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Firefighters Run Out Of Water Fighting Fire

RENDON (CBS11) – Firefighters trying to save a home hit by lightning Friday morning, ended up running out of the one thing they really needed – water.

After lightning hit the peak of the two-story home on Mockingbird Road in Rendon, fire raced through the attic. Firefighters realized the 3,000 gallons of water they brought with them wasn’t enough.

They turned to the closest hydrant, somewhat surprised to see one in the area, and got almost nothing. The pressure was less than 10 psi, not nearly enough to stop the fire.

“With all these hose, we actually, what we tried to do was setup a fire truck there and boost the pressure, but there wasn’t even enough water,” said Captain Steve Gutierrez, with the Rendon Fire Department. “We would have actually pulled the hydrant out of the ground.”

Firefighters eventually sent a tanker to another hydrant on FM1187, shuttling water back to engines at the scene.

Texas health and safety codes set a standard for hydrants to provide a minimum of 250 gallons of water per minute for two hours. They’re also supposed to have at least 20 pounds of pressure per square inch.

The hydrant on Mockingbird is part of the Bethesda Water Supply Corporation. A supervisor there said part of the problem is developers in the neighborhood originally installed four-inch water main. Currently on new pipeline projects, Bethesda installs eight-inch mains.

The hydrants are probably used more for flushing lines, than firefighting, he said. Bethesda said they check the hydrants and have a work order to check the one on mockingbird but expect it’s ok.

Though they aim to meet the minimum fire suppression standards, they don’t have a contract with any entity or fire department that says they have to meet them.

“This is a rural area,” Gutierrez said. “That unfortunately is an inherent issue that we have responding out to these areas is that usually the water supply becomes an issue and that’s why we do have a tanker.”

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