Fire Hydrant Problem - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/19/07-Fuller Springs

Fire Hydrant Problem

by Tashun Chism

Smoke and flames lit up the Fuller Springs Community over the weekend as volunteer fire fighters tried to put out a house fire.

"Most of the backside of the house was already mostly involved and was going through the attic over the front of the house," said Fuller Springs Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Cranford.

No one was hurt in the fire but there was plenty of structural damage. Volunteer firefighters tried to use to water hydrant to fight the blaze. But when they tried to turn it on, it wouldn't work.

"We ran out of water too quick. We went to hook it to the hydrant. For whatever reason, we didn't get any water out of the hydrant so we had to go get some tankers and start shuttling water," Cranford told us.

"There's other hydrants that where there. They were operational. It just so happens this one was not operational because there was a valve turned off," the City of Lufkin's Assistant City Manager Keith Wright said.

Both parties say the valve on the hydrant was turned off due to a mistake by the contractor. So why didn't someone catch the mistake sooner?

"These hydrants are outside the city limits so we don't provide fire service out there unless it's some type of mutual aid type of thing. So they're not as inspected as much as hydrants that are inside the city limits," Wright added.

Since the City of Lufkin installed the hydrants, they do provide water for them. But it's the Fuller Springs Volunteer Fire Department's job to periodically check the hydrants. Fuller Springs Fire Deparment officials say the hydrants are practically brand new and they haven't had any trouble with any of them until this weekend's fire. Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Cranford tells us even if the hydrant had been working, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. He says the fire was already too heavily involved by the time fire fighters arrived.

"The wind was blowing really hard that night and it just carried the fire right through it," Cranford said.

The contractor has fixed the hydrant and checked all the others to make sure they're working properly, too.

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