Pasco has been expanding rapidly and is annexing the "doughnut hole" so naturally it has had trouble growing its fire services to keep pace. This could end up costing taxpayers big.

Municipal insurance providers give Richland a Class 4 rating, which means they get a good price for their premiums. Kennewick and West Richland are a Class 4. Pasco was a Class 5 and has now been downgraded to a Class 6 for not having enough fire engines and firefighters!

The city has time to appeal, and it's purchasing a county fire station that should help with its numbers, but it may have to decide if it will be more expensive to pay the higher Class 6 rates, or pass on the extra expense to ambulance customers, or invest in expanding fire services.

City officials say they are just hoping to maintain a Class 5 right now to buy them time to implement their plan to become Class 4.

Now that the summer's arsonist has been caught residents can take a sigh of relief, but it's scary to think that with all the mobile home park fires, arson and wildfires the Pasco Fire Department is understaffed!