Lack of hydrants nearby may have doomed house to fire


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Submitted: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 9:36pm
Updated: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 12:37pm
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As the shell of the home still smolders in Porters Neck, neighbors and firefighters are openly discussing how things could have turned out differently.

Despite the fact that the home on Bald Eagle Lane sits just yards from the Intracoastal Waterway, it was a lack of water that ultimately led to its demise.

“We woke up this morning to fire trucks next door,” neighbor Jim Spicuzza said. “Lots and lots of fire trucks.”

It’s a homeowners nightmare that quickly went from bad to worse as the flames spread.

“Several fire trucks responded to the call and started to spray water and ran out,” Spicuzza said.

Firefighters then had to fall back to Plan B, defensively fighting the fire while waiting for help to arrive.

“We have a plan where we use out tenders and our tankers,” New Hanover County Deputy Fire Chief Matt Davis said. “It’s a little more manpower intense and takes a little more time to set up our operations.”

Spicuzza said, “It was probably a half hour to 45 minutes later before additional water was brought on another truck to put the fire out.”

Because homes on Bald Eagle Lane run on well water, there were no hydrants to hook up to. Firefighters had to haul water more than a mile to the home. It’s a problem all involved say needs to be quickly extinguished.

“We have worked with the community to get fire hydrants here,” Davis said. “There is a plan to do that. I think that stands maybe a year out.”

Spicuzza said, “Had the fire department been able to hook up and have multiple trucks here spraying water the fire would have been out a great deal earlier.”

Investigators say the house is a summer home owned by a family from Greenville, and no one was home at the time of the fire.

Crews are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

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19 Comments on "Lack of hydrants nearby may have doomed house to fire"


Capt. Mike
2015 years 8 months ago

So to answer your question. No the fire dept. cant “draft” water from 50 feet away. There are homes built all along the waterway and getting a truck into someones’ yard close enough to the water is next to impossible. Access usually needs to be within 10 feet considering 20 feet of hard suction hose is used. Also considering elevation. Additionally it would destroy a residents yard not to mention the truck would probably become stuck. Also hydraulics are involved. Trying to suck water with a fire pump is pretty difficult unless you are within 10 feet away and not above the water more than 15 feet or so. So setting up on the figure eight bridge would not have been an option. Fire pumps just don’t work that way. As for pumping salt water. This is not a problem. It won’t destroy a pump and it has been done before. It only requires flushing the pump with fresh water. Most often, access to the salt water is the problem. So…That’s why hydrants are important!

Guestomfg
2015 years 8 months ago

So the fire dept cant pump water from the water body 50 feet away? Geeeez

pete
2015 years 8 months ago

ever see what saltwater does to equipment?

nunyabusiness
2015 years 8 months ago

Ever think of what its like trying to place a truck that close to water? If theres room to get a truck there? How hard or soft the ground is?

My guess probably not because the general public is always assuming.

smarter_that_jon-q-public
2015 years 8 months ago

So salt water destroys equipment. An Engine can weigh 30,000 lbs or more. So to get close enough to get water out of the waterway you must be within 15 feet or so. Can the wet sandy ground beside the ocean hold 30,000 lbs? Good call Jack…

Joanna
2015 years 8 months ago

Please pray for this family as they have many memories in this house. Thank goodness nobody was hurt.

Guest2020
2015 years 8 months ago

Thanks for being a voice of reason and focusing on the most important thing in this story. As someone who lost a house to fire as a child, I can appreciate your compassion for this family.

For the rest of the people, when our house caught fire, the first fire truck arrived and the water would not work, so they called a second truck. That never even factored into our grief over what we had lost. We have always been grateful to the firemen for trying to save our house.

you'd never know
2015 years 8 months ago

Except we are the 2nd smallest. And hydrants have been planned there. The fire depth doesn’t not plan or install or fund hydrants. They have been requested multiple times. And I believe less than a year ago, the big city of Greensboro uses a water shuttle to fight a fire. Tell me I’m wrong, and I’ll show you the pics.

Beach Bum
2015 years 8 months ago

YOU KNOW WHAT IS FUNNY ABOUT THIS ARTICLE? SMALLEST COUNTY IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, OVER 300K IN RESIDENTS, GROWTH AT AN EXPONENTIAL RATE AND THE FIRE SERVICE IN THAT COUNTY STILL USING TANKERS OR WATER TENDERS TO SHUTTLE IN WATER.

FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL.

WAY TO FAIL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. WAY TO FAIL WATER AUTHORITY. WAY TO FAIL FIRE SERVICES.

INSTEAD OF ANOTHER PARK OR SEA TURTLE PRESERVE, HOW ABOUT INVESTING SOME CAPITAL OR MONEY INTO SOMETHING THAT IS OF USE OR VALUE.

LIKE WATER AND SEWER.

fire engineer
2015 years 8 months ago

I was there…it was about 15 mins. Know the facts.

justin
2015 years 8 months ago

Thirty to 45 minutes for a water truck to respond from another station? Wow, someone with the county has some explaining to do.

me again
2015 years 8 months ago

Except…you have to get within 10 to 15 feet to Draft.

Guestomfg
2015 years 8 months ago

All bronze pumps are used in coastal areas for saltwater pumping. So yes you can use seawater, making sure everything is flushed after with fresh water. Also no need to get so close to the edge thats what hoses are for Jill.

Guest7969
2015 years 8 months ago

Using a truck isn’t the only way to get water to a portable tank…the article says YARDS from the water…a portable pump COULD have helped in a situation like this…wasn’t there, but now that this is identified as an issue…I would suspect the FD will work on a different plan of attack on these homes in the future.

Fire engineer
2015 years 8 months ago

Pumping water is a completely different thing than “sucking” water. Water can be pumped for a long distance. It can only be drafted a very short distance. You go to work this morning and do what you get paid to do and stop armchair quarterbacking.

Fearless
2015 years 8 months ago

In the Coast Guard we used p250 to pump sea water an put out fires. 1 p250 kept the fire from spreading on Bald Head Islan back In the late 80s .

Vader
2015 years 8 months ago

Sounds as if the fire boys are getting a little defensive. Me thinks something might be a little fishy here. I have seen small water pumps, once primed pull water 50 feet. Why would a pumper not be able to do the same thing?

fire boy
2015 years 8 months ago

Because in order to pull 1200 gallons a minute, which is required to fight a fire of this size, your grandaddys pump from harbor freight wont cut it. The 30k pounds of the truck has to be within 15 feet of the water source. The 1000 feet of hose in the back of the truck is for pressurized water, not sucking up water. Sounds like if you want to take the required 300+ credit hours to do the job by all means come on. I bet you would learn something about pumping water.

troy
2015 years 8 months ago

Is this the first fire in this area? No plans to start with seems a little odd to me. The amount of fires in the county, seems to me this would have came up before.