The fire Tuesday took hours to extinguish and fire crews had to bring in tankers with thousands of gallons of water.
The fire broke out Tuesday at Fountainview Mobile Home Park in Town ‘N Country, and because there wasn’t a fire hydrant close enough for firefighters, they had to bring in their tankers.
This contingency isn’t out of the ordinary. Fire crews prepare and train for this. Each engine carries 750 gallons of water. Fire crews can bring in tankers with at least 3,000 gallons of water when needed.
“It is challenging without fire hydrants. That’s our main defense,” said Hillsborough Battalion Chief Jay O’Driscoll
Tuesday’s fire took about three tanker loads. Everyone was safe but neighbors aren’t satisfied.
“No fire hydrants! Come on, that’s a serious issue. If I would have known that two years ago when I purchased this house, I would have never ever ever moved here,” said Tia Van Zandt whose husband ran to make sure his neighbors were safe when flames were shooting into the sky.
A spokesperson with Hillsborough County said there is a code for new communities and the county works with the developer to determine how many hydrants are needed during the construction phase.
In Hillsborough County, if a homeowner or a community/neighborhood believes fire hydrant spacing does not meet specifications, they can send a request to county staff to determine compliance by e-mailing WaterDept@HCFLGov.net.
However, some neighborhoods in private communities would likely have to work with the property management team or property owner about installing additional hydrants or an above-ground water tank.
In Pinellas County, a more densely populated county than Hillsborough, Craig Hare, the Director of EMS & Fire Administration said, “Across Pinellas County, there are very few gaps in hydrant coverage but any concerns would go to the Fire Marshal for the local Fire Department.”
It gets even more complicated when you consider the size and flow of a hydrant and the many factors based on where you live — fire marshal, local fire department, local water department, etc.
Bottom line — if you think you need another hydrant in your neighborhood, reach out to your local officials but don’t be surprised if you have to pay up.