire at another home.
However, even if Station 19 wasn’t busy, Monte and others say they don’t have the equipment or staff members to help in a situation like the one that happened that day.
“We all thought that the station, when it was built, was adequately staffed and evidently it’s not,” Monte said.
Tampa Fire Rescue says it’s not clear if the victim would have survived if the response time had been faster.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to tell, that would be determined by a medical examiner but based on the mechanism of injury, the chances are low,” said Vivian Shedd with Tampa Fire Rescue.
Monte and others say Station 19 needs more staff given the population growth in the area.
“There has been tremendous growth in the area. The area is growing by leaps and bounds and the city of Tampa just keeps approving new construction and it’s not just single-family homes, a lot of apartment complexes have been built recently,” Monte said.
Tampa Fire Rescue says they plan to add additional equipment and staffing to Station 19 in the first quarter of 2023.
“It’s a safety issue for our community and the residents in our community because it can happen again,” Monte said.