Champaign Fire Department responds to house fire on city's north side

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND): The Champaign City Council approved changes to a city ordinance that will give the Champaign Fire Department command of actives scenes.

Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig says these changes are sensible.

"Over 90 percent of the time we are the first to arrive on the scene," Chief Ludwig says.

That means nine times out of ten, they beat the ambulance. That's notable since more often than not they are responding to medical calls, not fires.

"Majority of our calls, 62 percent  of our call volume, is medical calls," Chief Ludwig says. "So I like to say we pump more oxygen then we do water sometimes."

That's why the fire department wants command of scenes that multiple units respond to.

"Everyday we go on car accidents and sometimes multiple fire companies are on the scene, we also have an ambulance on the scene, sometimes multiple ambulances on the scene," Chief Ludwig says. "As a result of that, there has to be somebody in charge that has coordination of the scene ,not only for safety purposes but also for logistical and operational purposes."

This is the first update to the ordinance in 30 years.