Fire Crews Fought Low Water Pressure At Apartment Fire

JOSE PATINO GIRONA
Jan 1, 2003

BRANDON, Fla - Fire hydrants near an apartment building that burned Monday afternoon didn't have the desired water pressure, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman said Tuesday.
``It didn't make a difference'' at Charleston Landings, said Ray Yeakley, a fire rescue spokesman. ``I don't think it had an effect on the outcome.''

The county fire marshal recommends each fire hydrant at two-story apartments such as Charleston Landings have enough water to circulate 1,000 gallons per minute.

But county regulations only require hydrants have sufficient flow to handle a fire. The two hydrants near the burned building each disperse 300 gallons per minute, Yeakley said.

Even though the water pressure was low, firefighters used the two hydrants. But they were forced to depend on water from fire engines, tankers and a county fire hydrant that was 2,600 feet away, Yeakley said.

The hydrants at Charleston Landings, near Providence Road and Causeway Boulevard, are privately maintained. They are tested annually, and the water pressure is checked every five years, Yeakley said. The hydrants were in compliance, he said.

Dan Kistel, regional vice president for AIMCO, the company that manages Charleston Landings, said the hydrants were being checked and would be fixed immediately if a problem is found.

Yeakley said there are seven hydrants at the apartment complex. All hydrants were tested Tuesday, and five had water pressure that was above the recommended level, he said.

The 4:40 p.m. fire started in a second-floor apartment. The cause was not known Tuesday. There were no injuries.

Four apartments were damaged by fire, and four were damaged by water and smoke, Yeakley said. The loss is estimated between $500,000 and $750,000.

Management at the apartments offered displaced residents apartments elsewhere in the complex or at another apartment building the company owns, Yeakley said. The American Red Cross also was assisting.

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