Local News

Lack Of Hydrants Slows Down Firefighting In Rural Wake County

Posted May 10, 2006

— A large fire tore through a residence in northern Wake County late Tuesday afternoon. No one was inside when the fire started and there were no residents of the home, which was up for sale.

There were no injuries reported. But some people in the rural area were surprised to see so many trucks there.

"I heard there's been eight to nine water trucks to go down there," said one member of local emergency personnel. "It's a lot."

Firefighters say that's how they have to fight fires in this area. On the long winding streets of the rural community, there are no fire hydrants.

"I never thought about it before," said neighbor Eric Demaria. "I knew we had no hydrants ... but I didn't know fighting a fire would be such a production. It was a little scary."

Dozens of trucks from eight different departments hauled in 50,000 gallons of water to fight the fire. Experts said a typical response would be three vehicles, although more would arrive as more firefighters were needed.

"It does present challenges," said Wake County Chief Deputy Fire Marshall Christopher Perry. "The biggest thing is that a department ... (is) trained."

Perry said fire departments outside the Raleigh city limits are accustomed to hauling water. At a Wake Forest fire in March, the nearest hydrant was two miles away, and their police chief said it created some difficulty.

"It is a little worrisome; the idea that we don't have quick and easy access to water," said Demaria.

In order to get hydrants in the area, the neighborhood would have to tap into a municipality's water supply. The closest one to Tuesday's fire would be Wake Forest. They would need approval from Wake Forest officials and possibly from Raleigh as well.

The home engulfed by fire Tuesday was valued at $760,000, but the builder has insurance on it. The cause is under investigation. So far, investigators said there's no reason to believe it's arson.


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