Low Water Pressure Hampers Firefighting Efforts In Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit firefighters trying to control a blaze at a vacant house on the city’s west side were met with one problem after another, after another.

WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports the fire broke out early Friday morning at a house on Prevost Street and St. Martins Avenue, near 7 Mile and Greenfield roads.

Edmund Parker, chief of the Detroit Fire Department’s first battalion, said crews from three different units had trouble getting any water to the house when they first arrived on the scene.

First, with temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, nearby hydrants were frozen and couldn’t be tapped. Then, their lines weren’t long enough to reach to a hydrant that worked. And when crews finally reached a hydrant they could open, they only found more trouble.

“We had problems with a couple of bad hydrants, low water pressure,” he said. “It happens, honestly, it happens.”

Firefighters had to go blocks away before they found a working fire hydrant with enough water pressure. Parker said crews eventually had to knock the house’s walls down to contain the fire.

While an official cause hasn’t been determined, Parker said he’s sure of the fire was set intentionally.

“Obviously, it’s arson. Somebody had to set it on fire, it didn’t set itself on fire,” he said.

Neighbors say the house is one of three others in the area that has been vacant for an extended time period. A resident who lives across the street said the house has been set on fire several times in the past.

Neil Washington, who lives nearby, said sometimes a burned out home is better than a vacant one.

“I mean, it all depends on the people that try to move in there. You know, you got people that don’t know how to act and they come over here and destroy the houses, and then on the other hand there’s burnt up houses. I’d take the burnt up house, seriously. That way we don’t have no problems,” he said.

No injuries were reported. An investigation is ongoing.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

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