High Ridge fire district must battle blaze without hydrants - KMOV.com

High Ridge fire district must battle blaze without hydrants

Posted: Updated:

News 4 is tracking a public safety issue caused by the flooding even days after the high water has gone down, as the fallout from floodwaters is making it harder to fight fires in one part of the St. Louis area.

When a fire broke out at a home in Jefferson County, the fire department couldn't use nearby fire hydrants. That’s because the water plant that serves the city of High Ridge was flooded and isn't fully back online.

The High Ridge Fire Protection District knew when the water district's treatment plant flooded it would create more problems than just a risk of running out of drinking water.

With water pressure and the water supply precariously low, they created a backup plan for fighting fires and put it to use on monday.

A fire broke out around 10:30 Monday morning at a house on Del Rio while the people who live here were out of town.

"I looked up the hill and saw the flames coming up out of the roof of the house," said J.R. Barron.

When firefighters arrived, 75 percent of the home was in flames but they couldn't stand by and watch it burn to the ground.

"When a structure is that far gone you're not necessarily protecting that structure,” said Fire Chief Mike Arnhart. “You're protecting other structures around that structure at that point."

To protect the buildings, the fire chief kicked in his backup plan.

"When it was confirmed it was a working fire, I went ahead and dispatched three additional tankers, one from Cedar Hills, one from Antonio and one from Goldman," Arnhart said.

A Cedar Hill fire truck immediately drove to Lake Montowese by nearby Byrnes Mill and set up a system to supply fire trucks with water from the lake. The container used in such situations gets filled up with water from the lake and then sent to the team of pumper trucks putting water on the flames. The plan worked just they way it was designed.

“[It was] very organized it seemed like,” said Barron. “Everybody seemed to know exactly what to do."

"We were on scene for about three hours and never lost water, we had plenty of water to suppress the fire," Arnhart said.

Conditions are still the same for the fire district. They'll have to rely on this water shuttling plan if there's another significant fire until the water plant reaches full operational capacity in the next couple of days.

Powered by Frankly