BRANSON, Mo -- A Midwest vacation destination for millions, but more and more people are calling Branson home. First responders say they must keep up with the growth. The fire chief says, if the department does not expand in the near future, it will hurt response times.
Two new fire stations top the wish list. The city already has the land -- one location on the north and south sides of town, where neighborhoods are growing.
City leaders see the need, but the situation is not dire yet and there's not a steady cash flow.
"This year we are seeing just a bit slower growth so it's not going as fast as it has. Also budgets are not growing quite as fast as they have too," said Garrett Anderson, a spokesman for the City of Branson.
Crews are supposed to respond to calls in less than five minutes, bu,t when firefighters go to these areas, that's not always the case.
"Right now, to the south and to the north, we are running right to that five minute mark. Maybe a bit longer sometimes," said Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin.
The department sometimes works with other neighboring agencies to the north and south to make sure responders get to these places faster.
The chief says each station will need about a dozen firefighters. He also wants to invest in greener technologies. The new stations are scheduled for construction by 2014.
If response times continue to exceed five minutes in these areas, the chief says he will address the Board of Aldermen to move faster on the master plan to build those stations.