Green Country fire departments discuss responding to fires in rural areas where hydrants are scarce

Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 13:07:44-05

BIXBY, Okla. - Green Country fire departments discuss responding to fires in rural areas where hydrants are scarce, and say the problem is water supply. 

Green Country fire departments sometimes face a challenge many around the country don't; fighting fires in rural areas. 

Bixby resident Daryle Fox's home burned down in the middle of February.

“You stake all your life building something like this, and to watch it go up in smoke is horrible," Fox said.

While the Bixby Fire Department was fighting the flames they ran out of water since the closest fire hydrant to his home is half of a mile away.

 “The chance of property loss may be a little higher because of the availability of water supply," said Bixby Fire Chief Brian Wood.

Stan May with the Tulsa Fire Department says fire trucks can hold their own water, and the hose they bring to the scene can extend far distances; but the water can run out, and the hose line can fall short. 

He says the 2015 International Fire Code has guidelines for placing fire hydrants throughout towns. 

And while towns aren't required to follow the code if they choose to adopt it they are held to those standards. 

Both Bixby and Tulsa have adopted the code which goes as follows for hydrants:

In rural areas fire hydrants must be placed every 1,000 feet, or three football fields, down that town's main road. 

In fairly developed areas hydrants must be placed every 500 feet down that town's main road.

But in fully developed neighborhoods fire hydrants must be placed 600 feet away from every part of every home. 

In other words, if any part of a home catches fire a hydrant must be two football fields away from the section on fire. 

“Not much of a chance of putting a treasure house in the middle of 40 acres and expecting them to put a fire hydrant next to it. That’s not how that works," said Captain Stan May. 

Homeowner Daryle Fox said he never thought about what would happen when his house caught fire. He thought being two miles from the fire department was safe enough. 

“It’s something that’s going to be in the back of my mind when I’m rebuilding. It’s going to be different," he said.

According to the Tulsa Fire Department people can purchase their own fire hydrants, but they have to be in communication with the city's water department to make sure the home has a waterline strong enough to support it. 

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