Auburn Fire Safety Rating Drops

Businesses in Auburn could soon be paying more for insurance. That's because the Insurance Service Office (ISO) has given the Auburn Fire Department a lower safety rating.

On the surface, the lower fire safety rating looks like it will mean higher insurance costs for Auburn residents.  However, fire officials say homeowners won't be affected at all. Plus, improvements are already underway to keep the city's rating at its current level.

Auburn's fire department is trying to keep up with growth. It now has an ISO rating of four and nine, down from a two and nine when it was inspected in September. The reason for the discrepancies is simple.

"The City of Auburn has grown over the last 10 years. With the cost of building a fire station, buying equipment, we're talking millions of dollars doing this," said Larry Langley, Auburn fire chief.

Langley said the new rating could have an impact on insurance rates, but not for homeowners.

"If we drop back to a class four, the residents in Auburn wouldn't see an increase in their insurance. The commercial and industry in town, they would see a slight increase in their insurance," he said.

Pak Mail owner Tracie West said she's prepared if her insurance goes up.

"With the growth, you're going to have increased cost of operating your business, so it's something the smart business owner anticipates and plans for," she said.

Langley said they've got a year to fix the problems, but improvements already being made were not counted in the survey.

"Station Five is under construction now. The new 95-foot platform has been ordered and will be here before the end of the year. We've completed construction on the burn building at the training center," Langley said.

With the new fire station being built near Exit 51, more firefighters will be needed. That will also help improve the ISO rating. Langley said they should have the deficiencies corrected by the one-year deadline, preventing any insurance rates from going up.