Three fires in as many weeks has the leader of the Key Peninsula Fire District sounding the alarm.
But it's not the frequency of the fires that has him concerned; it's the lack of manpower available to fight the blazes.
Fire crews believed lives were on the line when they got word of a house fire Wednesday. The initial call was that two kids were inside, but the fire department is so short-staffed, only three men could respond for the first attack.
"When we have that emergency that's going to be manpower-intensive in the first 15 or 20 minutes, we're struggling to get the people there," said fire chief Tom Lique.
It's an ongoing struggle for a community that continues to grow but doesn't have the manpower to support it. Lique says typically seven firefighters are on duty at all times, but with sick leave and injuries, the number can dwindle to just four.
It took firefighters 25 minutes for enough crews to reach the old Glencove Hotel and keep history from being burned off the map. The response time was 16 minutes for an earlier barn fire, and then the house fire Wednesday.
It was three fires in three weeks, but one struggle to provide a quick enough response.
"It's severe enough that if we continue in this trend, we're putting people at risk," Lique said.
The risk is so great, commissioners are considering asking voters to approve a levy come November to fund eight more full-time positions. The levy would cost the homeowner of a $225,000 home about $8 a month.
Lique says it's a small price to pay to keep families safe in their small community.
Fire commissioners will be meeting on May 22 to discuss not only the staffing shortage but also the possible levy. The meeting is open to the public.