Water woes in rural areas hurt firefighters

Posted at 10:08 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 23:08:59-04

New information about Wednesday's fire that destroyed a north Tulsa home. Investigators say an old, overloaded power strip sparked the flames. Because there weren't water hydrants around, the National Guard was called in to provide water to fight the fire. Fire crews say it's a problem in rural areas. 

Smoke rises, flames roar and there's no water in sight to fight the fire. Most times in rural areas water tanks are called in from at times, miles away. 

"It's in an unincorporated part of the city, rural water districts don't have as many hydrants as close," Tulsa Fire Chief Stan May said. 

Wednesday afternoon a house fire off 57th north left one family without a home. It was a challenge for firefighters because of the lack of water supply. They said the solution was to bring in water tankers. 

"We got about 500 gallons on each one of the trucks," May said. "We'd gone through it and the tankers showed up and we used their water, otherwise we would have had a really extensive hose lay and it takes time to get that laid out there."

This past October, firefighters were dousing the tanks at Tulsa Asphalt with water, when a sudden explosion knocked one firefighter back and sent him running away from the scene.           

Just last week a fire on 137th Street North had Owasso and Tulsa Fire crews asking for three tankers from the Limestone Fire Protection District. 

"We've got dump tanks set up out on the ground and the engine pumper and the tankers are shuttling water back and forth from the hydrant," Tulsa Fire Captain John Smith said. "It took us a good bit of time to get the fire under control until we could establish a constant water supply with those tankers." 

A helping hand that could potentially save a life.