CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The town of Cornelius is considering changing a street name, citing public safety concerns and the response to a recent house fire.
The fire destroyed the house on 21321 County Club Lane on Dec. 18. No one was injured. The family living there was on vacation in the Bahamas at the time and say it burned so fast they doubt firefighters ever had a chance to save it. It remains under investigation and no cause has been determined.
The aftermath is proving to be more than just rubble.
There's a street confusion problem neighbors say has been going on for years, and the fire helped bring it to light.
"In less than a half-mile, there's County Club Drive, County Club Cove and Country Club Circle,” neighbor Paula Brown said.
There are actually two parts of Country Club Lane.
One part is where the house burnt, which doesn't end in a cul-de-sac. There is another Country Club Lane about a 7 iron shot away with a cul-de-sac. They do not connect.
Neighbors say that cul-de-sac is where a ladder truck responding to the fire ended up instead of initially going to the burning house.
According to town meeting minutes, the next door neighbor who called 911 says she gave specific instructions for dispatchers, and the fire truck still went to the wrong street.
Neighbors say the fire truck had trouble turning around and added minutes to the arrival time.
Fire officials say a caller gave them the wrong spot across a cove, and they went to where the fire was described to them, which did not include an exact address. Officials also say they are familiar with the similarly named streets in that area.
Now the town has sent letters saying they're considering changing the street name because "Public safety is a top town priority and providing accurate emergency response locations for all Cornelius residents is critical,” according to that letter.
A town commissioner also said he's sorry a tragedy had to occur in order for this to be brought to the board's attention.
"Even though everyone has GPS and things like that, all the names are so similar,” said Brown.
Neighbors say the similar names have caused problems for delivery drivers for years.
They think changing County Club Lane to avoid any more confusion is worth it.
"Someone might just say I just live on Country Club, because they are concerned and upset about a crisis, so that could be very confusing to the police or dispatcher handling the 911 call,” Brown said.
Neighbors and town leaders will meet Tuesday night to come up with new street name options.