PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. — Some Putnam County residents say they’ve had enough when it comes to response times from local fire departments.

A 69-year-old woman, identified as Carol Haney, died on April 21 due to carbon monoxide poisoning when her home burst into flames. 

“One of her fears was a fire like this would happen,” said neighbor and former Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Lydia Chubb. “She had PTSD from a prior fire.”

The Clinton Township Fire Department is right across the street from Haney’s home, but residents say they had no one to respond due to short staffing.

Lydia and Douglas Chubb live a few doors down from the burned home and said they were both friends with Haney. 

“I stood out here for 10 minutes with no fire apparatus on scene,” said Douglas Chubb.

The volunteer fire department has experienced significant changes in the last year following the chief’s resignation in July 2022. The department paused operations until the new chief, Tony Camp, was hired. 

Residents say they have noticed response times declining.

“We went from 90-95 percent responses to 20-25 percent responses,” Douglas Chubb said. “That’s unacceptable.”

Neighbors say they believe the fire on April 19 is a catalyst for a meeting being held Thursday night. Local officials say there are many issues that will be addressed.

“I’m planning on going and picking up my mom’s ashes and I’m going to carry her into that meeting with me,” Carol Haney’s son Wade said. “So they can kinda see we are pretty upset with them.”

Residents say they are looking for clarity and accountability out of the meeting. 

“Answers? None,” Douglas Chubb said. “I’ve got plenty of questions.”

The Walnut Creek Fire District board held a meeting at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department at 7 p.m. on Thursday. While a number of attendees agree the department is doing everything it can, several attendees were outspoken about their concerns following Haney’s death.

“They could’ve saved her, and they didn’t,” Haney’s granddaughter Bobbi Haney told FOX59/CBS4. “You can get there in 30 seconds literally. Why? Why couldn’t they save her?”

Bobbie Haney and other family and friends of Carol Haney felt like they did not get the answers they deserved.

“There’s nothing they can say to me to make it better,” Bobbie Haney said. “They took something from me that I’m not going to get back. I don’t want this to happen to nobody.”

Fire Chief Tony Camp said Haney’s death was a tragedy, but he insists it was not the department’s fault. He said running a volunteer station comes with serious limitations and challenges.

“We’re not here 24/7, meaning that a volunteer station volunteers their time when they’re able to,” Camp said. “When they’re at home. When they’re at work, some people are not able to leave work to go on runs.”

Chief Camp also addressed concerns about a lack of firefighters. He said the department is in fact still accepting new applicants, but it has to be done safely and effectively.

“You want capable able bodies,” he said. “Because going into a house fire is something not just anybody can do. If you get winded and go down in a fire, then that means we have to stop what we’re doing and come get you out.”

Chief Camp said people can apply to become a firefighter with the department online.