Frozen Hydrants Slow Efforts as Ky. Homes Burn

DAYTON, Ky. --

Firefighters are still at the scene of a fire that damaged two Dayton homes on Wednesday.

The fire broke out just before 9 a.m. in the 800 block of Walnut Street, starting in one home and spreading to the house next door.

Jeff Haire was in one of them.

"I was woken up by my father-in-law. There was smoke in the kitchen by the time I got down the steps and outside, you couldn't see in front of your face," he said.

Haire hurried to help his daughters to safety.

"I busted a side window and put my babies out on the porch, went through the window because I couldn't get it open, not being able to see, and by the time I did it, there was massive smoke everywhere," he said.

Fire Chief Denny Lynn told News 5's Andrew Setters that the first crews on scene found five fire hydrants were frozen.

"Five frozen hydrants, so we had trouble getting water. All we had was the water that was on the trucks," he said.

Temperatures over the last two days have been 20-25 degrees below normal and well below freezing.

Fire hoses were stretched three blocks to reach working hydrants.

"It took quite a while. It hampered our efforts big time," Lynn said.

An adult living in one of the homes was taken to a hospital for observation. Two children were treated at the scene for suspected smoke inhalation.

The fire almost took Joe Murray's home, too.

"Maybe a foot a foot apart (from the burned home), maybe a foot and a half. Not much. It ain't much clearance there," he said.

But firefighters managed to keep the flames away.

"Little bit of water damage on the inside, that's it. No smoke damage, no heat damage, no fire damage," Murray said. "We got pretty lucky, I think. They did a good job."

Firefighters couldn't save Bill Castleman's home, but they did save his dog, Petie.

"They got him out. He's safe. He smells a little smokey, but he's alright," Castleman said.

Officials said three adults and six children displaced by the fire are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but one resident said it appeared the fire may have started in a basement dryer.

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