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Fire code allows homes in Tiffin to lose access to emergency services temporary

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:19 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A group of homes on South Park Road in Tiffin, Iowa are occasionally cut off from emergency services. And, the city’s fire code allows it to happen.

Cars can only enter the road one-way after an overpass over Interstate 80 was removed as part of the construction on the I-80/380 interchange by the Department of Transportation. Railroad tracks pass through one other access point, which could be blocked by a train sitting on a track for hours.

Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit learned fire code only requires multiple access points for emergency services when there are more than 30 homes in an area. There are only around 20 homes on South Park Road.

The city of Tiffin uses the latest version of the International Fire Code.
The city of Tiffin uses the latest version of the International Fire Code.(None)

Therefore the city of Tiffin doesn’t have to provide multiple access points for emergency services.

Fiona Johnson, who is the director of Johnson County Ambulance Service, said there is a possibility this could delay emergency services when every second matters.

“We’re not going to sit there and just wait in vain. We’re going to try and see what we’re going to do,” she said. ”But obviously if it’s a full-length train and there’s not a foreseeable end, then we might be in a bit of a delay.”

She said her agency is working with the city of Tiffin for a possible solution including a new road, which would provide a new access point for emergency service providers.

Regardless, a new access point would be needed anyway. Construction is set to begin on a brand new apartment complex on South Park Road in the spring.

Once, the new apartment complex is built the city will need a second access point to the complex as part of its’ fire code.

A similar situation occurred in Fairfax, but the city of Fairfax said it could remove road signs for emergency vehicles if necessary.

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