East Texas Firefighters discuss challenges of road closing fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas Firefighters discuss challenges of road closing fire

Hydrant Wrench (Source: KLTV News Staff) Hydrant Wrench (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Hydrant  (Source: KLTV News Staff) Hydrant (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Flint Fire (Source: Viewer Photo) Flint Fire (Source: Viewer Photo)

Firefighters in one East Texas County say they faced several challenges trying to put out a house fire that threatened other homes and shut down a busy street.

Multiple crews were called Monday to the fire at a house near Flint.
The homeowner told us off camera that he put diesel and gasoline on a fire inside the house to start it, then went outside to work in the back yard, leaving the gas can too close.

Firefighters say they had to deal with the possibility of wind, flames in hard to reach places, and a fire hydrant that would not open. They tell us that even with those issues, they still had a plan B.

It was a fire that Smith County Fire Marshal Connie Wasson says took a good bit of time to completely go out.

"I think it re-kindled a little bit before the middle of the night. There's actually three roofs three layers on this house. So we had fire in between those layers of roof, so that makes it very difficult to get the fire out," says Wasson.

Wasson says there were several issues firefighters had to deal with while fighting the blaze.

"Earlier in the day the winds were extremely high. Had a fire occurred then it would've pushed it into other structures,” says Wasson.

As fire fighters worked to put out a fire, they also went to a fire hydrant, which didn’t open and they had to go a couple blocks down to another one that did open.

Firefighters use a tool called a hydrant wrench to get hydrants open.

JD Smith with Smith County ESD 2 showed us how the tool works on another fire hydrant.

"So if we're going take a cap off, we're going to take our wrench and we're going to put it on the cap and screw it down until it's tight," says Smith.

As Smith pulled, the hydrant we found also seemed to be stuck. Even stomping on the wrench while it was clamped on the cap didn't work.

Those were moments of time these firefighters didn't have, but even though some of the fire hydrants don't open, fire fighters say that’s why they plan.

"A lot of times we don't have fire hydrants when we fight fires, so we do carry water with us on scene," says Smith.

They say the hydrant is used to free up resources that would be getting water.

Throw all those factors in there and firefighters say there's a simple reason why they can maneuver around the challenges.

"It was a structure fire and those are unique in themselves. Every fire we go to is different so they're not going to be the same," says Smith.

We reached out to Southern Utilities, the company that owns the fire hydrants near the house that caught on fire. They say the fire hydrants are used for flushing lines and are left there for the community's use in emergencies. They say the hydrants are maintained, but there is not a fixed schedule for maintenance.

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