The Poppasquash area of Bristol is not the sparsely populated peninsula of your grandfather’s time.
Those with deep pockets have uncovered its shoreline beauty, constructing homes in excess of 5,000 square feet and worth millions of dollars.
Yet while most of us in Bristol enjoy year-round fire protection from one of the finest departments around, those on Poppasquash are largely unprotected. As happened a few years ago, a major fire that erupts in one of these homes cannot be controlled. Homes are likely to burn to the ground.
Granted, the onus is on the homeowner who decides to build a house where there are no water lines or fire hydrants. However, it is the town’s responsibility to ensure there is adequate fire protection for these homes — water lines or no. Are tanker trucks driven here from Warren, Tiverton or Rehoboth adequate?
It takes a long time for a Bristol fire engine to reach Poppasquash from right down the road. Add in the additional time it takes a neighboring department to respond, and you have a fully engulfed home fire.
Is this peninsula more densely populated than our fire department can independently handle? It’s a fair question for this town to consider as it maps its long-range plans. We understand that fire departments in the East Bay rely largely on mutual aid, but mutual aid is not sufficient for today’s Poppasquash.
As Bristol expands, so should its fire prevention methods. Simply relying on mutual aid is not a good plan. The town should consider a long-range capital improvement plan that includes its own tanker truck in the near future, and the training and equipment to properly use it.
All of Bristol’s citizens — even the “rich” ones — deserve the same level of service and security in this town.