Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mishaps hamper firefighting effort

February 14, 2006

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A Baldwin fire that began as an unattended candle resulted in a house scorched top to bottom after mishaps delayed firefighters' response Monday.

The mishaps began when Douglas County dispatched fire and medical crews to the 900 block of Indiana Street in Lawrence.

But when the crews arrived at the address, everything seemed to be fine - the house certainly wasn't on fire.

By the time emergency responders realized that the fire was at Ninth and Indiana streets in Baldwin, not Lawrence, the candle-fueled fire had engulfed the top of the two-story house, said Baldwin firefighter Lt. Brian Craig, who was first on the scene.

"The hallway and the floor were gone," Craig said. "We backed out of there."

Craig and his crew quickly tried to attach a hose to the fire hydrant just 30-or-so feet from the blazing house.

But when they opened the hydrant up, a valve was broken, blasting water into the sky like a fountain. The hydrant wouldn't work, Craig said, so they had to search nearly two blocks up the street to find water to fill the hose.


Baldwin firefighters battle a blaze at Ninth and Indiana streets Monday. The fire was reported at around 3:30 p.m., but firefighters were originally dispatched to Ninth and Indiana streets in Lawrence. Firefighters suffered another setback later when trying to hook into the fire hydrant in the lower center of the photo. The hydrant was broken, and gushed water that could not be used to fight the fire.

Baldwin firefighters battle a blaze at Ninth and Indiana streets Monday. The fire was reported at around 3:30 p.m., but firefighters were originally dispatched to Ninth and Indiana streets in Lawrence. Firefighters suffered another setback later when trying to hook into the fire hydrant in the lower center of the photo. The hydrant was broken, and gushed water that could not be used to fight the fire.

"It's frustrating. It's a bad deal," Baldwin Fire Chief Allen Craig said.

By the time fire crews were in place fighting the blaze effectively, the house was a total loss, firefighter Craig said.

The house, owned by William Scotts, was valued at $123,000, according to county records.

Chief Craig said although the broken hydrant was frustrating, he didn't think the city could do much about it. Many of the hydrants on the south side of Baldwin were too old to be checked, so he and his crew will simply hope it doesn't happen again.

"We'll just take our chances," he said.

Comments

crsifers 11 years, 1 month ago

just wanted to say this was my inlaws' house, and we were furious when we read the paper and saw these comments... and for those wanting more info, when the hydrant was first hooked up, it was a drizzle like a garden hose, then a burst, followed by nothing... they spent the night digging it up (still working on it today) to fix the pipes that had broken.. and they assume the rest of the hydrants are okay? load of b.s.

pierced_daisy 11 years, 1 month ago

OH MY GOD. First, they went to the wrong CITY and then the hydrant was broken?! This is insane! What part of "our house is on fire in BALDWIN" did the person taking the report not understand? Personally, I dont think that BALDWIN and LAWRENCE sound alike. And then the fire hydrant was busted? What a horrible loss that the family has to go through and then the embarrassment of the city employees basically allowing their house to burn down.

Im curious, what EXACTLY are our tax dollars going to?

McRob 11 years, 1 month ago

Just for your information "pierced_daisy' ... 818 Indiana is an address that exists in both Lawrence and Baldwin ... not excusing the dispatcher's error- merely stating that the caller may not have said "our house is on fire in BALDWIN" and just said the address. The dispatcher was wrong but not everyone clearly states where they are at all times.

wlf2527 11 years, 1 month ago

Its been a few years now. Back when I was with baldwin firedept. They too were having problems with the hydrants back then. Its been a good three years since i was involved with them so you can imagine just how long its still taking them to fix them. For the family that lost there home they are wonderfull people but right now they need more help than anything.

jm7493 11 years, 1 month ago

A word of caution. Let's not all attack the VOLUNTEER fire department for things that are our of their control. The family is going through a tough time, but are very lucky that these VOLUNTEERS came to their assitance. They all left their full time jobs to come. All of the voluteer fire departments, including Baldwin City Fire Department are in dire need of new volunteers. That is something that almost anyone in our county can help to solve. These fire departments have fund raisers every year to help pay their expenses. Y'all come on out and have some pancakes next time your fire department is fixing breakfast.

The fire hydrant issue is deplorable and we all have a responsibility to make sure a solution is put in place to address this very real problem. I would submit, however, that it is the City of Baldwin City that is the repsonsible party to fund the replacement of fire hydrants, not the Volunteer Fire Department. Regularly scheduled City and Township meetings are open to the public. Bring your concerns and voices to any one of them.

In addition, the story in the paper had several mistakes. So we should all get the facts before taking any action. I have said this before, and communicated directly to the paper, they need to investigate facts before printing any story. They have never repsonded to my concerns about factual reporting.

jm7493 11 years, 1 month ago

Pierced_daisy, the employees of the city didn't stand by and allow their house to burn down. The fact is that Baldwin fire, Palmyra fire and Willow Springs fire all came to the call and basically saved the house from burning down. Even with the broken hydrant, Willow Springs and Palmyra hooked into the next available hydrants to "save" a lot of the house and belongings.

ksuwildcat 11 years, 1 month ago

My thanks to all of the volunteer firefighters that were able to respond to that incident. They did a great job. Broken water hydrant or not, (there were 2 more hydrants only a block away).

We need more volunteers and less people to criticize those who do.

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