Pitiful! What happens when firefighters have no working hydrants or water pressure

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By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Hydrant after hydrant failed to provide adequate water pressure as firefighters tried to contain a blaze in the ornate Glen-Villa Apartments in Highland Park on Saturday afternoon.

For hours, flames moved across the 68-unit apartment until it was gutted.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 8.23.48 PMWhen Detroit and Highland Park firefighters found working hydrants, the water pressure was often so low that it was useless.

Check out our one-year investigation of bad hydrants in Detroit.

The third-alarm blaze required so many Detroit firefighters that most of the city was unprotected. One Detroit firefighter was injured.

While firefighters were at the Highland Park fire, a blaze broke out in a house at Lindsay Street and Fargo Avenue on the northwest side, killing a 7-month-old girl, Michaela.

Although some firefighters from the northwest side were at the Highland Park blaze, Squad 1 was nearby and arrived four minutes after the call. Neighbors and firefighters tried to rescue the child, but the house was engulfed.

Another civilian died Saturday afternoon from carbon-monoxide poisoning on the northwest side.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m., a Detroit firefighter was injured after he was overcome with smoke. He was still in serious condition Sunday evening.

Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck have an automatic mutual-aid agreement to assist each other with firefighting. For every nine fires that Highland Park responds outside its borders, Detroit responds to one in Highland Park.

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The water pressure was so low at times that firefighters couldn’t reach the blaze.

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This hydrant didn’t work.
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At times, water pressure was relatively strong, as long as only one hose was being used.
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Water from the tower often couldn’t reach the core of the fire.

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Firefighters had no water pressure at this point.
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To get water, firefighters tapped into a hydrant several blocks away, using two fire engines to relay the water.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • bebow

    Let’s get focused on the basics.

    http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/01/09/gallagher-detroit-economy-development/78442020/

    Most outsiders aren’t fooled by the buzzing and boosting.

  • bebow

    Let’s get focused on the basics.

    http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/01/09/gallagher-detroit-economy-development/78442020/

    Most outsiders aren’t fooled by the buzzing and boosting.

  • maggiemay

    You’ve implied that the baby died because of low water pressure or lack or response and that wasn’t the case at all. Got to watch your bias.

  • maggiemay

    You’ve implied that the baby died because of low water pressure or lack or response and that wasn’t the case at all. Got to watch your bias.

    • Klann Killa

      Nope. The baby died, because the engine(59), assigned to that first alarm district was on a MFR(Medical First Responder) run. Engine 59 is less than 2 miles from where the infant died. Squad 1, located at Engine 59’s quarters, was there in under 3 minutes. Squads cannot pump from a hydrant, or carry water. Engine 54, located approximately 4-6 miles away was the first apparatus on scene capable of fire suppression/extinguishment. Fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. Do the math. Some of the guys that responded to that incident had to be “counseled” before they went off-duty, because of what they SAW, and heard. I know EXACTLY what those guys are going through, and you NEVER FORGET IT, especially if you have kids of your own. Had Engine 59 responded, that child would be alive now, but in the city’s effort to reduce EMS response times, they send trained fire personnel on a FIRE ENGINE, on medical runs just to “stop the clock.” Detroit leads the nation in arsons. Why not hire more EMS personnel? Hate to say it, but many more will die, and if you’re not in “New Detroit”, you could very well be SOL. Peace ✌?️

      • Donald E. Hodge

        More Paramedics. I with you on that KK. MFR`s can only work if you have the equipment and People.Even if you did have all of that I think most Firemen don`t want that kind of dispatch. Just hire more Paramedics please. A couple of New companies to fill in the holes in the city wouldn`t hurt either.

        • Klann Killa

          What up DE? Ever thought about submitting a resume to HQ? My man, you just pointed out MOST of what’s wrong with the Department. Peace ✌?️

          • Donald E. Hodge

            They wouldn’t care for me baby, i’m To honest for them. Any word on this Eric Jones cat kk? What’s new coming down the road?

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Whats up KK? Did you work the two alarm Fire on Telegraph just north of seven mile last night?

      • Donald E. Hodge

        More Paramedics. I with you on that KK. MFR`s can only work if you have the equipment and People.Even if you did have all of that I think most Firemen don`t want that kind of dispatch. Just hire more Paramedics please. A couple of New companies to fill in the holes in the city wouldn`t hurt either.

      • bebow

        Last sentence…
        Not far removed from poisoning the population or practicing educational genocide.

        • Klann Killa

          , and breaking into the Flint Mayor’s office to steal a TV???? Too funny Bro. Me thinks that one out did “the male prostitute thing.” What up B? ? but seriously, why am I not surprised that AGAIN you know what time it is. And until these chumps WTF up, and stand for something, it will never end. DD sent me packin’, guess I played a little too rough ??? Give my boys Snow, and GP a shoutout. (Stay tuned to “The Reincarnation of KK.”) Peace ✌?️

  • Donald E. Hodge

    Any word from the mayors office or the water Department on this yet? This is not a new story,or is it now time to play- How many Firemen have to get hurt before we give you an answer game? Why can`t we just elect someone that will just give us the God damn Truth! This shit is really getting old Steve, YA know!

  • Alan Goldsmith

    This has been important investigative journalism. Thank you.

  • Alan Goldsmith

    This has been important investigative journalism. Thank you.