Bagged hydrant no concern
As firefighters battled a blaze in Dallas that would eventually destroy two homes, one nearby fire hydrant stood bagged and unused.
While the out-of-service hydrant has one neighborhood resident concerned, Kamloops Fire Rescue denies its ability to battle the flames on the afternoon of Aug. 3 was compromised.
Brian Giles, whose house sits near the two affected, was on the scene of the Hillview Drive blaze within minutes and recorded it on video.
Giles said he watched the first fire truck to arrive drive past the fire and circle the block so it could hook up at another hydrant, located on nearby Mountainview Drive.
He’s worried that cost Kamloops Fire Rescue valuable response time and may have created another problem he observed: The large water cannon on the first engine on scene only seemed to be working half the time.
“They only used it, if I’m generous, I’d say 50 per cent of the time,” he said.
“My question would be, ‘Why weren’t you just pouring the water onto this fire?’
“As a taxpayer that funds these fire trucks you’ve got to wonder, is that the best they can do?”
Fire Insp. Sheldon Guertin confirmed there were some water-pressure issues during the Dallas fire.
But, he said, hooking the truck up to the Mountainview hydrant cost responders “less than, probably not even 30 seconds,” because they were already aware the other hydrant wasn’t working.
Guertin said it’s not uncommon for the trucks to drive to a hydrant farther up the block if it means getting a better water-flow rate — but, in this case, the hydrant wasn’t farther away from the fire.
Both it and the bagged one were 112 metres from the houses, he said.
Guertin and city public-utilties manager Micheal Firlotte both told KTW the position of the hydrant wouldn’t have changed the water pressure available.
However, Guertin said there are a few other factors that could have contributed to pressure issues during the Dallas blaze.
“Depending on how many lines were coming off the truck, that might affect the flow.
“The other thing that would affect the flow of water is if other people in the area were using water or anything like that. There’s lots of factors to it,” he said.
“It’s always easy to armchair-quarterback a fire after the fact and question people’s strategies and tactics,” Guertin said.
“The officer made a choice at that time and, for some reason, there was maybe inadequate water supply or he decided hand lines were more important.”
Firlotte said the bagged hydrant on Hillview Drive was taken out of service in April and is due for replacement in the next month, as repair crews go down a list of hydrants in need of similar work.
“It’s un-rebuildable,” Firlotte said.
The Mountainview Drive hydrant is also now bagged, after post-fire testing showed it is leaking, likely due to a broken flange.
“It will leak if it’s operated, but it does still work,” said Firlotte.
“That information goes to the fire department, so they’re well aware, if there was another fire on that street, it will operate, but it will leak a bit.”
That hydrant should be repaired shortly, he said.
Investigators were able to determine the location of the fire, which began in a rec room in the northeast corner of the west house.
Guertin said there’s no evidence the fire was suspicious, but no evidence of any other cause, either.
“There was nothing we could find on scene to suggest that it would have been electrical or anything else,” he said.
Damage to both houses was extensive.
“We’re going to do an assessment with the insurance company in the next couple days but, I would think they’re probably going to be total rebuilds,” Guertin said.