Chief worries rural hydrants can’t deliver in Rutherford County
Aug 13, 2012 09:05 PM
Reported By Joseph Pleasant, Reporter - bio | email
CHRISTIANA, Tenn. -
Rutherford County's fire and rescue chief is concerned that fire hydrants in rural parts of the county can not deliver enough water to battle a house fire.
The hydrants can provide around 500 gallons of water per minute, but that's not enough water to adequately fight a fire.
"We do not want to be inside a house on fire and run out of water," Chief Larry Farley said. "That puts firefighters in danger."
The county is considering ways to improve the fire protection including buying tanker trucks to help shuttle water to active fires.
The trucks would cost around $225,000 a piece. The fire chief wants the county to purchase four 3,000 gallon tanker trucks as part of the 2013-2014 Rutherford County budget.
It is an expenditure the department has put off requesting in previous budget years.
"The economic times we were in the last couple of years meant money has been pretty tight," Chief Farley said. "We have not asked the county for any funds to buy apparatus because we knew how tight the funds are."
But because of the growth in Rutherford County, the chief said now is the time to buy the tanker trucks.
"A lot of [the neighborhoods] used to be corn fields and hay fields," Chief Farley said. "Now they are subdivisions and you still have the small pipes in the ground."
The water pipes installed to service the area will not accommodate increased water quantities.
The Consolidated Utility District supplies water to Rutherford County.
CUD's General Manager said the utility company can not increase the size of water pipes without degrading the quality of water being supplied to the outlying areas.
"It's a two edge sword. I can't just increase water flows and not harm water quality," CUD GM Bill Dunnill said.
Dunnill said the demand for water in the rural parts of Rutherford County are not high enough to insure the use of water will produce the amount of water flowing through the pipes to keep water from being stagnant.
"Water is not like wine," he said. "when it gets older, it doesn't get better."
Dunnill said the water would not be safe for drinking or the utility district would have to disinfect the water more often.
Residents in Christiana were largely unaware of the concerns surrounding fire hydrants in their neighborhoods.
The Robinson family said they already payer higher homeowner insurance rates because of the time it takes for fire fighters to respond to their home because of its location.
"It didn't make me feel any more comfortable the fact that even if we get here they can't fight a fire," Steve Robinson said. "It concerns me because I travel for work, so if I am not here my wife and kids are here."
The Robinsons told Nashville's News 2 they understand that whether the county buys the tanker trucks or the utility district upgrades the water pipes it will likely cost them more money.
"It is going to be the county raising taxes because someone has to pay for it to make it right," Robinson said. "Every year they raise my property taxes."
He continued, "I would like to see it go to something like that."
The county already has four tanker trucks in service, but they are all assigned to the northern part of Rutherford County.